Episode 17

Using Predictive Analytics to Create VIP Customers

In this episode, Kailey and Kristin discuss customer DNA, uniting online data and in-store experience, and creating VIP customers through predictive analytics.


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Guest speaker: Kristin Maa

Kristin Maa is Senior Vice President, Growth at Saks, where she is responsible for growth and retention marketing and online category growth. Prior to being appointed to this role in March 2021, Kristin held various leadership roles across marketing and business strategy at Saks Fifth Avenue and HBC. Kristin holds a master's in business administration from Columbia University and a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel.


Episode summary

This episode features an interview with Kristin Maa, Senior Vice President of Growth at Saks. At Saks, Kristin leads growth and retention marketing and online category growth. She has held various leadership roles at Saks Fifth Avenue and HBC in marketing and business strategy.

In this episode, Kailey and Kristin discuss customer DNA, uniting online data and in-store experience, and creating VIP customers through predictive analytics.


Key takeaways

  • Customers expect their digital profiles to be reflected in their in-store experience. It’s critical for associates to structure in-person conversations around online data to provide a personalized omnichannel experience.

  • Through the use of predictive analytics, it’s possible to identify potential high LTV customers based on their behavioral data. This practice gives customers the VIP treatment and leads to higher engagement and retention.

  • Customer DNA helps pinpoint which brands, categories, and engagement channels customers prefer. This enables marketers to identify and suggest similar products and channels a shopper might be interested in, effectively moving them along their engagement journey.


Speaker quotes

“If we are giving early access to our VIP customers, we're also taking a group of people that haven’t ‘earned’ that status already, but they're indicating that they probably will, and going ahead and giving it to them because we want to make sure that we're retaining them. It gives us a better chance to engage them and wrap our arms around them early and make sure that they fulfill their destiny as that high LTV, VIP customer that we think that they're going to be.”

– Kristin Maa


Episode timestamps

‍*(02:08) - Kristin’s background

*(04:23) - Industry trends in customer engagement in luxury retail

*(11:11) - How Saks is building personalized digital experiences

*(18:24) - How Kristin defines “good data”

*(22:10) - How Saks is using good data to build customer engagement

‍*(28:02) - An example of another company doing it right with customer engagement (hint: it’s Delta)

*(31:34) - Changes in customer engagement in the next 6 to 12 months

*(35:14) - Kristin’s recommendations for upleveling customer engagement


Connect with Kristin on LinkedIn

Connect with Kailey on LinkedIn


Kristin Maa: If we are giving early access to our VIP customers, we're also taking a group of people that haven't earned that status already, but they're indicating that they probably will, and going ahead and giving it to them because we wanna make sure that we're retaining them. It gives us a better chance to engage them and sort of wrap our arms around them early and make sure that they kind of fulfill their destiny as that high LTV VIP customer that we think that they're going to be.

Speaker 2: Hello and welcome to Good Data, Better Marketing, the Ultimate Guide to Driving Customer Engagement. Today's episode features an interview with Kristin Maa, senior Vice President of Growth at Saks. But first a word from our sponsors.

Speaker 3: This podcast is brought to you by Twilio Segment. Looking for clean, reliable data that you can trust? Segment collects, cleans and allows you to activate your data in real time across hundreds of applications and channels. Learn about how Segment can help you personalize customer experiences by visiting segment.com.

Kailey Raymond: Technology is pervasive. In fact, according to Deloitte, on average, US households have more than 20 connected devices. Nowadays, customers who share their data digitally expect that information is transferred to help inform the in-store experience. In order to meet this expectation for omnichannel personalization and retain customers, marketers like Kristin Maa are finding innovative ways to structure in-store conversations around digital data. In this episode, Kristin and I dig into customer DNA, marrying online data and in-store experience and using predictive analytics to give a VIP status to customers who have yet to earn it.

Kailey Raymond: So with me today, I'm really excited, I have Kristin Maa, she's the senior vice president of Growth at Saks. Kristin, you're responsible for growth, retention marketing in particular, the online category growth. But I'd love to hear a little bit more about your career journey in your own words.

Kristin Maa: Sure. So I actually started my career in the nonprofit sector, which is a whole other story probably, but I found myself sort of ending up going to business school, thinking about doing some different things and switched paths to consulting. Went to McKinsey where I worked primarily on CPG companies, retailers and within marketing as well as some other functions. And I think that's where I really found my love for consumer brands, talking to the customer, thinking about the customer. And so from there, when I was ready to leave consulting and sort of move into an operating role, knew that's part of what I wanted. And so that's when I first came to Saks or Broadly or HPC, our parent company about eight years ago. And since then have held a bunch of different roles across marketing and e-commerce and found myself in this role, which is a super cool role that I have today. It's sort of a lot of different touchpoints with the customer of being the team that within media needs to go find the customers and sort of get them initially to the website.

Kristin Maa: And then once they're there, my team is responsible for everything from the page that they might drop onto, from a linking strategy perspective, to what do the arrays look like, what's high and low in the array and how do we make sure we're getting them the best possible products for them as quickly as possible on the site experience? And then how do we bring them back? So retention marketing, which for us, is a lot of email but also SMS and push notifications within our app, trying to sort of think about re-engaging the customer and bringing them back in. So lots of different parts of their journey that we get to kind of play with and experiment with.

Kailey Raymond: That's so great. So you're really seeing the customer journey from the inception of we're getting these customers in the door and then actually nurturing them to be long-term high value customers for you. I imagine you see a lot of trends kind of come and go as it relates to the way that the macro environment and customers are kind of impacting some of your strategies. I wanna start maybe by touching on some of those. If you could, are there any macro trends that you think are currently related to customer experience in luxury and retail? 

Kristin Maa: Yeah, I think it's hard to think about macro trends without the sort of centering on the current economic environment and just how volatile that has been for the last couple of years. And I think that there's obviously a mix between COVID and the economic environment and how that changed spending and customer sentiment. But we're super interested in understanding how those things are fluctuating and in particular for the luxury consumer, 'cause I think they move at a little bit of a different pace from the general population and so obviously are watching that very closely. We also have a Luxury Pulse survey that we do quarterly where we're trying to reach out to our customer base and sort of use them as a sounding board to understand how are they feeling so we can match that up against what the business looks like, what we're seeing in sales and traffic, what they're saying and what we're sort of hearing from other companies, general reports and things like that.

Kristin Maa: And so, we started doing that during COVID so that we could get a sense of what are our customers thinking, where are their heads at? And it's been interesting to kind of watch the attitudes evolve, and there's nothing that's been totally different from what we have seen generally, but I think there are really interesting things that are kind of trends that are coming out, right. So in our most recent version of the survey, we saw 62% of our customers said they plan to spend the same or more on luxury than in the prior three months, but that's down from 68% in September. So...

Kailey Raymond: Interesting.

Kristin Maa: Seeing that sort of trend change, like 62% still seem... It's more than half, it's a majority, but seeing that attitude sort of shift pre-holiday versus post-holiday and kind of watching how that trend is moving is really important for us. I think on the other hand, we're seeing, more of them are saying that they're planning a trip than they were on the last time we spoke with them. So people's priorities are changing and how they're thinking about spending, which is helpful for us to know. And of course we would've had a vacation edit regardless, we do that every year. People always go on vacation at certain times of year, so we would always have had that. But I think it's helpful for us to understand, okay, they're thinking of spending less, but vacation is something that's really important, so let's lean into that even more than maybe we would have.

Kailey Raymond: That's so interesting. And in retail seasonality is so incredibly important. I imagine right now you're catching a lot of the spring breaker [0:07:06.9] ____ ski folks that you wanna serve those particular outfits to. I'm also wondering a little bit more about, you know you're doing surveys, right? So you're taking actually their information, what they're directly telling you. Are you also seeing consumer behaviors change over time? Anything that you would wanna highlight directly related to... Maybe not necessarily directly the survey work, but anything else? 

Kristin Maa: A couple of things. One, I would say sort of not related to the surveys but kind of telling us the same things as the surveys. We look at obviously what people are buying. So we have a pretty wide range of price points and aesthetics and brands and so seeing how people are sort of migrating up and down that price chain, typically we are seeing that when you would expect people are more willing to buy higher price point designer items, that is when they're more willing to buy them. And we are seeing that trend sort of follow what people are saying, which is interesting. We know that most people, their full closet is not designer. They're mixing things, even as part of one outfit, they're mixing high and low. And so we do see people's purchases sort of lean one way or the other depending on the economy. And then I think sort of separate from willingness and sentiment around spend, I think we're also seeing just generally the attitudes that customers have and their expectations have been changing over a little bit longer period of time. I think again sort of feels like it's linked back to COVID when things really changed in a lot of ways for people, but maybe it was probably coming anyway, you know the desire...

Kailey Raymond: Are you implying digitization perhaps the, move to digital channels? 

Kristin Maa: It's this combination of move to digital channels but also some of the social media that's become more popular. The desire for brands to care about values that their customers care about and comment on social issues and all of that, I think, is sort of melding into this place where the expectation is that brands are going to be engaging in two-way dialogue with customers and that they wanna see themselves reflected. And there are a lot of ways that can happen and I think that's something that we're certainly watching 'cause I think is it creators and moving into more of the creator driven content? Is it Web3 and communities built around Web3 and engaging that way, livestream content where literally you can ask questions and have conversations with, for us, whether it's designers or buyers or fashion office and engaging directly or even just commenting. Like TikTok for example, there's probably just as robust a conversation in the comments as in the original posts themselves.

Kristin Maa: And so there's this culture of expectation and and willingness and desire to kind of interact both ways and I think our customers wanna be heard. And so we are sort of dabbling to different degrees in all of those spaces and trying to kind of figure out what's the best way for our customers, how do they wanna interact? But knowing that that is certainly a trend that feels like it has built up a lot of steam and we're gonna need to participate probably in many of those ways going forward.

Kailey Raymond: That's super interesting. I love that you're kind of zoning in on this proliferation of all of these different channels that have been created in the past five to 10 years, TikTok seeming to have a meteoric rise in the past four alone. And one of the things too that you mentioned was kind of this new focus on ESG and making sure that you're committing back to the values of your customers and really highlighting that your brand really aligns with what folks are interested in and that enables that two-way dialogue that you were talking about. I think this kind of taps into something that we talk about sometimes here, which is just creating those personalized digital experiences. So are there any strategies that you would wanna talk about in particular that Saks is employing around this? 

Kristin Maa: Yeah, for sure. So personalization I think for us is really critical because when you think about the number of brands, categories, items that we have on the site, as a house of many brands it's really necessary for us to be able to use personalization to deliver to people something that reflects their personal style, things that they're interested in, because otherwise I think there is a possibility that they'll get lost on the site. We have over 150,000 styles on the site today. How do you find the combination that's right for you? And I'm confident for people who are coming to the site, we have the combination, but we have to kind of pull that together for them and help them find it really quickly and without a lot of work. So we have been building for a long time personalization initiatives to help make sure that we're doing that. I think the first frontier of that for us has been email and we've done a lot of work there and at this point over 90% of our email communications have a personalization element...

Kailey Raymond: Wow.

Kristin Maa: To them. And that's versus 10% a few years ago. So we've really ramped up that content and tried to figure out how to make it look different as well. So it's not the same product script over and over again. It's how do we use personalization in a bunch of different ways to make people feel like the content that they're getting from us is curated and makes sense for them? And so I think fortunately because we have stores, we have online, we have a pretty big customer base, we've collected a lot of data over the years and our fantastic analytics team has created something that we call customer DNA. So that sort of, internally someone's DNA is their brand preferences, their category preferences, but also how do they like to engage? Are they an app shopper or a desktop shopper? 

Kailey Raymond: What channel? Yeah.

Kristin Maa: Are they... Yeah, what channels are they responding to? And so trying to understand who is this person as a customer, as a shopper to us. And then we also supplement that first party DNA with predictions. So because of the number of customers we have, they've been able to model someone who looks like this from a data perspective if they were introduced to this brand or this category would probably be interested. And so I think that's a super interesting addition and added value that we really have because who doesn't want someone to say, "Oh I noticed that you really love these three brands. There's this other brand you probably haven't even ever heard of and you would love them as well and so why don't you give that a try?" And so we're kind of adding those things within their DNA of what we think that they would like, because we're gonna assume that if they try it, they will. And then we're layering, on top of that, what are their current actions. So one of my favorite examples, 'cause I think it's so darn helpful is, sometimes we run out of stock of things.

Kristin Maa: We have a popular item and we might not have your size or we might have sold out of it completely and you can add to wait list, which is helpful because if it comes back in stock you'll get a notification. But we kind of stepped back and thought about, " What is the customer telling us when they're waitlisting this bag?" for example. And I think it's, we know well hey, they're telling us they wanna buy a bag.

Kailey Raymond: Yeah, pretty good indicator.

Kristin Maa: They're in the market for a bag. And these are some of the characteristics. This is the color, this is the price point, this is the designer, this is the shape. And we can take that information and say, well, maybe this bag will come back in stock and if it does, we'll definitely let them know. But it might not ever come back because sometimes there are limited runs and often the seasons move on and then there's something else that comes in. And so, since they're looking for a bag today, how can we help them find things that, based on what they told us they're looking for right now, but also all the other things we know about them and and what they like, what can we suggest to them that's the most helpful that's in stock now that they can buy if they want something right away? As a customer I love it.

Kailey Raymond: For the bottom line, it probably helps too. You're probably driving some incremental dollars that might not have existed before if you didn't have a lot of those items in stock. I love this initiative, customer DNA, and really what you're talking about is predictive analytics and being able to make inferences on what your audiences are going to be interested in based off of that behavior, which is the strongest signal. You said, what is the bag color? Oh, maybe they want a black bag. Okay, let's send that out. I think that oftentimes when we think about personalization, we always try to get to the end state of like, we need to be real time, we need to be like... To the place where you are frankly, you got to 90%, which is incredible. And I think a lot of people just maybe need to start with like, they looked at these items, so send them an email with these items in it and see what happens.

Kristin Maa: A 100%. That's where we started. We started there, we started with, they left it in their cart, let's remind them.

Kailey Raymond: Classic.

Kristin Maa: The things that most brands start with. But I think a few years ago we actually thought we were like, "Okay, we've done it, we've added all of the triggers. These are the common behaviors that we see and where people fall off or new arrivals. We've added a notification on new arrivals and we we're kind of done." And then I think we sort of pushed ourselves over the hump of like, there's more that we can infer and more that we can sort of add to what they might be looking for before they tell us, "Hey, this is what I'm looking for exactly." We're continuing to test and try to roll out new things that expand on that idea.

Kailey Raymond: That's incredibly cool. And I love that you stated that because you're right. I think that when you're starting this, you're probably thinking about a couple of use cases. I wanna get to X. And once you get there, that's great, you finish that project, but the way that you can find maturity within collecting data and then building new use cases off of that and advancing in this kind of curve, it's kind of endless, which is a little bit...

Kristin Maa: It is.

Kailey Raymond: Daunting, but really interesting.

Kristin Maa: Yeah, for sure. I think, it is. It's an iterative process where we see what people are responding to and what seems to make the most difference. And then think about, okay, what are other things that are like this that we could build off of? And I think we keep coming up with new ideas, so it is really endless.

Kailey Raymond: That's great. So your teams brought together a whole lot of data sources to actually get to this point where you're building these really incredible segmentations and audiences and developing predictive models to be able to move people along in their journey. That takes a whole lot of pretty clean, pretty good data. So, I'm wondering if you would have a definition for us of what good data means at Saks.

Kristin Maa: Yes, you're so right. And we find... I will caveat, we'll find sometimes it's not clean.

Kailey Raymond: Of course.

Kristin Maa: People share accounts. A whole family might be ordering something on one person's login...

Kailey Raymond: Yes.

Kristin Maa: People are buying gifts, and so...

Kailey Raymond: Oh yeah. Same household stuff is very, very hard... Or multiple email addresses. That's tricky stuff.

Kristin Maa: Yeah. My work, my personal... A lot of our customers have stylists that they work with, and sometimes their stylist order things for them. So certainly it's not perfect, not totally clean, but I think, of course, that's the aspiration. Clean, reliable, structured in a way that's ingestible. We have a lot of entry points for data that we could be collecting, and so some of that's easier to fold into our database than others. And then I think the last thing is data that we can use to find actionable insights, so sometimes data is just data for the sake of data. You're collecting it and you might not know how you're gonna use it, but the data that's really important and good is that, that we can sort of have an insight about and use it in some kind of way.

Kailey Raymond: I think that's the key is everybody can collect data and anybody can collect a lot of data, there's no shortage of that. It's being able to take it and activate it and make it meaningful, using it in the field. I love that you're defining that it also just needs to be reliable and structured.

Kristin Maa: Structured.

Kailey Raymond: That was something that piqued my interest, and if I may, just like... I'm imagining you probably have a lot of in-store associates, stylists wandering around, having in-personal conversations with people. Is there a way that you structure those conversations to build that into some of the behavioral data that you're collecting in digital channels? 

Kristin Maa: There is. We have figured out a great way to help arm the store associates with information about what the customers are shopping online.

Kailey Raymond: That's awesome.

Kristin Maa: A lot of customers will look online and then end up going into store and saying, "I wanna try on these things," but people do research online before they go into a store, and so we are able to capture more of that data about what... Putting the pieces together. For a store stylist who works with customers in the store, if that customer is buying things online or browsing things online, in many cases we find they expect their associate to know what they're looking at

Kailey Raymond: Yes.

Kristin Maa: They expect them to know, "Oh, I bought this online, but you probably know that." And so we're trying to marry those things up, and I think have gotten to a pretty good place in terms of being able to share that data; for the customers who we know are really attached to a stylist in the stores and working with them on a regular basis, we're finding mechanisms to be able to share that so that we're meeting their expectation, because it really is an expectation that they have.

Kailey Raymond: Talk about a change in consumer demand. Could you have predicted that 10 years ago, somebody would have come into your store and assumed that you knew everything about their online behavior? They would have looked at you like you were absolutely nuts. But that's kind of where we are today, especially in retail in particular. Finance is another one, where you're walking into a bank and you probably expect they know something about you, and it's such trusted relationships that you're building in a luxury brand. So that's really, really interesting that you can marry those two together and make sure that you are serving those client needs. We just talked about a couple of them, but I wanted to dig a little bit deeper to see if there were other tactics around customer engagement that you're deploying at Saks.

Kristin Maa: One of the other tactics that I think over the last couple of years we've really started digging into in a new way is the concept of LTV. It's something that I think a lot of companies are using to try to think about customer acquisition, and we are using it in that way, but we're also using it in a couple of other ways, where we've taken, again, the things we sort of know about customers and what their actual LTV has been, and sort of modeled what are the biggest impacts on predicting higher LTV? 

Kristin Maa: And so, this is helpful in a bunch of ways, but one of them is... A lot of times, we think about VIP customers or high value customers, and we know who they are based on what they've spent historically, but sometimes we might have a customer who's new, they've made one purchase with us, so we don't really know them, but if we can know from some of the behaviors around their first purchase, so what they bought, of course, brand and category, but also, did they sign up for email? Do they have an account? Were they using an app? Have they been in a store before? All of these different things that are sort of pre-purchase behaviors, we can say they are likely to be high LTV based on the few data points that we have on them. And so instead of waiting for them to be with us for a year and prove that they're high LTV, by continuing to come back and spend, let's help make sure that happens by treating them like a high LTV VIP customer from the beginning.

Kristin Maa: So if we are giving early access to product or an exclusive or enhanced customer service to our VIP customers, we're also taking a group of people that haven't "earned" that status, the status already, but they're indicating that they probably will and going ahead and giving it to them, because we wanna make sure that we're retaining them, it gives us a better chance to engage them and sort of wrap our arms around them early and make sure that they fulfill their destiny as that high LTV VIP customer that we think that they're going to be. So I think that's important for us, especially as we and everybody else starts to think more about retention and making sure that we're keeping the customers that we've acquired and growing their wallet share with us, knowing if you can't invest the same amount in every customer and you can't treat them all in the same way, if there are special things that you can only do for some, how do you make sure that you're extending that to customers who haven't yet demonstrated the behavior that you're looking for, but they seem like they will.

Kailey Raymond: This is incredibly insightful and really smart. You've gone really far into this journey to be able to say, I can predict that this person, in my language, B2B tech, a high propensity to buy, and that their deal size is gonna be larger than the average. I do ABM for my team, and so those are the exact types of accounts that we try to go after. And so I just love hearing, industry to industry, we're all really thinking about very similar things and just calling it slightly different things, going about it in slightly different ways, but retail is always the inspiration, because I do think that the creativity and the real relationships within retail are something that you can really find a lot of inspiration in. I have a question about if there's a time that you were looking into this data that you might have been surprised by. Is there an insight that you just would have said, yeah, I couldn't have predicted that one? 

Kristin Maa: So one of the things maybe that surprised us, and it's not a huge surprise, but really interesting to see, is the relative value, I think, as I was mentioning on the LTV front, being able to know the relative value of different actions a customer can take. And so using that to say we can't incentivize customers to do everything we want them to do, so we want them to download the app, we want them to sign up for email, we want them to create an account, because if you're creating an account and using it, we can better personalize their emails, make sure that we're capturing things and attaching them, as we said, on the good data conversation, attaching it to the right person based on what they're putting in their account, and so we can lead with that in terms of...

Kristin Maa: What's the first thing we want you to do if you don't have an account? That's number one. And so what are the tactics that we can put in place across different channels and promotional activity and what have you, special benefits on the website to get people to do that? Once they've done that, we can move on to email. And so we sort of have now a path, and I think we knew all those things were important, but we didn't know which one was the most important, and so I think that's been really cool to understand and give us prioritization and marching orders for what to get customers to do to increase the likelihood we're gonna retain them.

Kailey Raymond: You can build a journey that way, that's great. You know exactly what points you need to hit folks with what CTA is, and as a marketer, that's really helpful to have that directionally, so you're not always asking people for everything... Kristin Maa: Everything.

Kailey Raymond: At once, as you were saying, piecemeal what's the most important, we'll get this one step at a time as we build that trust. Kailey Raymond: Who do you think is doing it right in terms of customer engagement? Are there any folks that you look to and think, "That's good"?

Kristin Maa: Yeah, one that I have been thinking about recently is Delta.

Kailey Raymond: Oh yeah, you're talking to a SkyMiles member over here, for sure. [chuckle]

Kristin Maa: So I don't I have to tell you. But yeah, I think the airline industry is tough, I've never worked in it, but I can imagine as someone who flies, sometimes it would be tough, and...

Kailey Raymond: Yes. Tweeting at them for customer service, it's not... For things they can't control, hard. Yeah.

Kristin Maa: Yeah. But they have really done some interesting things, I think with trying to make something that is... I've heard them say, sort of travel's a means to an end. No one is flying because... Well, very few people are flying because they like being on the airplane, they're flying because they need to go somewhere.

Kailey Raymond: Haven't met one yet. Yeah. [laughter]

Kristin Maa: I know a couple of people, but...

Kailey Raymond: Maybe the '60s when it was like lux and... They were allowed to smoke on the plane, I guess, but besides that.

Kristin Maa: Things much worse... But yeah, I think that is how a lot of people think about travel and they've tried to make it as enjoyable as possible, and they're linking that making it as enjoyable as possible with incentivizing people to give them data that they want and then using that data to try to improve the experience. So it's sort of this circular... It's a virtuous circle. So they're giving people free WiFi, which is something...

Kailey Raymond: Big...

Kristin Maa: Top three things that you want on an airplane, is WiFi that works, let alone free WiFi, for signing up for SkyMiles and then they're using that to personalize the experience of everything from what you are suggested to watch when you're sitting in your seat, to connecting with the flight attendant to say, "Okay, in seat 17A is Kailey and she had a really tough experience last time she flew with us, maybe give her a free beverage," and they'll come talk to you, use your name. It's incredible. I think it's something that, as we think about multi-channel retailers, it's something we all aspire to, to be able to really connect those dots and know for sure something about their last experience or preferences that they have, or even being able to use their name, really make something so much more enjoyable. And so, I think it's a fantastic way to use incentives that some people really want to give them more things that they also really want and might not know that they want as much as they know they want free WiFi, but I think that it's really cool some of the things that they've been rolling out, so it's a good one.

Kailey Raymond: I love this example too, because it highlights that they knew who their customer was, which is they went after a business traveler, first and foremost, somebody that was probably gonna spend a little bit more because it wasn't their direct dollar necessarily. And they converted them into a personal traveler as well by creating this really incredible experience... They do greet you, and I do think that that blend of online, offline, they're a really interesting leader to look to in how you actually use the app experience to connect it back to the online experience, to connect it back to the in-person experience. I love it.

Kristin Maa: Yeah.

Kailey Raymond: What changes do you see on the horizon in the next six to 12 months related to customer engagement? 

Kristin Maa: I think it has to be AI. So I don't know if I would have said that six months ago necessarily, but I think with ChatGPT...

Kristin Maa: It has just accelerated that conversation. And I think for me, I would say, the way that I think about applications and use cases has really brought to life all of the ways that you can really use it. I think we've been talking about it obviously for a long time, but I think in the next six to 12 months, it will be a part of a lot of shopping experiences, and it's so easy to use, so many ways that you can imagine that it would work, and everything from creating different types of creative for different people, to being a virtual stylist, to being part of the search function, there's so many places that it's gonna pop up, and I think this has sort of been a tipping point where we're gonna see... Everyone's gonna start to integrate it in a bunch of different ways. And I think it's gonna be lightning fast, in terms of how slow it felt like it was sort of building towards...

Kailey Raymond: Oh yeah.

Kristin Maa: We knew AI was something we were gonna be using and we were talking about it, and then it was like...

Kailey Raymond: Oh, it's here.

Kristin Maa: ChatGPT really is sort of, light bulb.

Kailey Raymond: And they're already starting to create a lot of those plug-ins. I saw them drop a few app plugins in the past 24 hours where, yeah, they're gonna make it so easy to integrate into a lot of your current workflows. And there's really obvious ones where it's like, okay, I can probably get AI to write all my product descriptions, that's probably a really easy, quick win, but there's more innovative and interesting ones too. There's a guy that's using it as... Have you ever seen HustleGPT? 

Kristin Maa: No.

Kailey Raymond: He gave it $10 and is asking it to invest to see how much money he can make in 30 days.

Kristin Maa: I love that.

Kailey Raymond: It's unbelievable the things that people are doing with it, and it's gonna take over a ton of different industries, and you're right, I think it just, it accelerated in 10 days versus...

Kristin Maa: Yeah, it was so fast, it was so fast. And it's sort of like people say Amazon changed people's expectations for shipping in a major way, and I think this is gonna be something similar, where the way that people want to interact with computers is just gonna be different now once they get used to doing this. And personally, I find myself just using it a lot more and I'm hearing people talk about it a lot more, and so it feels like it certainly is gonna change things in some way, and it'll be interesting to see, does it work everywhere that we try it and it's pervasive? Or is it like, oh no, really, we just wanna use it in certain situations? And so I think there's gonna be a lot of rapid trial and error in this industry, but also all industries really, and we'll see where we settle. It'll be interesting, I think.

Kailey Raymond: Are there any ones in particular that you're already starting to think about and ideate and use it for? 

Kristin Maa: Nothing we've actually started doing. We've started talking about a lot of different applications, nothing that were pens to paper, hands-on keyboards doing at the moment, but... Kailey Raymond: Dot dot dot, more to come... More to come. I love it.

Kristin Maa: Dot dot dot.

Kailey Raymond: Next time we talk, you'll be like, "Here are the 10 ways I've implemented ChatGPT for into what we're doing." Very cool.

Kristin Maa: Exactly.

Kailey Raymond: Last question for you today, if somebody was to ask you how to do this themselves, what are the steps and recommendations that you might give them? I think something we talked about with Delta really is probably the best answer for that, which is, it depends on who you are, and you need to look at your industry and your customer to really know what's the best use of data and what's the data that's the most important for you and how to collect it and all of that. 'Cause I think it's like, there are many businesses where free WiFi wouldn't be motivating at all, and there are many businesses where personalized emails aren't that compelling, because maybe it's a D2C brand and they only have 100 different products.

Kristin Maa: So you can only send so many personalized emails in that case, and so I think it's not gonna be the same answer for everyone, but it is starting at, who is the customer? What do they care about? What do they need? How could their experience be better, and how can we collect and use data to do that as the first step rather than trying to just rinse and repeat things that other people are doing because it's not always the right fit.

Kailey Raymond: Honing on your customer, making sure you really understand them and building off the back of known use cases. Love it.

Kristin Maa: For sure.

Kailey Raymond: Simple, elegant. Kristin, thank you so much for being here.

Kristin Maa: Thank you.

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