NEWS29 April 2010

Former CIA man takes consumer insights role at Best Buy

North America People

US— Electronics retailer Best Buy has hired Bill Hoffman, a former CIA intelligence officer, as senior vice president of consumer insights.

Hoffman earned the Balkans service medal and two exceptional performance awards during his stint with the agency, after which he joined the private sector, working strategic planning and customer strategy roles for National City Corporation and Bank of America.

He is a former partner in the Gallup Organisation’s Minneapolis office and was latterly a senior expert in McKinsey’s Strategy Practice, also in Minneapolis.

At Best Buy, Hoffman will be responsible for driving “key decision making and high-level strategy” for the retailer’s customer insights unit.

Chief marketing officer Barry Judge said: “We’re excited Bill is bringing his extensive experience in strategic intelligence gathering and planning to Best Buy. He will be a valuable, seasoned addition to our leadership team and the new consumer insights capability.”

Best Buy’s finance vp Marc Gordon spoke about the importance the company attaches to consumer insight in a CMO Council report published late last year called Collaborate to Innovate.

He said: “The better we understand consumers’ needs, the better we can predict demand, the better we can give our vendor partners or business partners insights as to where consumer behaviour is going. We as the retailer have the face-to-face experience with the customer that allows us to gather the insights as to what features, which elements of the products sell well with the customer.”