WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Sunday, April 17th, through Tuesday, April 19th, business leaders gathered for the Test & Learn® Conference at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach, FL to discuss best practices for leveraging APT’s analytics software suite. Attendees represented over 130 leading companies across industries, including Walmart, Watsons, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, American Family, TD Bank, Hilton Hotels, T-Mobile, and others.
This year, the Test & Learn Conference included five keynote sessions, covering a range of topics including innovation and the journey to customer-centricity, the art and science of retailing, and more.
Anthony Bruce, CEO of APT, and Sarah Quinlan, SVP of Market Insights at Mastercard Advisors, opened the summit on Monday morning. Bruce’s keynote addressed the latest advancements in APT’s product suite, and how leading organizations are leveraging Test & Learn to design winning customer-centric strategies.
He explained, “We’ve seen a lot of change in how customers interact with us and the marketplace, and the need for companies to adapt is greater than it has ever been. In parallel, technologies are rapidly advancing, and APT is at the forefront of that. Through expanding and improving our product suite, and embedding Mastercard insights into our software, we are enabling leading organizations to gain rich, cross-industry, cross-channel insights about their customers for the first time. With this information, companies can get smarter about which customers to target, which items to put in their stores, where to open new locations, and more.”
In her keynote session, Quinlan outlined macro- and micro-economic trends related to consumer spending and retail sales. She said, “As consumer spending preferences continue to evolve, as seen in Mastercard's data and analytics, organizations have an opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by adopting a Test & Learn approach to uncover which innovations are truly driving sales, and from which customers.”
Dan Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University, also spoke to conference attendees on Monday morning. Gilbert focused on decision-making and explored the mistakes individuals make when estimating the expected value they will get from their actions. In his session, Gilbert explained, “Bad decisions stem from the fact that people have trouble estimating both the odds and the value of getting what they want. Ordinary, ancient intuition is a poor guide for making decisions in a complex modern world, and the way to make better decisions is simply to set it aside and use cold, hard reason instead.”
In his keynote address, Derick Prelle, Managing Partner at KKR Capstone Americas, discussed how executives must enable the art of retail through scientific testing. He explained, “Everyone can fall in love with the ‘art’ of retail—the emotion of a brand, being the first to spot a new trend, the power of an innovative marketing campaign. However, our experience suggests that the best executive teams pair the excitement of the art with the discipline of science. One key component of that science is a disciplined approach to testing. Once management teams have this best practice, we actively encourage them to ‘test, test, test’ - sure you’ll fail now and then – but you are also bound to increase the pace of innovation.”
Todd Vogensen, Chief Financial Officer of Chico’s FAS, concluded the keynote sessions on Tuesday by discussing which innovations executives typically support the most, and how analytics teams can assist CFOs in providing the best solution for complex business situations.
In the session, Vogensen said, “CFOs often have set criteria for supporting a proposed initiative, such as alignment with strategic priorities, the potential for meaningful results that move the needle, and the feasibility of expansion across the network if successful. If the proposed idea meets these requirements, we test it. Last year, we tested over 100 programs at Chico’s FAS. For each test, we dove deeply into the results to gain a holistic read of success.”
In addition to the keynote addresses, attendees participated in more than 60 interactive breakout sessions, as well as numerous networking events. The breakout sessions covered such topics as:
- Creating a Culture of Innovation—Outlined specific characteristics of an innovative company culture and recommended actionable steps to affect change in your organization to make innovation more than just a buzzword.
- Let’s Get Personal: Tailoring One to One Marketing—Covered how leading organizations across industries are leveraging APT’s software to push the envelope on personalized offers.
- Cutting-Edge Merchandising Using APT Solutions—Discussed how retailers are using APT’s software to optimize their assortments and the in-store experience.
APT, a Mastercard company, is a leading cloud-based analytics software company that enables organizations to rapidly and precisely measure cause-and-effect relationships between business initiatives and outcomes to generate economic value. Our intuitive and proprietary Test & Learn® software utilizes sophisticated algorithms to analyze large amounts of data, enabling business leaders to conduct experiments and allowing them to make optimal decisions and implement business initiatives at scale. APT also offers products that support decision-making for specific business needs including transaction analysis, space planning, promotion design, category management and location selection. APT’s client portfolio features some of the world’s best known brands, including Walmart, Starbucks, Coca-Cola, Victoria’s Secret, American Family, Hilton Worldwide, SUBWAY, TD Bank, T-Mobile, and others. APT has offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, London, Bentonville, Taipei, Tokyo, Sydney, and Chicago. Visit www.predictivetechnologies.com to learn more.