Here’s a tip for brand marketers – my heart races every single day before noon and then again around 9 PM. Unbelievably, it’s not caused by stress at work or my decompressing thereafter. Rather it’s the anticipation of my pending brand engagement – receiving a series of finely tuned email alerts that update me (as an “insider” of course) on the day’s latest, curated flash sales for the world’s most coveted beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands.
My daily fix is Gilt Groupe – a one-stop shopping experience that speaks to me (figuratively that is), helping to create ongoing brand engagement with them multiple times a day (who could miss “Today’s Top Picks” as well as the full spectrum of lifestyle brands they feature). I’m one of those brand advocates that shares the love with friends and family (for a $25 incentive of course) so they too can be inspired by Gilt’s consumer marketing prowess, not to mention the amazing limited-time sales on prestige products like Yves Saint Laurent handbags, Delman shoes and Dr. Hauschka skincare.
The Art and Science of Fashion & Beauty Marketing
But what intrigues me most is that Gilt understands it has to be more than a pretty face. Engaging customers like me means going beyond having a beautiful website. It means understanding us. Knowing us. Catering to us on a very human and personal level.
Lessons can certainly be learned from other sophisticated ecommerce sites, including Amazon and Nordstrom, where there is a clear focus on understanding their customers and reflecting this in how they serve up content to address their every want and need. Content is king. Every action is analyzed to determine what sells best and what customers are looking for. What’s hot, and what’s not. How to proactively address customer wants before they (or I for that matter) even know.
Everything ties back to creating customer value (and ROI of course), and only rich customer data can provide that insight. According to WWD, many fashion and beauty brands like Kate Spade, Burberry and Sephora excel in their space because of the attention paid to the science (customer data and analysis) as well as the art (creative and brand marketing). In fact, it has been said that “data scientists” are going to replace social media managers as the hottest jobs among multi-channel retail, luxury and beauty companies alike.
The fine balance of science and creativity shines through at Gilt
I enjoy the multi-faceted user experience – from Pinterest (who can resist the “Accessories to Die For” and “Shoe Porn”) to my “Gilt on the Go” mobile app (and everything in between). They deploy great content coupled with proven consumer marketing techniques that create further brand engagement (glad they brought back February Freefall sales).
Yet in today’s time starved and frenetic world, surrounded by stimulus hitting us at every turn, marketing to consumers to capture their attention (and loyalty) is increasingly difficult. Targeting every aspect of the shopping experience based on unique, personal preferences is not an easy task, but probably a required one moving forward.
Today, many fashion and beauty marketers analyze every customer action across every channel (on and offline), identifying key triggers that can increase sales. From customized emails highlighting the latest beauty products or Spring shoes (they know what I shop for), to using data to behaviorally target me on other sites with reminders of the products I just viewed on their sites (but never closed the deal), to tying my actions on social channels to website activity to see what helps me pull the trigger. Again, science (with a healthy dose of creativity) may win when it comes to winning the hearts and minds of customers, moving them from brand engagement to true brand activation.