Ahead of the event, I caught up with Robert to get an insight into Treatwell’s CRM strategy, as well as why an ultra-local approach is the key to its success. Here’s what he had to say.

Econsultancy: What is the main focus of your CRM strategy? How do you target customers?

Robert Simons: Our focus is growth and retention of our active customer base. This breaks down into several areas across the customer lifecycle: activation, adoption, customer engagement and advocacy, through to reactivation and win-back.

It’s hard to pin-point one of these areas as being our main focus – it’s the sum of all parts that equals the whole. 

As far as targeting goes, we use a variety of approaches, ranging from RFM segmentation (recency, frequency and monetary value), to demographic targeting – location in particular is an extremely important data point for us.

We’ll also overlay behavioural data in our targeting, for example interaction through mobile, web, and app experiences. 

I think what’s most important here is having access to the underlying data, and for internal teams to be able to use it – that’s what’s been an essential part of our success to date. 

E: What KPIs do you use to measure ROI?

RS: We have a number of indicators that we use to evaluate ROI and other key objectives, but I think the important point to make is that while ROI is key, it only tells one part of the story. Depending on what your objective is (thinking about growth metrics), it may not be a relevant KPI at all.

Whilst any marketer worth their salt can calculate an ROI, you’ve really got to look at the bigger picture.

For example, adoption of your product is unlikely to have an immediate payback and so considering the longer-term customer behaviour is crucial to measuring success, which is where things like cohorts and customer lifetime value analysis become extremely powerful for marketers. 

E: How do you use data to personalise targeting? Can you elaborate on the importance of personalisation for Treatwell in general?

RS: Firstly, let’s define what personalisation means – there’s a lot of discussion around this topic depending on who you speak to or what publication you read. It can be many different things to different marketers. 

For me, personalisation is enhancing the customer experience to a point where the communication, product, or service you’re providing not only speaks directly to that customer, but solves their problem or need. So, the question we often ask at Treatwell is “how does this solve or add value to the customer’s life?” When you’re confident that you can answer this question, you’re onto a winner as far as personalisation goes.

We’ve been making a lot of progress in this area, which is translating into some impressive results. One example of personalisation we’ve rolled out recently is targeting customers who booked a Two Week Gel Manicure, sending them a timely, relevant reminder to have those gels removed two weeks later. 

I read some recent research which indicated only 62% of senior marketers are using any sort of personalisation – so it’s still a hugely underdeveloped area. It should be much closer to 100%. What’s most surprising about this statistic is that marketers don’t need a state-of-the-art CRM infrastructure to start the journey to personalisation. 

E: How is Treatwell reacting to competition within the market, as well as salons that are starting to offer online bookings?

RS: Our salons are our partners, so we want to do everything we can to help them succeed. We’re actually very happy for and encourage salons to take bookings on their own site, so much so that we even offer them free tools that they can use on their own site or Facebook page when they join Treatwell.

This allows the salons and their stylists to focus on the job they do best – i.e. an amazing haircut or blow dry, whilst Treatwell takes the leg-work out of their online bookings. 

Taking a step back from salons and looking at the wider competitive market, there are a range of companies out there doing different and interesting things.

We have a 500+ strong group of passionate Treatwellers who are inspired, innovating and disrupting the hair and beauty space each and every day. So I think we’re well-positioned in that regard.

E: Despite the large scale and growth of the company, Treatwell has described itself as having an ‘ultra-local strategy’ – what does this mean and how is it implemented?

RS: When we talk ultra-local, we’re talking about connecting a customer in Manchester with their perfect salon in the Northern Quarter. Or, putting a Top Rated salon in Shoreditch in front of 10,000 customers across East London. 

When you think about this on a global scale, our approach is the same. A treatment that’s popular in downtown Milan is unlikely to be the same one that’s trending in Berlin.

So what an ultra-local strategy enables is understanding what’s unique about each market, and being able to act and respond on those insights with timely, relevant and compelling messages. That’s something we’re really focused on.

E: What’s next for Treatwell’s CRM?

RS: You’ll have to come along to the Festival of Marketing to find out! I can’t reveal too much, but we’ve got a lot of exciting developments in the pipeline.

Treatwell will be speaking alongside many other brands at the Festival of Marketing on 4/5 Oct. Buy your tickets now.