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November 9, 2015updated 28 Mar 2017 4:23pm

John Lewis, Christmas already

By John Oates

The John Lewis Christmas advert has somehow become an established part of the build-up to Christmas.

The department store might have an old-fashioned reputation but they’re no slouches when it comes to modern marketing. Although the productions are not cheap previous ads have more than recouped their big budgets in related toys, never mind increasing general sales in the run-up to Christmas.

This year the ad, using a cover of an Oasis song, was well on its way to a million views on YouTube within a few hours of its release. And they’ve not spent a penny showing it on TV yet.

Getting people watching online also gives the company valuable data on exactly which customers are consuming its adverts.

By combining this data with information from shop sales, online purchases and social media engagement the company can make informed decisions about its whole seasonal marketing spend.

John Lewis works with Hewlett Packard Enterprise on a variety of data projects including using Optimost to evaluate use of its website, mobile apps and other channels to market. Too often big decisions on web and mobile design are taken by committee rather than real-world testing. Optimost can quickly measure multi-channel marketing using data not just gut instinct.

It uses multi-variate testing to create hybrid models to improve the customer experience.

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The project to tweak johnlewis.com also pulled together lots of different teams of people – from online product selling teams and web developers to software developers and business analysts. Getting these people working together helped accelerate the development process.

Optimost is not limited to sucking up data from web platforms – it can be linked into Hadoop, cloud-based databases to provide analysis and meaning to all sorts of customer data.

Using the best tools also means this development process never really stops. Real-time data analysis lets you continue to alter your offering in response to data from real customers.

You can bet that John Lewis will be collecting people’s responses to its advert from YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and elsewhere. Analysing these reactions will allow them to fine tune marketing in the next few vital weeks to get as many customers onto their websites and into their stores as possible.

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