Every morning, I go to the same coffee shop in South Philadelphia and grab a coffee. And every morning, I see the same people from my neighborhood. One of the coffee shop staples is an older Italian couple, and they’re traditional South Philadelphians – very nice people, but a little tough, just like the city.

As I was pouring milk into my coffee last week, the wife turned to her husband and said, “I saw a new ad for something called Destination XL. I’m going to buy you a pair of shorts from there.”

I was floored. Destination XL, the largest specialty retailer of men’s big and tall apparel, is a client that we rave about at Monetate, because the brand is always trying new things to personalize the online experience.

But with the retailer’s latest campaign, which features larger men searching a desert for clothing that fits their frames, the brand has really taken things to the next level. To me, the fact that even this husband and wife in South Philadelphia had caught wind of the buzz was incredible. Many of the old school South Philadelphia residents I know never really leave the neighborhood, and buy their clothing at local stores. DXLPadded

This example underscores an important point. Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about the benefits of optimizing more than just the color of a button, and focusing on the entire customer relationship, rather than just one sale.

As Monetate’s VP, Product Bruce Ernst put it: Brands should focus on optimizing by trying new voices and messaging in order to uncover real learnings about their customers and build the intellectual capital that creates deep, long-term customer engagement.

That’s a scary concept for some brands. Stepping out of the comfort zone of traditional messaging can seem like a huge risk. But without risk, there is no reward. And the Destination XL campaign is a perfect example of what Bruce is talking about.

So what’s the reward? Besides the word of mouth DXL is generating in South Philadelphia, the New York Times has taken interest in the campaign. Press coverage, buzz from new prospects, and most likely great ROI? Our hats are off to Destination XL for trying something so innovative that it’s surfacing new customers, new segments, and a new understanding of the brand.

Want to find out more about how Destination XL uses data to put its customers first? Download Destination XL: A Customer-Centric Approach to Digital Marketing now to learn how the company turns website visitors into loyal brand advocates.