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Chapters – “Keep the secret”

I was the first analyst to dive into Chapter’s loyalty database. They had been collecting all of this transactional data for years, but had no clue how to leverage it. I was hired to see if I could help translate this raw data into actionable information. I started to show them patterns, and segments of customers, and buying behaviour, they were all over it. We started to pull lists based on behaviours and would then create a campaign to send to these customers, what today is easily recognized as database marketing. The Chapter’s banner was also the parent company for Coles bookstores. They had a separate loyalty program for Coles bookstores called ‘Avid Reader’ and for for Chapter’s customers called ‘Chapter One’ club. Management had a grand idea to save money by amalgamating both programs into one Chapter’s One card program. This was back in the day when people weren’t loving the idea of a big box bookstore. Some consumers actually boycotted the big box retailers, in favour of the smaller, in mall bookstores.  Most customers didn’t even realize that Chapter’s owned both Coles and WH Smith bookshops (smaller retailers). I cautioned management that if we proceeded to do this to save internal costs, we may hurt the strength of the intimate brands by association.  They gave me the green light to prove it.  I wrote a survey with key questions, managed the third party execution, crunched the data and presented the conclusion that if we were to blend the two programs, it would be a $1.3million dollar loss to the brands. Again I can’t remember the details, but it was substantial enough that they decided not to blend the two programs.  That was totally another Marsha Clarke taking the risk and “connecting the dots” moment.