Customer Centricity & Analytics Blog

Customer Centricity Conference LiveBlog, Day 1

We're wrapping up here at the Wharton Campus! It's been a great day of speakers and I'm looking forward to the simulation tomorrow!

For those who still want to fill out the survey for speaker evaluation, please reach out to Allison! Thanks!

5:00pm PDT

"Together We're Giants!-- How a Fan First Philosophy Drives the Giants Unprecedented On-Field Success"

by Bill Schlough

Our last speaker Bill Schlough shares the stage with Peter Fader for a fireside chat. We started with a video from the San Francisco Giants, emphasizing the "Fan First" philosophy.


  • The San Francisco Giants had a tumultuous history and struggled to be financially viable, but strong community service and branding has lifted them as a successful franchise. Using technology to understand fan satisfaction was a main driver.

Once you leave your house for a Giants game, every experience matters.

  • They've created and maintained demand by pricing properly and dynamically to counteract scalper sites such as StubHub. Strong season pass incentives while making tickets regularly available. Competitors have struggled to stay fan-friendly with StubHub in the mix.
  • They use their CRM to determine attrition risk. The analytics includes attendance and selling on reseller sites. They also dropped their loyalty program to focus on their season pass holders. Their app is their way to best serve their most loyal members, which include food orders & deliveries.
  • Future-looking: while most stadiums last ~20 years, they're looking to stay at the ATT Park for a long time.
  • All aspects of future technology is worth considering to Bill: connectivity, automated vehicles, and always filling a stadium.


4:00pm PDT

"Customer Centricity in Practice: Creating a Virtuous Loyalty Cycle"

by Joshua Kanter

Joshua starts his talk off by prefacing his time at Cesar's, noting that the casino industry has been leading the way in catering to your best customers. What Cesar's did differently is using their loyalty program to grow relationships and increase profits. before diving into his best practices at Viking Cruises.


  • No better way to start a presentation than a Monty Python gag. "What is your quest?" "The Virtuous Loyalty Cycle!"
  • Companies are good at managing products and functions, not customers. This is probably due to organizational fragmentation.
  • How can customer centricity help in this quest?

"A Customer-Centric Organization is committed to understanding and delivering what customers value."

  • He echoes what Allison Hartsoe and Peter Fader said: recognize and celebrate differences across customers (and profit from it), prioritizing a relationship over a transaction, and make intelligent use of data arising from these relationships.
  • Joshua adds that managing the customer experience at the most impactful touchpoints, while acting integrity and transparency, is also key.
  • One way Cesar was successful: evaluating services by perceived value vs. cost to deliver and implementing effective ones across all locations.
  • Ongoing engagement and retention is often a better investment than continuous replacement.
  • Punch cards are the worst at data collection of customer behavior. Why? Because you throw it away after you're done!
  • You have to choose when and how often to deploy "Wow factors". Otherwise they become "Tablestakes". Keep experiences special.
  • Don't collect data just because you can. Make good use of it, and "just do the right thing."
  • There are two ways to view loyalty: transactional vs. emotional (I'm smart vs. I'm special).
  • Offering more relevant offers and communications -->
    consumers more likely to respond -->
    customer value & preferences -->
    better understanding the consumer --> repeat offering
  • My thoughts: Joshua gave a great talk that linked many of the topics that have been discussed today, and how to do it all with integrity.


3:00pm PDT

"Using Data to Drive a Customer Centric Culture"

by Jodie Antypas

Jodie teed off her talk with why EA's stock prices shot up within the last day, and that is primarily driven by their customer centric approach. This is climbing back from being the "worst company in America" according to consumers.


  • The shift to customer centricity challenged the company to rethink its operations and decision-making, leading to the delayed release of a Game of the Year.
  • They've found a sweet spot for gameplay challenge vs. player engagement, and used it to develop future games. Similarly, tailoring the menu based off of gameplay behavior has shown increased engagement in players.

"Players first."

  • Similarly, gameplay balance can be normalized if you collect data properly, improving the experience for all players.
  • Customer segmentation includes which games they've played before. They've used these segments to increase engagement and expand the player base.
  • Part of the cultural shift is a change in EA's core metrics, which now revolve around engagement, customer value, and satisfaction. Everyone talks the same language now. They can be even reported across countries.
  • Furthermore, they can now tell human stories with their dataset, not strictly sales numbers.
  • My thoughts: Similar to Wealthfront, an even approach of the customer experience elevates CLV across the board. They're truly using customer value and behavior to optimize the player experience.


2:15pm PDT

"Taking Customer Measurement and Customer Centricity into the Physical World"

by Gary Angel

Gary, a pioneer and leader in digital analytics, talked about his background and how he started in the field: building websites for Somona wineries. His early experience with bad metrics informs an important principle: bad data is not good enough.


  • You can't be omnichannel if you cannot measure/optimize the digital and in-store experience, and combine the two in measurement, operations, and marketing.
  • The in-store experience is poorly tracked. Even a powerful metric such as sales/sq ft is misleading and ultimately doesn't describe the experience.

"We have to treat [customers] differently, we have to treat them appropriately."

  • New collection technologies can measure the in-store journey, but they have not been effective enough to be useful.
  • Can you measure in-store behavior (interact, consider, linger, conversion) much like a website?
  • Showrooming (someone who looks at an item in-store then buys it online) is only bad because retailers are not able to take advantage of this behavior.
  • Can we find behavioral differences between a regular customer and those who do in-store pickup?
  • It's a difficult task (much like adopting customer centricity) but it's worth it if a company wants to achieve true omnichannel measurement.


12:40pm PDT

"The Customer Revolution"

by Tiffani Bova

Tiffani kicked off her talk with a video from Salesforce that sets the table for today's customer. Having an analyst's experience, she has encountered the problem that Allison highlighted, that is the disconnect between analysis and customer value.


  • Tiffani is a strong advocate for customer centricity, but adoption is a challenge she continues to encounter. One reason? Executives didn't trust the data when they considered shifting their business strategy.

"In the future, customer driven organizations will completely reset value and meangingful engagement with customers."

  • Disruption and innovation is based on speed, technology, and customer experience.
  • High-performing sales teams are leveraging technology with social, automation, mobile, etc. Real-time profiling of the customer relationship is an essential.
  • Satisfaction isn't enough for customer experience: a better experience is expected as technology improves. Why is this important? Advocacy and referral is your best salesforce.
  • Businesses have higher expectations than consumers, especially if the sales process is frictionless!
  • Siloed business units leads to disconnected experiences.
  • There's a side great discussion about the challenges behind getting the holistic view of the customer, with technology and integration as a major hurdle.
  • My thoughts: Service is a piece of the pie to customer centricity, and utilizing heterogeneity is key. Having a single referential source is key (data lake).


11:45am PDT

"Recognizing Heterogeneity: Impacts on Customer Acquisition"

by Roberto Medri

Roberto's talk is focused on techniques to apply customer centricity, not strictly appreciation! He finds that novel analysis is key to success, but it's been discouraged in the industry.


  • Roberto has transitioned from the data-focused role to a Sr. Director of Product, which is a unique position for him with such a different background than most. He used to be told to not get branded as the technologist, otherwise you'll be stuck as such. He's found that this isn't true with the Bay Area.
  • His company, Wealthfront, is very customer-centric with its approach to pricing (a flat rate across all investment levels), service, product development, and acquisition.
  • My thoughts: Wealthfront breaks the mold in that it attempts to elevate customers from all tiers by enabling them with knowledge and similar service. All the while, their product still appeals to high-end customers because it is still more cost effective vs. traditional investing services.


10:30am PDT

Keynote by Peter Fader

Peter Fader takes the stage, acknowledging that the audience is already semi-familiar with the principle concepts of customer centricity. He leads with the 10 key lessons he's discovered (in hindsight) during his time in the field.


  • Celebrating heterogeneity of your customer base is... not new!
  • "You don't need a fancy CRM system."
  • The concept is easy enough, but it's a completely different task to implement it.
  • How do you make the transition from "SELL SELL SELL!" to building relationships, and how do you communicate this to Wall Street when quarterly profits don't necessarily reflect the growing relationships?

Customer centricity isn't strictly a marketing strategy, it is a corporate strategy.

  • Pete goes over an example of applying CLV to Facebook Lookalike audiences and the cost-effectiveness of acquiring predicted high-value customers.
  • Branding still matters as it makes it easier to acquire and maintain customers.
  • A successful company combines product, operation, and customer centricity to be the best in the industry.


9:35am PDT

Welcome by Allison Hartsoe

Allison Hartsoe, CEO of Ambition Data, kicks off the conference with stories about customer centricity and why it is important across industries.

  • Analytics disconnected from customer value is a systemic problem
  • Customer data as an aggregate leaves insights on the table
  • Customer value at the individual level better drives business

Key point #1: Product-centric vs. customer-centric

Allison highlights the fact that most companies are product-focused and not driving their bottom line by growing their customer's future spending.  She also highlights that companies which cannot differentiate their most valuable customers from the rest are not customer-centric.

Key point #2: Who are those right customers?

Allison shows the power of customer lifetime value with a case study. She highlights that this company's future profits are driven by their most valuable customers, only 20% of their customer base. With this information, you see how their value relates to their behavior when shopping online.

Key point #3: Celebrate Customer Differences!

Allison makes the analogy of Top Chef vs. Cutthroat Kitchen to describe how CLV models from Zodiac are top of the class technology compared to classic methods. She gives another case study with Dressbarn, who found valuable customers in their "inactive" base, leading to 11% improvement in their high-value customer group and $1.8 million in savings. She speaks briefly about how company valuation is becoming more and more connected to the future customer spending.

8:15am PDT

Conference Underway

Good morning everyone! This is Ehow, and we're live at the Wharton School in San Francisco for the Customer Centricity conference! People are caffeinating and getting ready for some exciting speakers.


Customer Experience or Customer Centricity: What's the difference? Customer Centricity Conference LiveBlog, Preview

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