Two heads of growth are better than one.

At least that’s our thinking after Kevin Kwon, head of growth at Spring, and Will Flaherty, head of growth at Rent the Runway, joined Hilary Milnes from Glossy for a fireside chat to discuss their successes in 2017 and plans for 2018.

The topics are familiar: customer data, personalization, culture, media mix, and brand partnerships. But with both of these organizations — and individuals — it’s right to expect the unexpected.

Here’s a snapshot of what you need to know. Want to be sure you don’t miss out in the future? Email to get notified about upcoming events!

Better experiences generate better data

Wondering how to convince customers to offer up information in order to have a better experience?

Kevin: “We don’t discount for data. This is the easy way out, but it erodes your brand value. We work to provide a clear value proposition through personalization from the first visit to our site. We know that a consumer who lands on a product page has a higher purchase intent, so we personalize based on the acquisition source signals and the specific page the individual lands on. For those coming to our homepage directly or navigating to a category page, the primary driver is to lead them to heart or favorite an item so that we can use that signal to personalize.”

Will: “We know what data we need to offer a better experience in order to drive conversion. We’re not looking for all contact information and preferences upfront, but data points like size are important to get the right products in front of each consumer. This is what puts us in the best position to acquire a new customer and to generate repeat rentals or convert to subscription. You have to understand what data is necessary and create an immediate, experience-based benefit for the consumer in order to gain permission for deeper data exchange.”

Technology enables, it doesn’t solve

Even with 5,000+ technologies in the market, you still need people and process to come first. But the game has changed — you need people to think in new ways, process designed to enable integrated, cross-functional progress, and technology that can take the complex and make it practical to scale.  

Will: “There are off-the-shelf tools for everything, but to make the most of your data and to impact the customer experience, you need someone who knows your brand and your customers thinking about how to apply the data. People solve problems; technology enables the ideal solution.”

A testing culture starts with ideas

Innovation doesn’t sit within a Center of Excellence. You’re not going to win big in 2018 without placing bets. Allow everyone to participate.

Kevin: “There is no one person at Spring who is responsible for the ideas and there is no magic, silver bullet that solves any challenge. We have a testing focused culture, so we let ideas come to the surface and test. It doesn’t matter where the idea comes from or what any individual feels. The data tells us what to do, but the customer and the brand always guide us in how we execute.”

Create a shared focus to harmonize art and science

It’s natural for performance, brand, merchandising, and other departments to all have their specific point of view. But customers don’t think in those terms, they’re only interested in the end experience. Here’s how Spring and Rent the Runway approach creating alignment:

Kevin: “Across all teams we are united in how we think about trends — this is instilled in our process as it creates the foundation for thoughtful dialogue. We also talk to our customers on a weekly basis. All teams sit with customer service and email our customers — in the end we are here for them, not to serve our own perspectives.”

Will: “Conversations about strategy and tactical execution are not transactional. So, whether it’s with internal partners or external brand partners you have to approach the situation as a two-way dialogue.”