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Customer Engagement and Loyalty

Using marketing technology to accelerate personalization, growth, and an e-commerce transformation

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Ulta Beauty
Assess current and acquire new marketing technologies to improve customer engagement, experience, and loyalty, and capture new market share
Use of new MarTech to accelerate personalization and growth, while transforming company into an e-commerce-only retailer for 34M members during COVID-19

Facing a maturing market position and growing market challenges (LVMH Sephora, Amazon, Target, etc.) Ulta ($7.2B rev) has been investing in the technology and analytic capabilities needed to grow past its traditional retail footprint.

Sponsored by head of customer marketing, we were asked to help Ulta evaluate and enhance the current digital marketing technologies being leveraged to improve customer engagement and experience. The first step was understanding the current marketing and campaign management ecosystem through an outside-in/inside-out approach.

Once we assessed the current technologies in place, we identified the landscape of new technologies and shortlisted the viable options for the company. Our team then developed the vision and path forward, creating an RFI/RFP playbook outlining the technical and strategic requirements to leverage during the rigorous selection process.

After the new technology and capabilities were acquired over a year-long process, the challenge became how to better engage its 34M members to increase loyalty and purchases, and do so at scale.

We partnered with a pilot team to quickly launch cycles of prioritized Micro-Action™ experiments from over 36 use cases to learn how to more effectively engage. The objective was to execute short experiment cycles to better understand member context, intent, and personalization.

As a result, an experimental test-and-learn approach was activated for the first time at the company in marketing. Coincidently, it also provided a pathway to analytics-based Center of Excellence structure. The new micro-action approach was adopted to accelerate Ulta’s transformation to an e-commerce-only retailer as it had to close all 1,200 stores in face of COVID-19.