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Beauty & Personal Care

Beauty & Personal Care market - An Industry-Wide Makeover

9 Apr, 2010 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response

Social media and mobile give direct response a new face in the beauty and personal care market.


Seeing Is Believing

When it comes to what makes marketing in the beauty and personal care industry unique, Kayne cites the visual presentation. “Seeing is believing, and the people we use in our spots are clients that came out of our centers and had success with our program,” he says. Like with other products in the category, consumers are focused both on vanity and health — and that can often only be expressed through visuals.

Few women are going to buy a beauty product if they can’t see how it worked for someone else, according to Will Ackerman, director of Internet marketing and operations at Borba — a cosmeceuticals and nutraceuticals company that focuses on healthy skincare from both inside and out. “Beauty is one of those things that inspires a quick fix,” he adds. “People want to be beautiful.”

Also, with so many prestigious beauty brands already established, a brand needs to create trust and awareness. Long-form commercials, online video and other platforms allow direct response marketers to showcase a product and show women using the product. At the same time it creates brand trust, direct response can produce sales. By adding a DR call-to-action to television campaigns, Borba has increased its average order size by 46 percent, along with purchases made twice as quickly.

Social Networking a Big Hit for Big Brands

Since engaging the customer beyond television is important for any beauty or personal care product campaign, most marketers are now extremely active in the online space. This includes launching easy-order options on Web sites, and it also means being active in new venues such as online social communities.

Smart for Life’s short-form spot has a call-to-action for both phone and Web, but surprisingly, in 2008, the scales tipped 75 to 25 in favor of orders placed online (now it’s closer to 50/50). “The Internet is replacing traditional media channels,” says Kayne. “The first thing most people do with a product is Google it. And with the advent of smart phones, that increases day by day.”

Borba’s Ackerman adds, “In order for social media and DR to work, you need to communicate back and forth with whomever is looking at you.” So Borba goes to great lengths to communicate with its research-savvy customers.

For example, offers a personalized skincare tool, the ability to ask the founder questions, and opportunities to receive free samples, all with the idea of communicating directly with the user. Experience taught the team that if you don’t listen to your users, you won’t have input for research and development. “It’s how we figure out what’s working and what’s not working,” Ackerman says.

And when it comes to online social networks, Ackerman warns that if a company is just looking to build a brand, they’re selling themselves short. “If you’re just posting links and showing a new product, you’re not engaging — all you’re doing is putting up a bulletin board,” he says. “It’s like a magazine ad on Facebook. It doesn’t get people as excited as asking ‘We’re developing a new product and what are your thoughts?’”

Another brand delving into success of online marketing is worldwide cosmetics leader Estée Lauder. In 2009, the company began to go beyond traditional Internet marketing and delve into online social networking. The campaign — “Your Beauty. Your Style. Your Profile.” — sprung from staff members talking about how important a good profile photo is for an online social networking site, especially if you are connecting with old friends and old significant others. “You’re seeing people you haven’t seen in 20 years sometimes, and you want to look gorgeous,” says Beth Sterns, senior vice president of global education and special events at Estée Lauder.

The campaign launched at Bloomingdales’ flagship store on 59th Street in New York in October. The idea was give customers Estée Lauder makeovers and then take digital photos for uploading onto online profiles. It was such a success, the company had to return to the store the following week to continue the makeovers and photos. The campaign is moving all across North America and stops at retailers, seeing anywhere from 20 to 40 customers a day. Though the campaign took a break in December, it was back up in January and even went international. All stops on the tour are posted online, with each stop lasting about two days.

“It’s successful, not just because of sales, but so many new customers are coming to us and hearing about us. It’s attracting a different customer, and maybe those who have had a lot of makeovers are thrilled because they walk away with more than just great products, but also a memory,” says Sterns. Bloggers of beauty Web sites have been talking about the campaign, and customers on Facebook are talking about their photos.

While being a part of the conversation on these networks can bring about negative comments, Sterns says marketers have to embrace it. “If you have a good product, more customers than not will say good things,” she adds. “Devoted fans stand up for you, and they lead the conversation. It’s scary, but we’ve gotten a lot of knowledge out of it. It makes you genuine and authentic to the customer.”


How does Estée Lauder measure the success of the social marketing campaign? A few weeks ago in Canada, after a local newspaper mentioned the upcoming event, the Estée Lauder counter at a local department store got 100 appointments in one day. Although that’s the most measurable piece of the campaign, the event has brought volumes of consumers to stores and online.

Also testing out new online media, Estée Lauder launched its first Widget campaign for Facebook, which allows a woman to post her photo and play around with the application to apply different types of the brand’s cosmetics. The platform allows customers to interact with the product in a real way. “Campaigns and discussions help, but in the end it’s about finding your own path and experiencing the brand and having these options,” says Sterns.

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