M&S turns to DM for rescue strategy

M&SMarks & Spencer is holding talks with direct agencies as part of plans to ramp up personalised marketing campaigns, as the retailer attempts to reverse a long-term decline in general merchandise sales.
The strategy kicked off late last year when the retailer appointed Underwired to spearhead its eCRM strategy, to boost customer engagement over digital channels.
CMW is the retailer’s last direct agency of record, having been hired in 2008, although it is understood M&S has since switched its CRM account in-house.
Advertising is handled by RKCR/Y&R; media by Walker Media.
The move comes as the retailer has this week published its results for Q4, which show general merchandise, including clothing, declining by 3.9% – the seventh consecutive quarterly fall.
Chief executive Marc Bolland has come under increased pressure to stem the decline, although he claimed the company is “working hard” to improve its general merchandise business.
Overall, the company has reported that like-for-like sales rose 0.6% in the 13 weeks to March 30, with a 4% increase in food sales coming to the rescue.
Arch-rival John Lewis Partnership is also planning to ramp up its CRM activity, following the creation of the role of customer insight director. Former Lloyds TSB data chief Paul de Laat’s first job was to call a review of the retail group’s DM accounts for the both John Lewis and Waitrose.
Kitcatt Nohr Digitas is the incumbent agency on both accounts, having worked on Waitrose since 2006 and John Lewis since 2007.
The agency has been instrumental in developing the recently revamped myWaitrose loyalty scheme, which was originally launched as an online-only offering. Kitcatt Nohr is in the process of launching a similar programme for John Lewis.

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