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CMI Blog

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Design Your Business With Data

By cmiadmin | Mar 25, 2015 | Comments Off

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

Leaders, Take back Your Culture

By cmiadmin | Mar 13, 2015 | Comments Off


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.

Lior Arussy Interviewed on MSNBC's Your Business

By cmiadmin | Mar 13, 2015 | Comments Off

Exceptionalize It: Excite Your Customers

Lior Interviw

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 view the interview with cmi’s Lior Arussy on MSNBC’s YOUR BUSINESS, Sunday, March 1, 2015.

Click here to pre-order your updated copy of Exceptionalize It!