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Arcadia Group: Managing personalisation across multiple brands

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Being able to bring together different types of expertise is a key advantage when marketing a range of differing brands, according to the head of digital marketing at Arcadia Group.

Speaking at Exponea’s “Online Retail Challengers” event in London this week, Sabino Petruccelli says that one of the advantages of overseeing a range of different brands with distinct target markets was the differing expertise of staff.

Notable names under the Arcadia umbrella include Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge.

Petruccelli, who moved to his current role eighteen months ago, has attempted to “go horizontally” across these different brands, each of which has its own digital marketing team.

This has meant that they often lack a common set of KPIs and common language, which he has tried to instil.

This has entailed regular round robin sessions with marketing teams in order to share insight.

However, the diversity of the brands also means that there are different pools of expertise that Petruccelli can tap into, he says.

“Clearly one benefit of having seven brands is that people are in different stages of development – if people are more digitally savvy and younger then marketing is probably greater at those brands.

“Lots of people cascade from those brands into other brands. We’ve got roadmaps in place for that depending on where people are on maturity and where they are heading.”

Of course, owing to strict privacy legislation it is not possible to transfer data between the different brands, Petruccelli says.

“What we can do is understand the principles of a campaign that work,” he explains. Successful campaigns can be applied to other brands with similar patterns.

Petruccelli says he tries to test campaigns across more than one brand in order to give the company more time to analyse them.

While he says Arcadia is “cautious” on some aspects of personalisation – for example, not adding customer names into emails – the company has been working with segmenting its customer base in order to offer more tailored offers.

Part of this approach owes to its work with customer experience and data management specialist Exponea, which offers solutions for personalising promotions based on factors such as when customers last made a purchase and when they are expected to make another.

One Arcadia campaign is to separate out regularly returning vs lapsed customers to determine who to give incentives such as free shipping to.

Petruccelli’s vision is, uncontroversially enough, that the customer gets the experience they should be on the site or via communications that are sent out.

Asked to name a company he admires, he cites ASOS as being savvy at using data and offering good bundling options and customer experience.

However, he notes that Arcadia differs significantly from ASOS in that it has a portfolio of physical stores – a subject whose future he is uncertain about, saying it’s hard to reduce friction in the same way as online.

“I don’t know who’s getting it right at the moment. I’m not seeing many that are succeeding so much they are ramping up their store footprint.”

Image credit: Arcadia Group

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