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Jul30

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Meet the RT Dog Pack

DogsAtWorkHero

It's Pets at Work Week. Did you know that only 10% of employers allow pets at work? Once a year, this #PetsAtWork movement hopes to bring cuteness and cuddles to cube dwellers everywhere. We're behind it 100%.

Every day is Bring Your Dog to Work Day at Rodgers Townsend. We have an informal pack that's as diverse and interesting as the people who work here - big dogs, little dogs, old dogs, young dogs, quiet dogs, crazy dogs, pure breds, rescue dogs, obedient dogs and dogs that consider themselves free spirits.

We've noticed some interesting outcomes since the pack took over and made itself a cultural force within our walls and out in the downtown St. Louis green spaces:

Delighted Clients. Some of our clients request puppy play time when they visit. Usually we keep dogs away from the fancy, formal conference room, ceremonially named "5D." It's hilarious to watch our guests flee the gilded cage of 5D to roll around on the floor in the lobby with a dog.  Important note: All dog hours are non-billable because cuddles are free.

Strategic Insights. We tried the FURminator product on Ollie and Riggins. If a de-Shedding tool works on Samoyeds, then it's a great product. It works miracles. But the fluffs of fur everywhere were the beginnings of a strategy and campaign idea. We credit their thick, white coats for the insight that lead to the Shedlings campaign for FURminator.

LuaraAlexOllieRiggins

Laura and Alex review work-in-progress concepts for Dingo brand rawhide bones while Ollie and Riggins play.

Happy Employees. Advertising is stressful. The deadlines are crazy. Sometimes, you just need a dog to help you put it all in perspective. Cheryl, our miracle worker head of production, is less stressed out when there's a dog about. Internally we call the phenomenon #DogsOnCheryl

 

DogsonCheryl

Casting Dog Talent. Otis was featured in this adorable, I mean highly effective, Cyber Security Awareness Month post for AT&T as part of the #GuardPets campaign. He is not just a model. He's a certified service dog with the official jacket and special skills.

OtisGaurdPets

Attracting Top Talent. Several of our recent hires cited the dog friendly work environment as a reason to work at RT. The new hotshot developer said something like, "I can bring my dog! This is awesome." The new account guy actually said, "As a single guy, that flexibility in a workplace allows me to both work longer hours when needed as well as be more social outside of work. If I can bring Dash, I don't have to feel guilty working late to get things done or going out without him after I'm off the clock. I've been fortunate to only ever work at pet-friendly places, and I hope to keep it that way."

Giving Back. Last week our dog policy enabled us to give back to the community and help Stray Rescue by fostering a dog during a power outage in a heat wave. You can learn more about Ken and spread the word about finding him a forever home on our Facebook page.

If you check out the #PetsAtWork hashtag or watch the news on Friday you'll see stories about how pets increase morale, boost productivity, appeal to Millennials and boost your employer brand. That's all terrific. But we do it because we just love dogs.


Outlier or Opportunity?

Several years ago, I was visiting an old colleague who works for a large technology company. Over dinner, our conversation slowly turned to work and he asked me about data modeling and outliers. Apparently, his team views data outliers as noise that should be removed from all models to increase confidence and predictability. For some outliers, that is the correct process. But, pruning every outlier can severely limit your potential for growth. Sometimes, an outlier is an opportunity.

Opportunities masquerading as outliers can take many forms. In the database, they could be customer attributes that don't match the target profile or product sets that don't correlate to the standard mix. Outside of the database, they could be an engagement point that differs from the current conversion path or a new media channel. At the surface, these outliers may seem interesting, but not worth the effort to pursue. However, spending a little time and digging a bit deeper could yield quite a bit of gold.

A while ago, I was helping a large retailer with their loyalty program. The member base was mostly moms who were purchasing apparel for their children. Via profile and purchase analysis, an outlier appeared in the transaction mix: during major traffic periods, like Back to School, moms occasionally purchased something for themselves. The retailer knew about this behavior and attempted to capitalize on it by including a few additional product shots of apparel for moms in each mailing.

After a bit of convincing, we tested a different approach. We pulled the best target and tested a separate, additional communication stream focusing on moms. The ROI was similar during key traffic periods. But, outside of the key periods, the ROI skyrocketed. Incremental store and online visits increased from three times per year to five times per year. These additional visits drove stronger ROIs per piece and dramatically increased lifetime values.

The biggest hurdle with outliers is not the identification, but the justification of pursuing them as opportunities. Once an outlier is found, we use primary and secondary research to add qualitative insight to the outlier. Via the combination of quantitative and qualitative insights, we are able to determine the value of the outlier and propose a plan of action. This plan usually contains a test-and-learn process along with a detailed ROI expectation generated via our proprietary calculator. This calculator combines objectives, KPIs, target quantities, revenue and cost expectations based on several what-if scenarios. We like to call it our Return on Dare calculator. You can call it your justification for pursuing a different path.