News

Best Buy CEO: Company is committed to change

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Richfield, Minn. — The interim CEO of Best Buy told shareholders Thursday that the company is committed to changing its fundamentals in order to operate closer to its potential.

Mike Mikan is trying to right the electronics retailer’s ship as it attempts to recover from the sudden – and unseemly – departure of CEO Brian Dunn as well as the ensuing resignation from chairman and founder Richard Schultz over the last two months.

At the company’s annual meeting, Mikan, who is vying for the CEO role permanently, suggested that Best Buy is planning to expand relationships with businesses, improve customer service and training, as well as rethink Best Buy’s store model.

Although few details were given, it is expected that more information will be distributed by the end of the summer.

"We have to invest in employees by giving them more training and better tools to maximize what they can offer for our customers," Mikan said during the meeting. Best Buy announced plans to train 50,000 staffers at a training center at its headquarters between August and the holidays.

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OPERATIONS

IBM survey: CMOs challenged to reach connected consumers

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Armonk, N.Y. — A survey released Thursday by IBM found that chief marketing officers and chief information officers must join forces in order to connect with today’s consumer across new channels including mobile devices and social networks.

More than half (60%) of marketers pointed to their lack of alignment with the company’s IT department as the biggest obstacle to reaching today’s consumers. One key new finding of the survey showed that with mobile marketing working well, marketers are now preparing to go beyond coupons and deliver mobile advertising that reaches customers on their smart phone and tablets.

According to the study, 34% of respondents stated that in less than 12 months, they intend to deliver mobile ads, the highest rate of new marketing tactic adoption in the five-year history of the study. Overall, 46% of respondents are currently using mobile web sites followed by 45% mobile applications, up from 40% and 44% respectively since last year.



While the mobile channel is thriving, marketers lack this same clear consensus on how to best utilize social media which will result in ongoing experimentation with these channels. For example, when looking toward the remainder of the year, 26% intend to launch applications on 3rd party social network sites, 24% plan to incorporate user-generated content into their social media efforts and 23% are looking to launch social media ads or share links in email and web offers.



IBM’s “State of Marketing 2012” surveyed more than 350 marketing professionals. In the study, 51% of respondents who identified their companies as high-performing indicated they have good relationships between marketing and IT, 10% higher than other companies.

“This research indicates that as new channels continue to mature and consumer habits evolve, marketing and IT have no alternative but to emerge from their traditional silos and form a strong partnership that puts the business in a position to succeed,” said Yuchun Lee, VP IBM Enterprise Marketing Management Group. “CMOs and CIOs, an ‘odd couple’ in some respects, will be the catalysts in forging this union and enabling the types of personalized multichannel brand relationships that today’s customers demand.”



Additional results from the survey include: While 48% of respondents believe that improved technology infrastructure or software will enable them to do more, nearly 60% indicated that lack of IT alignment and integration are significant barriers to the adoption of technology.

While 71% believe integration across owned, earned and paid channels is important, only 29% are effectively integrating these different channels. When asked why, 59% said that existing systems are too disparate to integrate these channels. This is most evident in areas such as mobile and social where only 21% and 22% of respondents run these tactics as part of integrated campaigns with the remainder conducting them in silos, discretely and on an ad hoc basis, a practice which inhibits their ability to deliver effective cross-channel campaigns.

While new social media and mobile devices are vital, 41% stated that keeping pace with the growth of these channels and device choices will be their biggest challenge over the next three to five years. And, while marketers continue to experiment with social media channels, 51% are not using this data to inform decisions about marketing offers and messages. This may represent a missed opportunity for marketers looking to best meet the needs of today’s customer.

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News

Saks and First Insight team toward investment guidance solution

BY Staff Writer

Pittsburgh — First Insight said Thursday that it has forged an agreement with Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5TH to provide predictive analytics generated from online consumer engagements to help the outlet retailer make faster and more accurate buying and pricing decisions for new products. These decisions are designed to reduce markdowns and out-of-stocks, as well as to mitigate risks associated with new product introductions.

In partnering with First Insight, Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th is seeking to gain strategic investment guidance on new fashion apparel products and design concepts. The First Insight solution uses online social engagement tools to gather real-time preference, pricing and sentiment data on Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th’s new products. This information is filtered through First Insight’s predictive analytic models to determine which products present the greatest opportunity.

Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th is currently using the First Insight solution to evaluate a variety of footwear lines.

“The First Insight solution is helping us predict how new products will perform,” said Rob Wallstrom, president of Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th. “First Insight enables us to allocate our inventory by applying useful consumer-sourced information to offer our customers the best product available. Our trial with First Insight was successful, so we decided to move forward with the solution.”

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