How Ralph Lauren used segmentation to reignite brand love

Ralph Lauren turned to data to learn more about its customers and wean them off a diet of discounts.

Fashion brand Ralph Lauren’s claim to design dreams, not clothes, was in danger of being eclipsed by a lack of customer understanding.

Margins and the brand’s image were being eroded by continual discounts used to drive sales. Customer communication was centred not around the customer, but around the business’s need to hit weekly sales targets.

To remedy this, the brand worked with Code Worldwide and RAPP to transform the business into a data-driven organisation, with the aim of reigniting love for Ralph Lauren and reviving the brand with relevance, not discounts. Key to the scheme was helping Ralph Lauren better understand its customers.

The project wasn’t without its challenges though, including the need to overcome challenges such as historic data that was kept in a variety of silos and segmented only by gender.

This was achieved by establishing a collaborative steering group at senior management level helping the brand change the way it gathers and uses data. The overriding objective was to replace discounts with relevance by creating hyper-personalised customer journeys.

Taking what it calls a 4D approach to segmentation, the focus was on the relative value of customers. Each customer was given a channel engagement score and a discount-elasticity score that measures what level of discount would drive behaviour at an individual level.

The results were clear, leading to Ralph Lauren being awarded the prize for best use of segmentation at the 2020 Marketing Week Masters awards.