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A Letter to Greg Revelle: An Update on Kohl’s Basic CRM Tactics

Dear Mr. Greg Revelle, Chief Marketing Officer at Kohl’s,

I’m writing to you because on September 23, 2020, we at PostFunnel – a publication dedicated to everything relationship marketing (O&O by Optimove) – analyzed your company’s basic relationship marketing tactics, according to our “7 commandments” for CRM practices for the kind of world we live in today.

We looked at it all through the lens of how brands should behave in a post-2020 world to improve their chances of building meaningful customer relationships.

You can read more about the method at the bottom of this page.

Since we ran Kohl’s CRM analysis a few months back, we wanted to revisit it today to see what has changed – what has improved, stagnated, or gotten worse. After all, we all know these things are dynamic.

See the full original analysis of Kohl’s from September 2020

 Back then, your brand got a 70% score and ranked 13 out of the 18 leading brands we analyzed. Now, 44 brands into the game – Kohl’s has fallen to 31st place.

What seems to be the case is a crucial CRM drawback: the lack of some basic realtime personalization tactics. The demonstration of corporate social responsibility is still lacking, too.

Let’s dig deeper.

What’s Gone Better

Being Helpful – Previous Score 5/10

Recently on LinkedIn, we noticed that your brand shared a post on the launch of “Be Well at Kohl’s” which recognizes the well-being of Kohl’s employees:

Acknowledging mental health in the workplace is great for decreasing employee turnover and truly shows you care about people.

In other news, we noticed that Kohl’s made a $5 Million donation back in November 2020 to more than 100 nonprofits who give with all their heart.

You were quoted in a press release saying:

“We know that this year has been challenging for so many, including the nonprofit organizations all across the country that serve their local communities, and this holiday season we are honored to be able to celebrate those that give with all their heart.”

“We’re proud of our Kohl’s associates and their commitment to the communities they serve and thank them for their many efforts to inspire and empower families by giving back.”

Again, this is an excellent and generous way to give back to society at times of need and serve local communities. However, the donation was made over half a year ago, and we couldn’t find new additional ways your brand has been advocating any plans to make the world a better place.

As more and more brands are proactively developing plans for a positive image while leading the path to a better future, we hope this becomes basic procedures throughout the business world – especially at a brand like Kohl’s.

The score now would be about 8/10.

Master UX – Previous Score 5/10

Last time, we wrote that “we did feel overwhelmed with the number of popups/banners on the site – which do feature promotions that we appreciate – but perhaps could have been done so in a more organized and subtle way.”

This time, we didn’t see as many popups/feel they interfered with our user experience.

Also, though commenting on Kohl’s lengthy HP in the original analysis – this time around, the HP seemed to be more concentrated and relevant.

The score now would be about 8/10.


What’s Not Better

Realtime Personalization – Previous Score 6/10 (would stay the same)

Here’s how we checked your brand’s level of immediate/basic marketing personalization efforts:

We added living room curtains to our shopping cart and checked to see whether up-selling or cross-selling techniques were presented to us. As you can see below, both of these marketing methods were used once the items were added to our cart:

When going back to the homepage after adding the curtains to our cart, we were not presented with any personalized view of tha site – like many leading brands rightfully do.

When completely exiting Kohl’s website, no realtime retargeting efforts were made on our social media either – even when we left our cart abandoned with items in it.

So, many basic/immediate personalization tactics are missing. That’s too bad, as when it comes to customer marketing, personalization is crucial.

Brands that adopt a truly personalized, customer-centric approach can attribute 33% of their revenue to CRM marketing.

Scaling personalization is only possible by deepening customer understanding to increase relevance and optimizing execution through strong decisions, testing, and automation.

Wanna know how it’s done? Talk to us, we know a gal…

And so, overall, we’d say that Kohl’s new score will probably go from 70% to 78%.

That’s climbing from 31st place to 17th out of the 44 brands we ranked. Improvement, but still nothing more than the middle of the pack.

To learn more about how Kohl’s can take full advantage of all the latest, cutting-edge realtime marketing personalization practices, feel free to reach out to me at any time.


Amit Bivas, VP Marketing at Optimove

Email: [email protected]


About the 7 Commandments for Basic CRM Tactics in A Post-Coronavirus World:

We have a saying here at PostFunnel: All marketing is relationship marketing. Why? Because every touchpoint with a potential customer impacts the kind of relationship they will have with a brand, if and when they become customers. Even branding has. It’s like what people hear about their upcoming blind-date can determine the actual meeting’s success.

In recent years, it meant that the ways brands support global, social, environmental, and even political causes have become increasingly critical to their relationships with customers.

Then, 2020 happened. With its global pandemic’s tragedy, economic downturn, and historical social and political turmoils – people turned their eyes to brands, almost as much as they have to governments. Expecting and judging brands by how they conduct themselves throughout such events was never more crucial to a company’s CRM success.

One after the other, the internet got flooded with articles advising marketing and CRM leaders on how to make sure their brand is suited for this new reality. So, we combed dozens of them – and came up with a list of 7 staples that appeared in most of those articles.

The seven most essential commandments a brand must follow these days to make sure they put themselves in the best position possible to develop long, meaningful relationships with their customers.

The 7 Commandments:

1) Transparency. Show the human side of your brand

2) Give incentives and perks (that make sense)

3) Be relevant (with your language, offering)

4) Be helpful (improve your communities’ lives)

5) Personalize in realtime (cause, duh)

6) Master UX (slow, clunky websites are no longer an option)

7) Leverage social media (don’t just treat it as a sales channel)

Yup, that’s all. Without being at least decent at all of these, your CRM efforts will struggle to achieve their full potential.

And, let’s be honest, it’s not too much to ask of a brand, right?

Yet, you’d be surprised how many well-known brands fall short too often when analyzed through these lenses.

Still, it makes some sense – these changes are happening fast, and not all brands can react and adapt quickly enough and on all fronts.

And we’re here to follow these reactions and adjustments as they happen.

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