Dr. Martens Boots Up A Digital-First Data Strategy

Dr. Martens, the iconic British boot maker popularized in ’80s and ’90s subculture, is adding a new sheen to its customer data strategy.

Although each of Dr. Martens’ regional businesses in the UK, Americas, Europe/Africa and Asia is responsible for its own marketing, development and IP, the company’s digital efforts are converging as it eyes a more unified approach to its overall ecommerce and marketing strategy.

Kyle Duford, Dr. Martens’ global VP of digital, once ran US digital for the brand but now oversees global digital operations.

Within digital’s purview, about 85% of the focus is on ecommerce, 10% on digital marketing and 5% on “everything else.”

“We’re trying to move that to 60% ecommerce, 10–15% digital marketing and the balance being innovation, moonshot kind of thinking,” Duford said.

Digital has become the go-to team for technology decisions to drive Dr. Martens’ business forward.

Like many CPG brand manufacturers or multichannel brands, Dr. Martens sells wholesale but also operates its own retail stores and has an ecommerce presence.

“There’s a massive paradigm shift from 10 years ago, where the head of retail or IT may have [handled] technology decisions, but now you see a lot of development coming from the digital and ecommerce teams,” Duford explained.

Dr. Martens leverages a customer data platform, which is a cross between a traditional database platform, like a CRM, and a data management platform. 

Lytics’ customer data platform acts as a central data repository for Dr. Martens, allowing it to pipe in data from more traditional sources, such as its email service provider, while factoring in behavioral data wrangled from web pixels.

“Brands use us to get more accuracy out of their own data,” said Jeff Hardison, the VP of marketing for Lytics. “We’re combining information about how someone browses [your] website, if they click on a link through your email marketing, if they have a support ticket open and if they are angry.”

Lytics claims its customer data platform makes sense of that amalgamation of data and feeds profile information back into a brand’s other marketing tools.

11822006For instance, Dr. Martens integrates Lytics into its email platform, site and transactional purchase database to trigger personalized promotions, such as for shoe polish if someone has already purchased a pair of boots.

Lytics also scores customers on engagement and content affinities. Lytics’ machine-learning algorithm aims to predict content a Dr. Martens’ consumer would find most interesting.

Lytics’ customer data platform powers audience segmentation directly in Dr. Martens’ execution layer – in this case, its email platform or, in other instances, DSPs.

Using a customer data platform as its central nervous system helps Dr. Martens get smarter about segmentation and personalization.

“I know if customers have opened an email X times but haven’t visited or visited every time but haven’t purchased,” Duford said. “Even if someone hasn’t been on the email subscriber list ever, maybe we know who they are from a cookie perspective because they’ve visited our website, so I can serve them a retargeted ad on Facebook or wherever.”

Despite Dr. Martens’ tendency to test and learn its way to success by investing in new technology, it believes brands need to start with a goal and then work through their hypotheses using digital tools as the enabler.

“I never start with technology first, because you start to play with a tool and look at all of the cool things you can do slicing and dicing data, but those end up being one-offs,” Duford said. “We look at our end goal and then, ‘Do we have the technology to support that road map and thinking?”

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