Short biography

Kevin Hillstrom is one of the world’s most renowned experts in Database Marketing.

He has over 20 years of Executive experience in retail: former Manager of Analytical Services at Lands’ End, former VP Data Marketing at Nordstrom, and Eddie Bauer.

In March 2007, Hillstrom founded MineThatData, a consulting practice that helps businesses understand the relationship between customers, products, brands, marketing, and channels. His methodologies helped over 250 companies generate better profits by focusing on long-term strategies that enable growth through customer value optimization.

Hillstrom published several books with advice based on his experience as a Database Marketing veteran. He is a prolific blog writer, with more than two hundred articles published on his blog, The MineThatData Blog

Kevin Hillstrom’s contribution to the Customer Value Optimization world

Kevin Hillstrom used his database marketing skills to help thousands of companies discover and reach their potential by enabling the power of their data. Understand Hillstrom’s approach to data marketing by watching the “Collecting And Using Data To Make Better Business Decisions” episode from the “You Could Be Smarter” podcast hosted by Ecommerce Influence.

Below, you can find five of his published books that contributed to the Customer Value Optimization world.

Hillstrom’s Email Marketing Excellence

In this booklet, Kevin Hillstrom shows that email marketing dies when eCommerce companies let the channel die. Hillstrom shows how email marketing can become a channel that creates demand using the principles he applied for multiple brands, proving his concept works.

Here are two excerpts that answer the question we all have been hearing for decades, “Is email marketing dead?”:

When all areas are functioning properly, your email marketing program will thrive.  When several areas are not performing to expectations, somebody will claim that email marketing is dead.

Marketing channels die.  But marketing channels don’t die because a social media expert voices a loud opinion that is amplified via the channel used by the social media expert.  Marketing channels die when they are no longer capable of generating sales and profit improvements.

Hillstrom’s Merchandise Forensics

Hillstrom wrote this case study to help businesses see how merchandising and marketing efforts are interconnected. He uses real data and analytics to prove that merchandising problems are frequently the root of all business problems.

The marketing department can’t always be blamed for low sales when customers aren’t interested in the brand’s items. Hillstrom suggests a shift in business approach based on data:

Once we realize that marketing productivity is tethered to merchandising tactics, well, we’re almost required to view the world differently. For once, the Marketer is not to blame. We hold the Merchant accountable for Marketing performance. And when the Merchant does an amazing job, we hold the Marketer accountable for not pushing down, hard, on the gas pedal.

Hillstrom’s Diagnostics: Identify Why Your Business Won’t Grow In An Age Of Unlimited Marketing Channels

Having countless selling tactics and channels doesn’t make your job any easier, does it? Things become way more complicated for retail, catalog marketing, and eCommerce businesses.

Hillstrom shows that few customers behave in an omnichannel manner, and the omnichannel approach isn’t a guarantee for growth. What’s the key to growth, then?

We’ve learned that the industry narrative doesn’t explain why businesses succeed or fail. We learn that businesses do two things really, really well. 

First: Businesses generate profitable transactions via increased merchandise productivity. 

Second: Businesses are able to find increasing pools of new customers who pay back far more than the amount spent to acquire the customer.” 

In this booklet, Hillstrom shares the diagnostics he uses to identify if a business has a problem related to new customer acquisition, customer reactivation, or merchandise productivity. You can use his methodology to identify the issues and challenges that keep your business from growing.

Hillstrom’s Loyalty: Measuring Why It Is So Hard To Grow a Business via Loyal Customers.

The title Hillstrom chose for this booklet is intriguing. Contrary to appearances, he is not against loyalty programs as a source of growth but emphasizes that not all companies can excel at this chapter.

He raises awareness about the importance of product assortment and customer behavior analysis as a foundation for improved loyalty programs. Here are two takeaways from this book that you should keep in mind when starting with the CVO process:

When merchandise productivity increases, customers become more loyal, and marketers can afford to profitably spend more money marketing to loyal buyers.” 

We can increase customer loyalty. But our focus is wrong. We need to avoid gimmicks and promotions. We need to focus on the merchandise that customers love.

Online Marketing Simulations

This book is helpful to any decision-maker in eCommerce interested in business forecasting, simulating where the business is headed, and finding which customers provide the best long-term value.

Hillstrom highlights the importance of tracking purchase activity as customer habits and preferences change over time, saying, “I am advocating the use of tools and techniques to understand and act upon future customer behavior.

His methodology allows eCommerce enthusiasts to optimize business performance and make better decisions for long-term business health.