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A Letter to Amanda Bolton: An Update on JD Sports’ Basic CRM Tactics

Dear Ms. Amanda Bolton, Head of Brand and Customer Marketing at JD Sports,

I’m writing to you because on January 21, 2021, we at PostFunnel – a publication dedicated to everything relationship marketing – analyzed your company’s basic relationship marketing tactics, according to our “7 commandments” for basic CRM practices for the kind of world we live in today.

In other words – we looked at it all through the lens of how brands should behave in a post-COVID-19 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 the CRM analysis on your about half a year ago, 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 original analysis of JD Sportsw

Your brand got 84% in the initial analysis and ranked 6 out of the 36 leading brands we analyzed. Now, 47 brands into our project – your brand has fallen to 8th place. Still a very good spot, but why not get it perfect?

Let’s dive into the analysis.

What’s Gotten Worse

Realtime Personalization – Previous Score 7/10 – Would go down to 3/10

To check your brand’s level of immediate/basic marketing personalization efforts, we added women’s trainers to our cart and checked whether we would be presented with similar item suggestions or perhaps cross-category recommendations. In CRM terms – that would mean upselling and cross-selling techniques used, and unfortunately, neither of these tactics were implemented by your brand.

To continue checking your brand’s realtime personalization marketing efforts, we went back to the HP after adding the trainers to our cart only to find that nothing was personalized to make our shopping experience with your brand more relevant to what we were looking for.

Directing customers to homepages filled with personalized product choices and recommendations based on what they browse is a must-have for any customer-centric brand. By adding smart personalized product recommendation models to your site, you can increase the likelihood of a customer returning and reduce the unsubscribe/churn rates.

Also, in your brand’s original analysis, we wrote:

“Though no realtime re-targeting efforts were made by the brand on our social media accounts – about an hour later – when browsing the net – we were presented with a Banner Ad promoting JD sports sneakers.”

However, this time around, no retargeting efforts were made that we could notice.

Helpfulness – Previous Score 5/10 – Would go down to 3/10

Last time, we wrote that your brand is helpful by focusing on sustainability and committing to battle modern slavery.

We also wrote that a leading sports-fashion retailer like your own could be doing a tiny bit more:

“Especially now, customers want to know that your brand stands for something and that you’re “doing good.” This creates trust and loyalty – which ultimately means – more return customers.”

Finally, when researching your brand this time, we still couldn’t find any reports of JD Sports giving back to the community, a particular social cause, or the planet as a whole.

For an example of how a brand is “being helpful” during these challenging times, check out Gymshark’s Basic CRM Practices and Brooks Running Towards Smooth CRM Practices.

So, overall, we’d say that JD Sports’ score would fall to 76%. The six points deducted would move you down to 20th place.

To learn more about how JD Sports can take full advantage of all the latest, cutting-edge realtime marketing personalization and customer segmentation 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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