After leaving Harvard, Jennifer Hyman and Jennifer Fleiss had the insight that women might rather rent high fashion items than own them. Fashion is expensive and has a limited shelf life. The two founders decided to start a company based on a simple idea – a woman should never have to wear the same outfit twice, and shouldn’t have to buy it at all.
Rent the Runway was born. Many of their earliest customers were Millennials, who intuitively understood the value of access rather than ownership. After all, if you can use Spotify to listen to music rather than buying albums, and Uber to get to places rather than owning a car – how hard might it be to ‘stream’ a designer dress?
As it turns out—more difficult than it might seem. In their early years, Rent the Runway struggled to meet their targets. It took a radical mindset change in marketing to turn things around. The founders realized that to fix engagement, they needed to focus their efforts on data science, pricing models and their mobile platform.
Like Amazon, Rent the Runway had to become a logistics and data business, not merely a retail and fashion
one. Their new data driven approach paid off, and now the company ships more than 90,000 items a day to 5 million members, and not surprisingly, also operates the country’s largest dry-cleaning facility.
For CMOs, the story of Rent the Runway illustrates the central role that data plays in business today. No longer just a measure of past activity, it has become a pro- active metric capable of changing your entire approach to customer value creation. Data is not just for IT geeks, it belongs at the heart of your growth strategy.
“Data’s a big part of our business, encompassing everything from the whole fashion component to metrics around utilization of a given dress,” Jennifer Fleiss said in an interview with Forbes last year. “We have an analytics team of six people internally, who look at rental statistics, such as how many long dresses get rented, how many short, how many red, black, orange and so on. What trends worked last season, what fabrics last the longest, which dresses are being turned and utilized the most?”
Ultimately, for smart marketers, data changes the way you design your business. Rather than buying their dresses from retail, Hyman and Fleiss now partner with designers – providing them data on what styles are the most popular in return for discounts and better availability of sizes. In the same way that Netflix uses data from its customers to commission original programming, Rent the Runway has approached emerging designers to create collections exclusively for their platform.
To read the rest of Mike Walsh’s CMO Playbook Click Here
Guest post by keynote speaker Tim Sanders
You are only as strong as the voices around you. You think you can resist their message, but you are only human, and will succumb to their tone eventually. Everywhere you turn, there are voices broadcasting gloom, doom and misery. Your attention might be trapped by current events (Disease, Recession, War, etc.) and you can’t focus. You are unable to work-on-your-work.
As a leader, you are flailing at your job. Napoleon Bonaparte was often quoted as saying that, “the leader’s role is to define reality, then give hope.” And those voices go way beyond recognizing reality – the crush hope by conjuring up end-0f-your-world messages. Those voices are often internalized, becoming your voice…which is not moving the conversation at work forward.
You are only as hopeful as the people you listen to. Think about the voices around you: The cable newscaster, the radio announcer, the people at work, the stars/celbs you follow, your social media feed. Are these positive or negative voices in your head? Are you getting smarter and better at your job from ALL of them?
You should be as careful as to what you put into your head as what you put into your mouth. Voices of doom are toxic to your confidence and creative thinking capacity. So vanquish them. Shun them. Dismiss them. Ignore them.
Although all of that sounds simple enough, you’ll have a hard time managing these voices. So let me help you. First, turn off the TV. These days it is literally the boob tube. There is NOTHING there for your as a leader or a contributor. Next, scrutinize the radio shows and podcasts you listen to. Are they constructive, helpful or are they newsy (bad, mostly). Keep listening to just the ones that pass the “reality, then hope” sniff test.
Next, reduce your time grazing online. Whether it’s blogs, news websites of social media networks…there’s bad stuff out there waiting to infect your mind and drag you down. I’m only on facebook these days to post helpful content. Any time spent surfing leads to Ebola or stock market or ISIS hysteria and various link-baiting headlines on fear-aggregation sites. Be intentional about how you use the internet…make it a tool and not a mentally carciogenic habit.
Finally, clean house when it comes to the people you hang out with at work, home and in your community. Give them a warning, and if they persist beating the drum, cut them off. You can’t be any good to anyone when you let them bring you down.
Managers: Don’t reward Chicken Little for his or her declarations that the sky if falling. They aren’t adding value. Tell them, “You can’t be freaked out enough to improve our Customer experience 1%!.” In fact, it’s during times of turmoil that all the great innovative leaps happen (read Hanging Tough for the proof.) This is your time to shine, not shirk in horror.
If you feed your mind good stuff, even during these times, you will be part of the solution instead of a source of the problem. See the video for a clip of me talking about a potential solution for managers at embattled companies during tough times.
Exceptionalize It: Excite Your Customers
In order to get new customers, you need people to come away from an experience with your company wanting more. Also, it is important that the responsibility to excite your customers is felt by everyone on your team. In this week’s Getting Customers, Lior Arussy, Strativity Group founder and president & author of the book, “Exceptionalize It! Stop Boring. Start Exciting Your Customers, Your Employees, and Yourself,” joins us. He tells us what you need to focus on to keep people coming back.
Click here to pre-order your updated copy of Exceptionalize It!
How do you know when you’re truly committed to something? The fervor of deciding to unite as a team to reach goals can seem like the beginning of commitment. However, keynote speaker Robyn Benincasa says that commitment doesn’t start until later – when the fun stops.
Robyn not only talks about teamwork, but also lives it. She’s a full time San Diego Firefighter and a World Champion Eco-Challenge Adventure Racer. She’s competed in some of the most grueling territory in the world, and knows first-hand how powerful a team can be when they commit during difficulty. Watch her explain the definition of commitment.
Mike Walsh knows that being a Chief Marketing Officer is challenging, and you desperately need a new game plan to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing world of marketing. Mike’s free ebook The 21st Century CMO Playbook provides a “rough sketch of a new kind of marketer. One who, aside from their data fluency, combines a fervent customer obsession with a tactical ability to orchestrate the complexity at the heart of tomorrow’s enterprise.”
Mike’s outline of the new marketer is firmly rooted in real case studies from Mike’s research as a leading futurist. It will enable you to predict what the next marketing trends are and get ahead of your competitors. You’ll find practical advice on:
- Thinking like a media company
- Buying programmatically
- Communicating effectively with data
…and much more. Now is the time to re-invent your marketing. Don’t let technology or your competitors outpace you. The 21st Century CMO Playbook is a great tool to get you thinking about how you can transform your marketing strategy. Download the ebook for free here.
Lior Arussy’s article about “When & Why to Part Ways With a Customer” has been featured by both Harvard Business Review and Inc. The article gives some helpful tips on how to avoid being bullied by those negative customers that we all have. Lior also speaks to the importance of empowering your employees by giving them the tools to deal with customers who will not be pleased, and reminds readers that the customer is not always king.
To read the full link click here
To learn more about Lior or read more of his insightful articles visit his page here
As a leader, what do you want from your people? Ty Bennett asked that question to over 5,000 leaders in every level of organizations. Over 75% of the answers included the word “commitment.” Ty shatters the old adage that people follow title, position and authority and explains that relationships are key. His keynote “Partnership is the New Leadership” details how you can develop loyal relationships from your people. If commitment from your employees has seemed elusive, then you need to try a new approach.
Ty reveals that the value – not title – gives you the right to be heard. He explains that partnership-based leadership creates reciprocal accountability between the people and the leader. His keynote utilizes case studies and includes practical takeaways that are proven to increase the commitment of your people.
Check out excerpts from Ty’s keynote below.
Ever feel like you should win a gold medal for closing a really long and hard sale? Or receive an award for breaking the world record for the number of opportunities you created and closed?
Then you’re in the right place!
Cary Mullen is a Two-Time Olympian and the World Record holder for Downhill speed, he also is an accomplished business owner. Cary uses this background to help other business owners and “Sales Olympians” to reach new heights in today’s competitive market. He wants to share is Five Winning Secrets so that you can win in your extreme sport.
Or listen to what clients have to say about his message:
Yossi Ghinsberg is known for surviving 21 harrowing days in the jungle alone, but now he’s embarking on a different kind of adventure. The keynote speaker has applied his expertise on vision and entrepreneurship to the development of a new app called Blinq. It’s both simple and powerful tool designed so that you “don’t miss what matters.” The app shows you the latest updates on the people you communicate with. It integrates insights from facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram to give you a more comprehensive view of what’s going on in your comtacts’ lives and to jump-start informed conversations. Blinq obviously has social benefits, but it’s also a great tool for business. Sometimes an interpersonal relationship can give you an edge over a competitor.
The app integrates with your mobile messenger apps as a small white dot. Click on the dot, and you’ll see pertinent updates from that contacts’ various social networks. Watch the video below.
Blinq is part of the newest batch of 500 Startups. Yossi’s context database has the opportunity make it big with the investors behind 500 Startups. We’re excited to see him apply his creative energy to this new startup.
Robyn was named a CNN Hero for her work in creating the Project Athena Foundation, a place where survivors can become their own hero’s.
Through her own experience with stage-four osteoarthritis in both hips, Robyn – an ultra-endurance athlete – thought she would never be able to run again. However, drawing on the help of her friend and survivor of breast cancer, Louise Copper, who was always looking for her next adventure, Robyn was inspired to find her strength. Now, Robyn wants to do for other women what Louise did for her, and give survivors the chance to preserver, find their hope, and surpass their own expectations.
It’s about “taking that next step that you didn’t think you could take, and then it’s one hundred steps you didn’t think you could take, and when you’re so far over that line of what you ever understood you were capable of, all of a sudden they realize, ‘I can do anything.’”
Watch the video below and read the Huffington Post article to learn more about Project Athena, Robyn, and why she deserves the title of CNN Hero.
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