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Using Data to Build Lasting Customer Relationships

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Loyalty 360 had the opportunity to hear from Mister Car Wash’s Marketing Director, Sarah Mendez.  Below, Sarah shares insights on the value of customer data and her take on the latest industry trends.

L360:  What new data collection trends or technologies in the consumer marketplace are you most excited about?

Mendez:  I’m really geeked on the social aspect of it all.  When you can engage with customers in such a way that gets them excited to provide psycho or demographic data on themselves electively, it strengthens the connection between the brand and their customers.  We get tweets both positive and negative, and we aren’t even active in that space.  Customers are self-selecting to have a voice, how we leverage that is the next stage for loyalty marketing and 1 to 1 communication.

Any one mistake you believe many organizations make in using (or not using) their customer data?

Mendez:  It’s so easy to go into analysis paralysis.  Data is of course crucial to the decision making process.  But as decision makers we have to be able to take calculated risks and not be afraid to take steps when the data simply cannot provide the whole picture.  True innovators develop products or solutions that customers wouldn’t know to ask for- how do you measure that?

What do you believe is the number one selling point to demonstrate the value of a customer data & analytics as part of a customer engagement and loyalty program strategy?

Mendez:  Accountability.  If you don’t know how the allocation of your resources are affecting the outcome and adding incremental value, then how do you know you’re doing your job as a marketer?  Building your loyalty base while making the cash register ring is really what it’s all about, and without data you cannot know if you’re effectively engaging with customers on an individual basis or growing your collective base.

What are some examples of key metrics a business should take into consideration when determining a customer segmentation strategy?

Mendez:  We try to look on both the transaction level across all profit centers and of course annual customer value.  This is different across program and behavioral segments- there really isn’t a one size fits all. 

Is every customer created equal in regards to the value of their data?  Which type of customer should a business invest in for their data mining methods and engagement efforts?

Mendez:  Generally speaking, although we’d all like to maximize engagement with customers at every value level, it makes more sense to focus on those you can have the most impact on.  Expending resources on customers that are always looking for the cheapest price is probably not your best long term bet, unless lowest price is one of your core strategies.  Providing customers the value they expect for the level of services they require is really what makes loyalty tick.  Only data can tell you who is who.

What have you learned about your core customer as a result of your data and analytics efforts?

Mendez:  I’ve been pleasantly surprised to find that a large portion of our customer base is more loyal, and more frequent than we had originally hoped, and certainly more than industry average.  We’ve enlisted multiple loyalty programs that have helped us achieve this.  As an opportunity, we still have more work to do to generate trial across profit centers.

Sarah Mendez is the Director of Marketing for Mister Car Wash, the fastest growing car wash chain in the United States. Sarah oversees the customer acquisition and retention programs along with branding initiatives for 69 car washes and 28 express lube centers, collectively servicing over 7 million cars annually. She has been with the company for 9 years.

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