You are currently viewing A Letter to Sara Tervo of EXPRESS: An Update on the Brand’s Basic CRM Tactics

A Letter to Sara Tervo of EXPRESS: An Update on the Brand’s Basic CRM Tactics

Hi there, Sara Tervo, EVP, Chief Marketing Officer at EXPRESS.

Last week we reached the 56th episode of our ongoing “7 Commandments of Basic CRM”, where Waldo’s score of 67% was only enough for 42nd place. Still, it was 7 percentage points and 7 places above the score EXPRESS received when we analyzed it back in December 2020.

The lowest scores your brand received back then were a 4 out of 10 on Leveraging Social Media (to support Customer Relationship), a 3/10 on “Being Helpful” – and a 1/10 on “Realtime Personalization”.

But, as we know these things can be incredibly dynamic, what you are reading here now is the 10th time when we go back to one of our previous “7 Commandments of Basic CRM” analysis – to see what, if any, has changed.

This time, with almost full 9 months since our initial analysis of EXPRESS, we get back to your brand.

  • You can read more about the method at the bottom of this page
  • And, you can see the full initial analysis of EXPRESS here

So, what’s changed? Let’s see.

Be Helpful: 7/10

We increased the score from 3 – even though we still could not find glaring instances of when the brand went all out on donations or any other actions of immediate, direct assistance to people in need, may it be coronavirus related or natural disasters, or anything else.

So, why 4 more points? Thanks to the continuous growth of the “Dream Big Project”, the “Better Together” initiative, the Klarna integration (allowing to buy now and pay later), and the newly announced partnership with “Big Brothers Big Sisters of America.”

Realtime Personalization 5/10

This is a 4 point increase – thanks to a bunch of things: A – the “buy the look” widget on a product page, the upselling/cross-selling capabilities of the “Also, this” part below it, and the fly-in widget that chased us around the site once we added an item to our cart (see below):

The fact that we still got the exact same “banners” through the site while we were engaging with some specific product pages, and that we still were not quickly retargeted on social media by EXPRESS (but were by competitors!), are at the heart of the 5 points that are still missing.

For a brand putting the Express You slogan everywhere, more personalization is expected.

Leverage Social Media 5/10

Just one more point than before – as we still see the same issues when it comes to utilizing these channels to support Relationship Marketing goals. Almost all of the content across the different platforms is identical, and almost all of it is merely only promoting, well, clothes.

We did see this nice exchange:

And we’re sure your brand is doing all it can to provide quick and helpful replies. But, content on social media can help promote the brand in so many ways, strengthening customer relationships – that we just don’t see happening here.

New Final Score: 68%

Assuming all other scores are still the same – the 3 which required the most improvement contribute a total of 8 more points to the original score. A 68% puts EXPRESS in a tie with Buy Buy Baby at 41st place (a nudge above Waldo) – and still in the bottom third of our table. This still means – some serious growth potential is being left on the table here. After all, growing revenue through your existing customers – even to a point where it contributes 33% of your entire revenue – is completely doable.

To learn more about how you too can take full advantage of all the latest, cutting-edge realtime marketing personalization and customer segmentation practices, that power brands to achieve such growth – 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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