Grant Harrison, the former Tesco chief who played a major role in launching Clubcard and appointed DunnHumby to run it, has urged new boss Dave Lewis to ditch both.
Back in 1993, Harrison led the team which investigated the potential of loyalty cards – after being briefed by then marketing director Sir Terry Leahy – researching programmes across the world and coming up with the proposal.
Harrison then hired Evans Hunt Scott (now Havas EHS) and DunnHumby to work on the scheme, which was eventually rolled out in 1995, following trials.
The rest, as they say, is history, with Clubcard often cited as one of the key elements in transforming the retailer’s entire operation. As director of Clubcard and targeted marketing, Harrison also oversaw the retailer’s expansion into financial services and other sub-brands.
Now, writing exclusively for DecisionMarketing, Harrison claims Tesco would be better off ditching Clubcard and using the customer insight it already holds and appending it to payment card analysis.
Although he admits that ploughing the estimated £500m Tesco spends on the scheme each year into price cuts “wouldn’t touch the sides”, Harrison believes “putting it into creative innovation businesses, teams and communities could transform the UK and Tesco’s position in it and in peoples’ minds”.
He adds: “When we invented and launched Clubcard we took big risks, with customers at the core. We were creative about how we did it. We used small teams. No committee.”
Harrison also reckons the supermarket giant should offload DunnHumby, which has been priced at £2bn. He writes: “Tesco doesn’t own Weiden + Kennedy or its direct and digital agencies. Why should it? Better to hold the data at Tesco and then use another company to carry out creative analysis.”
Harrison left Tesco in 1997 to join BSkyB as consumer marketing director, and following spells at DunnHumby, Vodafone, Virgin Health Miles, and Humana, he reunited with EHS boss Terry Hunt two years ago to launch The Future Customer consultancy.
His remarks follow DunnHumby co-founder Clive Humby’s criticism of Tesco’s marketing strategy, in which he claimed the supermarket giant’s obsession with instore promotions is making the Clubcard scheme virtually irrelevant.
Echoing Harrison’s sentiments, Humby reckoned companies do not need a loyalty card to analyse customer data any more, maintaining that with the decline of cash, it is now easier to analyse transactions using payment card information instead.
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