THE MARKETER QUARTERLY
WINTER 2017 26 | MQ
NOT OFTEN DOES A BRAND have a chief digital officer before it has a chief marketing officer, but for apparel brand rue21, that’s exactly what happened. The company recruited e-commerce
veteran Brett Trent in 2015 to ramp up its
online presence, and at the beginning of this
year, Trent became the brand’s first-ever chief
marketing officer. The Marketer Quarterly
spoke with Trent about his priorities and
projects as he begins his new role.
MQ: Marketing and technology are so intertwined right now. How is being a CMO different from the role you held before?
BT: Well, our demographic is very young.
Our target customer is about 21 years old, so
from the marketing side there isn’t a whole
lot that we do that isn’t digital already. My
original position was very focused on e-com-
merce, and as we had big sales goals in mind,
it made sense to make the position about
more than that. So we’re adding digital mar-
keting, CRM and omnichannel.
MQ: What are some of your initial priorities?
BT: There’s a huge amount of effort going
into gathering data. That’s the primary reason I was moved into the CMO role. I didn’t
come from the traditional marketing background. On the digital side you do data all
day every day. Rue21 had huge success without taking some of the marketing research
activities that a lot of brands take. There
was no CRM at all, for example, until a
couple years ago. We just commissioned our
first marketing research product in a couple
years. We’re still in the evaluation phase
when it comes to strategy. We have three-to
six-months of CRM data, and we’re leaning
on that more than the market research at this
MQ: Do you think when you’re ready to implement some strategy at a high level, that
social media will be a big part of it, given
your target market?
BY NATHAN GOLIA