Although the hit TV comedy series Seinfeld ended in 1998 after 9 seasons, the most popular show of the 1990s lives on in syndication. Favorite episodes (such as “The Parking Garage”), sayings (“yada yada yada”), and characters (The “Fast Talker” and “Man Hands”) continue to thrive in pop culture.
Every Seinfeld fan will recall the J.Peterman Company – a catalog retailer that, at the height of its growth had over $75M in sales and was parodied regularly on Seinfeld. The J.Peterman Company endured the ebbs and flows of the macroeconomy as well as competitive pressures to capture customer attention and pressure, which resulted in a bankruptcy filing at one point followed by a resurrection and relaunch later. Elaine Benes, one of the unforgettable stars of Seinfeld, served as an editor for the J.Peterman Company and took over operations at one point when J.Peterman went on sabbatical. She was constantly looking for new ways to capture customer attention through the catalog.
Although business process optimization was never formally discussed in Seinfeld, we can only imagine how it would have been impacted if it had a control tower at the helm of an integrated interdependent suite of business process management (BPM), business transaction management (BEP), Business Rules, and Complex Event Processing (CEP ) capabilities. In retail as in many other industries, real-time revenue opportunities often arise spontaneously, and a pre-created catalog may not fit the bill when a customer needs something in the moment and competitive offers are circling. Sorry Elaine. So it becomes imperative to get your offer in front of these customers at the exact time they would be ready and able to act upon it. As customer needs grow more and more complex, your offers must become more and more targeted and individualized.
The ability to sense a customer need and respond to that need (which is, in itself, a business event) would have allowed the J.Peterman Company to capitalize on the mix of Urgency + Convenience + Opportunity to offer customers great deals that would be compelling enough to incent them to make a purchase then and there without shopping around any further, thus eliminating the competition from even being considered.
With the aforementioned integrated technologies and Elaine promoted to run Marketing, the J.Peterman Company could leverage the visibility and insight of a control tower, which deploys real-time cross application information and an actionable interface to identify opportunities and events that enable users to make in-process decisions, enabling them to pinpoint new revenue opportunities at the exact right time and with greater precision than more traditional cluster analysis and statistical correlation metrics alone could achieve.
And as far as customer satisfaction goes- well you would have heard many statements such as, “I was walking down the street yesterday, and yada yada yada, I got a great deal on a new summer wardrobe.”
View all posts from Sarah Hamilton on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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