MRA enlisted several researchers attending the Corporate Researchers Conference in Dallas this week to report back summaries & insights from the conference sessions.  This report is on the keynote session “Consumer Insights Drive Growth at GameStop” by Mike Hogan, CMO at GameStop. 

GameStop is the world’s largest retailer in new and pre-owned video games.  They recently re-evaluated gaming segments.  Traditionally segments were defined by hours played per week.  Adding a dimension of dollars spent per year helped define other important segments.  GameStop’s most important learning came from the ability to interpret transactions tracked through their rewards program.  Insights from the rewards program data drives personalized marketing and store locations.

“You can ask a customer anything, but you can’t ask them everything.”

  • Really, truly understand what problem it is you are trying to address and ensure that every question you ask can help you get to that end result or get rid of it and substitute something that will help you meet your goals / business objectives
  • Always be prepared for “what’s next.”  Don’t rest on your laurels. Always strive to make more of an impact.
  • Empower your front line employees with as much information as possible to delight customers and make that emotional connection with them.
  • Pull vs. Push: It is all about creating something people want.

Mike Hogan ‘s 3 take-away points:

  1. A little bit of insight goes a long way. Start small.  He came from a research-rich environment at Pepsico to a research-poor environment at GameStop.
  2. Customer data proved to be key to organizational transformation. A little insight drives demand for more insights. GameStop had lots of data but they had very little information.  Once they learned how to utilize it, they were able to transform the way they do business. Marketing with data can drive change.
  3. Patience is key. Let success lead to change. Be careful about trying to boil the ocean.  Let success build. Do a small project and show how that added value to the organization and then build upon it.

A researchers’ takeaways from the keynote:

It appears (and Mr. Hogan did admit) that traditional marketing research plays a minor role in GameStop’s total consumer insight efforts.  It seems that GameStop is getting the majority of their information from transactional data via their customer loyalty program. Data was gathered not from actually talking with their customers, but by observing their purchases. Mr. Hogan and GameStop have definitely subscribed to the “Consumer Insights” paradigm that was outlined by P&G’s Regina Lewis at last year’s ARF conference.