Pet_Digital_Identities.jpgRobert Pearson is Global VP of Marketing & Ecommerce at Wagly, a pet care and services provider with campuses in California, Washington and Arizona. Pearson has held senior marketing positions at Swell, Men’s Wearhouse and other brands. He was named a Direct Marketing News “30 under 30” Top Marketing Executive in 2009.

UnboundID: Which customer experience values resonate with Wagly customers and how are you meeting them?

Pearson: At Wagly, we have a unique challenge in that all of the services available for pets, from daycare to veterinary, boarding and grooming, are underneath one roof. We have discovered that what the pet owner really wants is not just a simpler and easier experience, but someone who is looking out for the well-being of their pets. True pet owners can see the difference. We work to define the kind of customer we need and want and then we design an experience to attract them.

Our technology has to cover all the aspects of owning a pet such as taking care of the health of a pet, playtime and the boarding experience. We don’t want our customers to feel guilty when they drop their pet off for the day; we want them to know that their pet’s going to be well cared for and happy.

To help us drive these experiences, we have built a fully responsive website that includes social channels and a community of pet activists. We use third-party veterinarian software that we customize heavily and have added on top Salesforce CRM and Exact Target to enable cross-platform efficiency. We are in the midst of building a mobile app that will connect to the CRM. It will allow customers to take care of many tasks, including checking their pets in and out, making a payment, getting updates on the grooming schedule, and seeing camera feeds of their pets during the day.

UnboundID: How does your company approach customer identity management within your marketing practices?

Pearson: In the beginning, we had to identify the target customer and target market and demographics to choose our locations. We put a lot of research into that. To decide upon the Bellevue campus, we pulled statistics showing how many pet owners lived there, along with income, age and what they spend on pet services. For building lookalike prospects against our customer database, we pull Experian data, social data and industry trends and use Alteryx software to do heat mapping. We get down to details like where they buy products, what kinds of questions they ask on social media about pets and common interests. It’s a very in-depth and monotonous process because there is not one place to find all this information. From there we drive search, social and display ads to generate big cookie pools and use a variety of methods to reach prospects.

UnboundID: What are your technology plans for identity management?

Pearson: We want to build one large customer database so we can start to deliver on a multichannel customer service and retention program. One hurdle is that we have a unique data structure that is based on a family: there are pet parents and pets which roll into one family. So we have to manage those identities appropriately and then enable families to be recognized when they visit other locations, such as when they travel. All of this should be seamless for customers. We still don’t have one strong unique view. I saw the same thing at Men’s Wearhouse. It’s an overall pain point for marketers. The technology is there, but it’s not always flexible and easy to install.

UnboundID: What is working best now for customer attraction and retention?

Pearson: We are heavy digital in our marketing. Digital tools deliver strong conversions and we don’t overspend. I would say the two most effective strategies are the website and then SEO/SEM. Our funnel is built through social and search acquisition and then we apply email, retargeting, display and messaging from the website and our mobile app. Email marketing is very effective, and even more so as we go along. Another very effective tool, which I hate to admit, is direct mail. We can hit a list multiple times with specific messaging, for instance, targeting people who have moved to Bellevue in the last six months with a pet. Offline marketing is not completely dead and it can be really effective when digital and print methods are used together. Any good marketer uses multiple channels and cross platforms to drive the same message. It’s about building the customer experience.