There’s power in customer data when it’s properly used. Black Diamond Equipment, a manufacturer of climbing, hiking and backcountry skiing equipment and apparel, has had dramatic results from tools that use customer behavior to acquire new customers and re-engage old ones.

These results have helped Black Diamond increase its ecommerce sales 30% year over year, says Jan-Willem Driessen, vice president of marketing and direct-to-consumer sales, who declined to disclose annual online sales. And it’s given the company—which mainly sells its gear through such retailers as REI and Dick’s Sporting Goods—the confidence to step up its investments in selling directly to consumers, Driessen says. Dick’s is No. 58 in the 2019 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000 and REI is No. 96.

Customers don’t see Black Diamond as a brand, but as an enabler of their passion.

Driessen says technology from Lexer, an Australia-based customer data platform provider whose North American clients include such brands as Mountain Khakis and Nine West, has played a big role in the growth. Driessen was familiar with Lexer from a previous job and turned to the vendor soon after he joined Black Diamond in the summer of 2018. Black Diamond, part of Clarus Corp., which owns several outdoor-focused brands, tasked Driessen with building the company’s direct business.

With Lexer’s help, Black Diamond combined customer data that had been stored separately to more accurately segment customers. For example, previously, Black Diamond had one set of data that showed a summary of what a customer had bought, but there was no detail about the kind of product purchased, such as whether it was a premium item or its size or color. And that data was separate from a database that showed which customers were responding to what types of email and over what time period.

Lexer enriched the customer history data with more detail about the kinds of products shoppers were buying in order to group customers more accurately. It also added its tag to the website so that it could collect data about the browsing behavior of signed-in customers, including what they looked at and how they arrived at its site. That now allows Black Diamond, for example, to identify customers who previously purchased climbing equipment and now were browsing skiing gear on

All that information is automatically fed into the customer’s profile and tied into the database that recorded how customers responded to marketing emails. That’s enabled Black Diamond to conduct more personalized marketing campaigns aimed at previous customers, as well as to understand better the kinds of consumers who have never shopped Black Diamond but exhibit behavior similar to Black Diamond’s best customers.

A Facebook contest attracts new customers

Like many companies, the top 20% of Black Diamond customers account for a big share of the company’s direct revenue, says David Chinn, Lexer’s president and chief marketing officer, which provides an opportunity for growth by reaching similar outdoor enthusiasts. That led to the creation of a campaign through Facebook Inc. that targeted consumers with similar profiles to Black Diamond’s high-value climbing customers, encouraging them to enter a contest with their email address to win Black Diamond climbing gear.

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