Group Vice President, Digital Marketing & CRM, SPARC Group LLC
After living in New York City for five years, Tuck had a community aspect that I was interested in experiencing.
By Betsy Vereckey
Brooks Brothers and Eddie Bauer might be some of the oldest retailers in the country with strong legacies, but Karilyn Anderson T’14 is using her digital expertise to bring them into the future. Anderson is group vice president of digital marketing & CRM at SPARC Group LLC, which manages a portfolio of seven brands, ranging from Nautica to Forever 21.
Anderson explains, “Although our brands may appear dissimilar initially, they share a fundamental mission to develop a meaningful, engaging, and sustained connection with their customers. We are working on implementing a common set of technology and systems that allows us to surface customer insights more quickly, trigger targeted marketing campaigns based on those insights, and empower our brands to achieve their objectives and accelerate growth.”
SPARC’s brands have a strong retail store footprint, along with growing ecommerce and wholesale channels. Some brands have loyalty programs, while others don’t, but all this works to SPARC’s advantage. “With seven brands together, we’re able to see what’s working really well and expand that opportunity across the other brands,” Anderson says.
SPARC relies on a customer data platform to gather purchase and behavioral data points and organize its customers into profiles for analysis and activation. When organizing by lifecycle status, for example, Anderson can categorize customers into segments such as new shoppers, repeat shoppers, and likely-to-churn shoppers.
Says Anderson, “By developing a deeper understanding of our customers’ behavior and preferences, we can design marketing initiatives that are more relevant and compelling; we can leverage our best customers as a look-alike audience model for new customer acquisition.”
Anderson is also a huge fan of texting—“a really great channel that’s relatively easy to execute, test, and learn.” One use case: send your customer a reminder text if she’s added items to her cart, then left the website. You can also personalize texts to reach your VIP audience versus more seasonal customers, such as back-to-school shoppers, with hyper-relevant messaging to drive that next purchase. “During back-to-school tax-free moments, we deploy targeted, unique campaigns for every single state. Texting is one of those channels that you can activate quickly, and with minimal resources as compared to an email campaign,” says Anderson, whose résumé is peppered with impressive experiences in retail.
Anderson began her career in finance but moved to tech and marketing when she took a position with Facebook. While at Tuck, she interned with L’Oreal and joined full-time upon graduation. At L’Oreal, she led CRM strategy at Kiehl’s, and developed, planned, and managed the global and U.S. digital marketing strategy for NYX Professional Makeup.
Prior to joining SPARC, she led the digital business at Bliss, a spa skincare brand. As for the future, Anderson is excited about ChatGPT and its applications in the retail space, such as writing product descriptions that are both informative and strategically composed for maximizing SEO value and delivering iterative copy for personalized marketing campaigns. SPARC has already started using it to assist with email subject lines and text message copy.
“I think the most interesting application so far is automating personalized written content that lands in our customers’ inbox,” she says. What ChatGPT, and similar technology, has enabled is the ability to instantly generate many more options of saying something in a way that may be more compelling and deliver better results at a much more rapid pace.”
This story originally appeared in print in the summer 2023 issue of Tuck Today magazine.
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