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September 29th, 2019

Pearle Vision: 2019 Genius Awards Finalist (Data Analytics Storytelling)

This is the ninth of 11 posts Neustar will be running to highlight the achievements of the 2019 ANA Genius Awards finalists. Winners will be announced during ANA Masters of Marketing Week, Oct 2-5.



In a category dominated by big brands screaming about discounts, Pearle Vision needed to show that it was still true to its roots as an independent vision care provider.

The Challenge:

As it turns out, people don’t want discount eyecare from large corporate chains – and they don’t trust it either. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer to get their eyecare from small independent doctors. In some ways, this made Pearle Vision a victim of its own success, having started as a single independent practice founded by optometrist Dr. Stanley Pearle in 1961, and now with 400 locally owned and operated practices.

Pearle Vision needed to move away from marketing efforts that highlighted inexpensive -- over quality -- eyecare, which was no small feat given that 70% of their marketing budget was focused on discounts. They needed to highlight the fact that their eyecare was as good as any independent provider, but how?

The Process:

First, Pearle Vision spent time listening to their customers. What they found was that brand names, pricing, and discounts were basically irrelevant when it comes to choosing a vision provider. Instead, customers cared about people – and they cared about trust.

Trust can’t be built inorganically – it accumulates through small moments over time. Examples of trust-building moments might include giving a lollipop to an anxious child, asking someone about their day, or remembering a personal detail. 

To understand how to build and highlight these moments, Pearle Vision build a custom measurement system that was specifically designed to incorporate customer feedback. Their core marketing team also went out and visited their frontline associates, observing store operations and making note of what worked and what didn’t.

The Results:

Pearle Vision completely removed BOGO deals and pivoted their marketing strategy, rejoining the ranks of premium neighborhood eyecare providers. Along they way, they experienced astonishing growth:

  • Sales were up 10.6% in 2018, 200% above goal

  • Eye exam bookings increased 11%, and online exams are up 28%

  • Customer trust in Pearle Vision increased 42%

In other words, Pearle Vision was able to separate itself from its prior image as an impersonal big-name eyecare chain. By giving up discounts and buy-one-get-one deals, they were able to increase sales and market share – as well as increasing the quality of care that their customers received.

Final Thoughts: 

Data analytics is powerful, but it’s at its best when it’s supplemented by direct observation. The Pearle Vision marketing team knocked both observation and analytics out of the park, resulting in a win-win for both their company and their consumers.

Previous: LongHorn Steakhouse I Next: Pittsburgh Cultural Trust

For more about all the 2019 Genius Awards Finalists, click here.

To learn how Neustar helps enterprise marketers like you build real, actionable insights that help you truly understand the impact of your marketing investment, click here.

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