Breaking the Rules

The head of CRM for a German drugstore chain discusses the challenges in flipping the organization's channel-specific marketing approach.

Fragmented data, siloed channels, and an incomplete view of customer behavior. These are common issues that plague marketers and prevent them from delivering tailored and omnichannel customer experiences.

dm-drogerie markt, Germany's largest drugstore chain, is no exception and isn't immune to these challenges. Jochen Kieninger, head of CRM for the company, answered questions at the SAS Global Forum 2016 in April about how the chain intends for Customer Intelligence 360, a digital marketing hub that promises to unite data from all channels and deliver the omnichannel customer experience.

With Customer Intelligence 360, what kind of digital data were you able to start collecting and how are you integrating it with offline data?

We began a year ago. Before we had a CI platform and we just had data mining. It wasn't taken from a customer perspective.This gives us the possibility to understand individual customers and what they're interested in.Now we collect loyalty program data, selling data from stores, and now we have data from websites but this data is anonymous because of German privacy laws. You have to ask explicitly for allowance to connect [customers'] data. To make the behavior personal, that's a step we still need. Currently, we're just referring to an anonymous ID with no name, address, or store data.

So what types of data are you able to collect and analyze?

On the website, SAS brings data sets that include a visitor ID and information about what pages the visitor visited. We have the opportunity to set goals the customer can achieve like delivering them a special on a shampoo for her hair type.

When will you be at that stage where you can marry offline with website data?

The future is near-a few weeks or months.

Would you say you're engaging with your customers along their journeys?

Yes. The concept of defining those activities in a non-linear way includes how the journey continues and defining the next steps.

Would you say you're delivering an omnichannel experience?

We're not delivering at the moment, but we want to set up an environment to do that. In the end, the omnichannel experience requires automating a lot of channels. We're on our way to discover how it will workand redefining processes. The goal for this whole journey is to have an omnichannel approach.

What were some of the challenges you encountered along the way in redefining your proceses?

You need to rethink the way you approach this in terms of traditional. The shift to [a customer-oriented approach] is not only counting how many people are on the site butwhois on the site. Can we use it to understand individual customers and can we prepare the data in a way that will easily be used by other business teams?

We have print and email but we're trying to shift away from defining the traditional campaigns in a linear way where we send a newsletter to customers at the same time. We're working on determining the right target groups for this and to ask the question, 'what's this customer interested in?'

What needs to happen organizationally?

The business processes need to be defined on how we can go about this in an omnichannel way. The technical part is easy. The more difficult part is to build a marketing organization because everything has grown with channel-specific thinking. You have channels responsible for one program, meaning there's a specific team for segmentation or print campaigns. Of course our marketing is customer oriented but it's another thing to begin by defining channels and groupsrather than starting with customers, asking their needs and then defining the approaches. When we want to communicate with someone we think of the message and not the channel.

How are you going to flip that model?

It means every person working in marketing has to shift their role. The responsibility lies with the different teams and head of teams to change in some way but it's often not the part of one person to redefine their work but all the different teams and departments working together. We have to work together on a new solution and thinking.

What are the next steps?

The one big next step is to go with SAS use cases. But also we have to do a lot of things with our marketers to change their thinking..