Recovering his master's voice - hmv UK data speaks out loud and clear



When Deloitte and Hilco appointed MIG to manage on-going marketing both during the recent administration of hmv and in the transition to new owners, there was a major additional bonus.

We were able to recover many more email records from the legacy data than the failing company managed to utilise itself. In fact, MIG has almost doubled the number of accessible and active records found in the original 7.5 million entry database.

It means that hmv UK is returning to the high street with millions of extra well-informed, enthusiastic contacts, plus many more in the pipeline.

And hmv UK is not alone. In our experience, many companies have a wealth of hidden customer data just waiting to be put back to work in creating new revenues.

Businesses hold valuable protected data
Modern digital data management systems are an excellent way to keep hard-earned reputations in the public eye during administration. At the same time, they can provide accurate market feedback.

MIG recently contacted more than 2,000,000 existing database clients with new promotion and in-store pre-release emails to keep hmv uppermost in their minds. Most have given the thumbs-up by opting to stay on the list and receive future information.

'Customer data is the lifeblood of growing companies and seed-corn for future companies,' explains MIG CEO, Rob Bielby, who led the strategic project.

'Data used to be a statistic. Now, it is a hard-working online communication asset for promoting design and brand characteristics with the potential to go viral. Well-managed information is central to swift retail turnarounds.' he adds.

Old dog, new tricks - a tribute to 'Nipper'
hmv - long associated with the image of faithful Nipper listening to his master's voice - went down in January to stiff online, supermarket and digital download competition. The new hmv UK will save 141 stores and some 2,500 jobs. But its offer as a music retailer has changed.

Tablets and other devices are no longer on offer. Instead, 'an enhanced music and visual range' is designed to appeal to customers who like to browse in-store and buy physical products from their favourite artists.

Past buyers are often very willing to receive attractive new offers and promotions. Many will then recommend what they see and 'like' to friends who may go on to become new customers.

Using an upgraded database, MIG has helped hmv to keep well over two million customers regularly updated and fully-informed of the planned changes.

When it comes to data ownership, MIG's Permission Pass process has also been pivotal in the legally-safe transfer of customer names and loyalties from the old company to the new company.

In addition, the fact that customers can actively 'opt-out' online as part of the Permission Pass process provides an extremely accurate bellwether of how well a restructuring is being accepted.

Retrieve, enhance and grow
The first priority in good data management is to make sure no customer information is lost in old paper records or forgotten digital files. The second is to combine this data. The third is to use it responsibly in reactivating lapsed customers who are often open to new offers.

Another contact channel MIG uses regularly is the simple website portal. Here, members of the public can register an interest to receive future product information. Word travels fast and these can be very successful.

The next stage is important. The Data Protection Act, 1998 and EU Electronic Data Directive, 2003, are very strict in controlling the transfer of data ownership between one company and another - or from a company to an IP and onwards.

It is here that the Permission Pass is invaluable in turning a major potential problem into a safe, legally-secure opportunity that can quickly open up new revenue streams.

The Permission Pass process itself has been formulated through consultation with the Information Commissioner's Office.

Large is beautiful
In hmv's case, the Permission Pass was very successful. Not only did it retain the vast majority of data from hmv's 'live' database of two million customers, but MIG also capitalised on the surge of public interest around the iconic brand, reactivating over 1.5 million more records of lapsed customers.

MIG is now expanding hmv UK's database still further using SMS and DM as well as email to contact even more lost customers and rekindle their interest.

Data is important to every company. We are always pleased to offer advice on maximising the hidden power of data in both large and small companies. The potential is huge.

Please feel free to discuss particular situations with us. We are here to help.

For further information, please contact Catherine Owens on 0800 031 9679.

The Marketing Innovation Group Ltd.
PO Box 427, Knutsford,WA16 1EH
Registered in England & Wales. Company No. 06963849.