Morrisons boosts insight strategy with Sainsbury’s hire

rachel eyreMorrisons has signalled a shift to greater use of data-driven marketing by poaching Sainsbury’s group head of brand communications and creative Rachel Eyre to be its chief customer and marketing officer.

Eyre has been at Sainsbury’s for five years, joining from Barclays as head of marketing design and delivery in August 2015. She took on her current role in September last year and led a team of 175, with an estimated marketing budget of £200m across the group, including Sainsbury’s, Argos, Tu and Habitat brands.

Eyre will succeed Andy Atkinson, who was promoted to group commercial director earlier this year, and reports to chief executive David Potts. She will join in the new year and sit on the Morrisons executive committee to support the wider leadership team.

Her remit will include customer insight, advertising, in-store and targeted marketing, as well as overseeing the customer services, local solutions and PR teams.

Potts said: “Rachel’s appointment is important for Morrisons as we continue to listen carefully to our customers and further improve the shopping trip. Rachel has an outstanding record and I am really pleased to be welcoming her into the business. Her appointment represents another step in our plan to develop the next generation of retail talent.”

Morrisons’ data strategy is driven by the retailer’s More loyalty scheme, which was launched from the ashes of the Match & More programme in 2016, although is one of the stingiest reward programmes on the market. Morrisons customers have to spend £1,000 to receive a £5 voucher; Boots Advantage Card holders would earn £100 for the same spend.

Nevertheless, the information gathered from the scheme is highly valued at the company. Earlier this year, the retailer launched an initiative to hand suppliers more data from the scheme, as well as operational details such as sales, forecasting, stock and range information to pave the way for more effective marketing activity.

The supermarket group rolled out the new strategy following a successful pilot, which detailed sales and supply chain performance data. This is intended to help Morrisons and its suppliers be more reactive by boosting availability, reducing waste, and improving marketing performance so that “the right product is at the right place, at the right time”, it said at the time.

Meanwhile, the supermarket also launched a new set of customer analytics supported by IRI, dubbed Morrisons Edge, that provides buyers and suppliers with Morrisons basket data and shopper information, along with market information.

Other measures which have been implemented include planning promotions further in advance with suppliers, changing internal structures to bring the supply chain and buying teams closer together, and boosting the capacity of its own-brand team to speed up NPD.

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