The path of a serial entrepreneur is rarely a straight line, and opportunity doesn’t always present itself in the way you think it will. Just ask our CEO, Ned Moore.
He didn’t strike out to be the leader of a tech startup – he just saw problems that needed solving. Now, in his fifth venture, Ned is helping retailers and other B2C businesses connect to their customers while adapting to a data-driven future.
“Right now, Clutch is helping retailers compete in an environment where data is paramount,” Ned said. “The future is about driving deeper and deeper understanding about the customer. That’s the problem we’re solving.”
Technology as the great accelerator
Ned’s first forays into running his own businesses started in fairly traditional industries. His first business was an independent record label, founded 25 years ago, before Napster and before iTunes. From there, he launched a real estate development firm. It wasn’t until he returned to his family business, a wholesale consumer product distributor, that he saw a path in the growing digital technology space. He learned that businesses in the ‘90s, including his family’s, had no idea how to navigate Internet 1.0. He founded FMG Technologies to solve that.
FMG grew to develop enterprise-class solutions for big business, and from there sprang Portico Systems, which helped insurers tackle the incredibly Byzantine world of healthcare payment and billing technology. Ned and his partners developed systems to help insurers drive efficiencies and analyze the performance of providers in the healthcare industry with an eye on increasing overall health quality.
Bringing marketing out of the dark ages
Clutch is Ned’s latest venture and fifth startup. Originally, Ned and co-founders Andy O’Dell and Dan Guy wanted to build a service to help companies segment and analyze customer data, and they thought that service would bolt on to existing customer management software. They pitched the idea to several retail executives. In pitch after pitch, they learned that the customer management platform they wanted to bolt on to simply didn’t exist.
“Clutch’s first big pivot was seeing the bigger opportunity to build that end-to-end platform,” Ned said. “Right now, there are retailers whose data is siloed. They don’t have a full view of their customer base, and that hobbles any attempt to learn who those customers are and what they value.”
By combining all that data, Clutch has shown clients, for example, that rewards club members visit more, spend more, and are more engaged with the brand. One client has seen the average order value of rewards club members rise 25 percent over non-members.
The Clutch strategy starts with the integration of data across social, mobile, e-mail, and in-store channels, and expands to building rewards programs and data acquisition strategies.
Marketers can then identify and segment customers across a huge range of data points, including location, spending habits, frequency of visits, and whether they respond better to email or text. This behavioral data can be used to develop triggered campaigns.
For example, if a man shops in a store that caters to women around Valentine’s Day, we might suspect he is in a relationship. There’s a lot a retailer can do with that information, like tailoring holiday gift suggestions to him.
Putting data in one place also gives customers the ability to take advantage of new tools like artificial intelligence and predictive campaigns.
“AI is trickling down to the mid-market very quickly,” Ned said. “Businesses that can’t capitalize on that technology because their data is disorganized will be at a clear disadvantage.”