CMO Breakfast Series with Wayfair: What We Learned

Racepoint Global

Written by Claire Monaghan, Colleen McCarthy and Erin Knapp

Last week, a group of digital marketers and public relations professionals from Racepoint Global attended The Ad Club’s CMO Breakfast with Nancy Go, vice president of Brand Marketing for Wayfair. Many of us were attracted to the session because of Wayfair’s big brand name, but our perceptions were changed as we listened to Nancy discuss the company’s efforts to marry performance marketing and brand marketing, while also streamlining the company from hosting many smaller, specific websites to a unified home furniture experience.

Wayfair differs from other home furniture stores in a few, major ways. Most notably, it doesn’t have brick and mortar stores and has a low capital investment on inventory. This presents a number of unique challenges, but also opens up opportunities for innovation in technology and engineering. Wayfair focuses heavily on the customer, offering personalized emails and a seamless shopping experience. Additionally, Wayfair’s low investment in inventory means that they can offer almost endless options of merchandise.

Some of our key takeaways from this session included:

  • The importance of accurate marketing measurement – Nancy quoted John Wanamaker who famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted… the trouble is, I don’t know which half.” Wayfair invests thoroughly in measuring ad effectiveness to ensure that their money isn’t wasted and that their key targets are reached.
  • Awareness is a two way street – Wayfair spends a lot of time getting to know their customers, and in turn, making sure their customers know who they are. This was evident when watching the past three years’ holiday commercials, which evolved into a more cohesive, creative and clear message that highlighted the brand’s target messages.
  • Customer loyalty is everything – Chances are you’ve seen Wayfair on a TV near you recently, and that’s because they secure placements with 200 networks per week! Media planning and targeting are a crucial component of their marketing strategy, but success is also defined as customer loyalty to the brand through repeat purchases.