Beauty & Personal Care market - An Industry-Wide Makeover9 Apr, 2010 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response
Social media and mobile give direct response a new face in the beauty and personal care market.
Mobile Hits Younger Beauty Consumers
Velti is an eight-year-old mobile marketing firm based in Athens, Ga., which serves 500 marketers in 35 countries. While Velti works with multiple brands, perhaps it is best known for its work with Paris Hilton’s line of hair-styling products, HairTech. Last year, Velti and HairTech were brought together when Hilton’s line was looking for a creative way to market to the younger, female-oriented customers that bought from and followed the worldwide celebrity.
When the two companies first launched the campaign in November 2009, the plan was to include three mobile elements. The first element was the inclusion of a short code on the product packaging directing consumers to join a social community. The idea was to get customers to learn more about the products and engage more directly with Hilton.
The second element was to build a mobile club with loyal customers who could opt in for new product announcements, coupons and to enter sweepstakes. The third piece of the program was to build mobile commerce capabilities through the mobile site. Since the demographic the HairTech team is seeking uses mobile so much, these three objectives answered its needs perfectly.
“No other marketing method can reach that 95 percent of 16-year-olds and older are walking around at all times with a phone in their pocket,” says Brian Cowley, general manager of Velti North America. “As a marketing vehicle, the medium is so important, you have to deploy it now in some way.”
One of the hurdles though for Velti and other mobile marketers is the education process required to get marketers to want to use the channel. Marketers used to push the adoption of 800 numbers and Web sites, but short codes are now becoming the norm on TV, print and other channels. In fact, mobile is being adopted more rapidly than the adoption of the Web when it first came into popularity.
What about the fear of creating mobile spam? “You have to give the consumers a choice. If guidelines are followed and people opt in, you’re actually giving consumers more choice,” says Cowley. He sees mobile as a powerful DR tool, which can collect personal data and then expand the lifetime value of a customer. It’s also a tool to communicate with the customer, as is evident in the success of HairTech’s campaign.
Cowley also prefers how easy it is to drive from any other media channel to mobile. “I can have one short code and one platform across all mediums — from print, to radio, etc.,” says Cowley. “You can quickly change the messaging that gets sent back to the consumer or tie it into another mobile site or product extension. It’s an inexpensive, ongoing, changing communication.”
Darryl Cohen is the president of HairTech, based in Beverly Hills, Calif. “The kinds of products we’re selling are targeted at younger women, ages 12 to 40, and for them, mobile is a big medium,” says Cohen. Making the jump to mobile was easy for HairTech because it already has the strength of celebrity endorsements behind its products, with big names such as Paris Hilton and Daisy Fuentes.
Though HairTech is doing 30- and 60-second TV commercials with a soft DR offer, it’s not looking to sell products through television. The idea is to use television for brand awareness and then drive to digital media such as smartphones, where consumers will actually be able to buy the product.
Though in the early stages, the use of short codes has roused interest among consumers and some have signed up to receive beauty tips. “Those using mobile haven’t really connected yet. If you see something on television, you have to do a search online to find out more about the product. I think mobile is the bridge,” says Cohen.
If Cohen had his way, he’d push all marketers to go directly to mobile and not even bother with desktop marketing. “The potential is enormous, and everyone opens a text message when they get it,” he adds.
Today’s Economy and Tomorrow’s Campaigns
Although the economic recession of 2009 hit most verticals, it seems that beauty and personal care products are still a must for consumers — unsurprising since vanity has always been a major driver for consumers who purchase from DR marketing messages.
The economy has done nothing but great things for Smart for Life. In fact, the company has continued to double its business year-over-year. Kayne thinks it’s a combination of the strength of the products (which will soon be all-organic), the price and the obesity epidemic. “As we weave our way through the economic downturn, maybe we could be bigger. But everyone has to eat,” he adds.
Similarly, all of Murad’s channels have experienced double-digit growth, even in 2009. While the company has not slashed prices, Grange says it’s about value, not cutting prices. “If there’s something in it for the consumer, they’re willing to give it some of their wallet share,” she says. And she believes the quality of the ingredients used in Murad products is a major factor — one the company plays up in its marketing. Murad addressed the economy head on in its messaging and will continue to do so through 2010.
The Murad team contends 2010 will be a year for expanding online strategy and a focus on online video. The Web not only converts higher but also plays to customers’ desires to do more research. Each television campaign will have a Web site built out for it.
Grange says it’s easier to keep a customer rather than acquire one, particularly in a tough economy, so Murad refined its retention program last year. However, in 2010, the focus once again will be on acquisition, including television, online and print.
The future for Estée Lauder is in online sites that customers can shop on and participate in by invitation only (think of current hit “exclusive” shopping sites like Rue La La and Gilt). The team believes this plan allows Estée Lauder to create exclusive offers for limited time, which increases product demand. n