The New Face of Beauty1 Apr, 2009 By: Jacqueline Renfrow Response
Blogs, social communities, widgets, videos — online channels are creating places for customers to talk about beauty and personal care products and allowing direct response marketers to lead the conversation.
Eco-beauty products have not taken a back seat in the recession. According a report released in December by NPD, two of three beauty product users say they are interested in some form of eco-beauty product: natural, organic, green, socially conscious. And 64 percent of women who use beauty products have used all-natural ones.
"Natural and organic products will continue to be big sellers in 2009," says Erin Reilly, marketing manager for Beauty Encounter. "People are becoming more conscious about what they are putting in, and on, their bodies."
Pureology Serious Color Care, a division of L'Oréal, launched in 2001 as a line of 100-percent vegan, cruelty-free hair products designed to maximize color retention. Today, the New York-based company is still committed to organic botanicals, recyclable packaging when possible, and minimized environmental impact. It markets to professionals and consumers via samples, professional advertising, online calls-to-action and newsletters.
While studies show that all-natural and environmentally friendly products sell, those qualities are not important if you can't get the information to the customer. For the brand, that means marketing predominantly in magazines and online. "Pureology is a luxury brand and we will continue to reach our core customers how and where they prefer," says Rachel Weiss, senior director of interactive marketing.
Recently, the brand's online presence has grown, as has its need for direct response marketing using digital platforms. "We have fit DR into our plan by implementing consumer and professional E-mail newsletters, the launch of the Pureology Desktop Widget, Facebook page and Pureology Connect within pureology.com," says Weiss.
On March 1, the brand re-launched its image, and the marketing team is making sure that all professional and consumer sites communicate consistent messaging and values. "As the new sites launch, we will be allocating our resources on public relations, paid search terms, E-mail newsletter marketing and Web 2.0 initiatives such as our Facebook page and Pureology desktop widget," says Weiss.
In October, the widget was launched to offer an alternative to E-mail newsletter marketing and to provide a channel for sampling promotions, beauty tips and to read about Pureology initiatives. News broadcasted includes promotions, polls and product giveaways. The initial widget was to target consumer brand enthusiasts, but now its being used by salon professionals too.
Pureology's marketing department also has launched Connect on the company's Web site. "The Pureology Connect feature enables our customers to virtually take the brand with them where they spend time online, including their E-mail account, Facebook profile, or as a desktop Widget," Weiss contends.
Another company that is committed to all-natural products is Yves Rocher. From its beginnings in France, the company made products using ingredients found in plants (they hold more than 50 plant patents). Wayne Moffatt, Yves Rocher's director of direct marketing and responsible for all direct mail in North America, believes this dedication is one of the reasons why women try and stay with the brand.
"We have always promoted our natural plant-based story in most of our promotions to ensure that women are well aware," he says. The company is also committed to cruelty-free products and the environment.
Targeting the Message (and the Freebies!)
For many beauty retailers, products are only sold in department stores, online, through a catalogue or — in the case of Avon — through a beauty representative. While several companies have had great success in the E-commerce arena for quite sometime, there is the added challenge for these retailers to demonstrate to customers how to use products and to gain the trust of consumers without a physical storefront. Online, however, companies have the advantage of being able to create and easily disseminate targeted messages.
"Beauty goods are very personal and should be targeted to the right audience," says Reilly of Beauty Encounter. "Knowing your customers and the demographics of potential customers — your targeting is the key to success."
Once customers are targeted, marketers need to create the right offer to drive ROI. "Also it's important to give them a compelling reason to shop with you — be it price, low shipping costs, free samples, etc. There are many beauty retailers, so find what makes you different and make sure your customers know it," Reilly adds.
During its 50 years in business, Yves Rocher has been conscious of changing with the times. The company started selling cosmetics through direct marketing in 1959 and still relies on DR practices to recruit and retain customers. Today, the company uses DR to sell on the Internet, by mail and in brick-and-mortar stores in 88 countries (1,400 storefronts in France and several just opening up in the United States).
Its products are sold in more than 90 countries and the company caters to more than 30 million customers. One of the important elements to marketing its products is giving out free gift samples with every purchase and demonstrations of how to use the products by aestheticians in select Yves Rocher stores.