Monday, July 3, 2017

Things learnt (and what not to do... or say) from experience in the skincare and beauty industry

Guy says to his girlfriend who has Eczema... "You've got a cracking body!"

Things learnt (and what not to do... or say) from fourteen months spent marketing B2C and B2B in the local Australian and emerging international skincare and beauty industry.

After managing a local Perth marketing agency it has been nice to work in-house this past year or so in an Australian skincare brand, applying real-world best practice marketing strategy in a fully integrated approach across traditional offline and current online channels.

Branding - brand consistency. The brand is what your consumers say about your business! So go and actually ask and listen to them. Determine your ideal consumer persona profile so you can match the marketing delivery to suit their interests and go to where they hang out so you can engage where it is appropriate and they are ready or wanting to make a purchase decision.

Rebranding is a big decision and don't take it lightly. Learning is an ongoing exercise in refinement and if you measure you can make informed decisions rather than purely emotional or personal preferences that don't align with your ideal client persona. A shorter product and company name makes many things easier!

Compliance is a complex area and important for all members of the sales and marketing team to be on the same page. Creating a set of rules of engagement for the brand which covers local and international regulations for advertising and data management is similar to having a style guide for the business to be consistent and compliant.

So what pay-per-click (PPC) channels did I use?

Google AdWords with remarketing, Facebook Ads, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn Ads. All with highly structured targeting to narrow in to the desired intended audience. Providing reinforcement to other campaign activities and as social supported sales actions.

What were my principle marketing channels and what was my preferred provider tools?

EDMs - eMarketing using MailChimp. MC is so powerful and versatile with quality template management, list building tools (built our B2C list up to 100K active subscribers this year), connects into ecommerce platforms such as BigCommerce, has detailed campaign tracking with ecommerce reports so you can make informed decisions about ROI and the automation tools are very powerful.

FAX - old school but still effective for B2B and the Ozmedia online platform is convenient, cost effective and has some great prospecting lists to increase reach in with this medium particularly for PR.

POSTAL - Direct Marketing to CRM segments with personalisation and strong brand design created awareness and part of the multi-touch point approach to connecting with warm leads and a prospecting CRM database for B2B that I built with over 10K+ leads that was central to the marketing activities.

Did I just do Facebook for my social strategy? No! Though I built a strong, loyal and highly engaged following of 28K+ followers on Facebook who enjoyed sharing their stories and creating genuine positive sentiment towards the brand, and Facebook was certainly the best performer when it comes to ROI in advertising, I still created substantial cross pollination and brand reinforcement across many popular social media channels including; Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+ (yes it's still active), Flickr, Tumblr, Ello, Snap, YouTube and Vimeo. This substantially assisted building inbound links to the website for SEO and for search engines to learn about the positive sentiment around the brand. Social assisted sales improve through a commitment to content and engagement within these channels. Preparing a comprehensive library of canned responses to FAQs improves reply response time and ensures consistency to the brand message and style.

Other exciting and highly effective strategies included identifying key influencers across social media channels and collaborating with these as part of content marketing and building inbound links, building a substantial network of bloggers working on creating brand awareness and product testimonials. Positive product reviews are the backbone of generating trust signals for converting new consumers and useful for CRO (Conversion Rate Optimisation) when placed at pivotal points of the sales funnel.

Another CRO tool I implemented quickly was an exit pop within the shopping cart in an attempt to capture consumers abandoning the shopping cart part way through to save the sale which worked very well and was also supported by email automation with follow-ups an hour after leaving the shopping cart and next day with suitable incentives.

Adding an Affiliate Marketing solution integrated with the BigCommerce shopping cart tied into the Key Influencers is a more recent addition to the marketing strategy deployed. It can exponentially grow brand visibility and sales. LeadDymo was my tool of choice and a very powerful affiliate platform to connect, manage, provide a resource library, measure and pay the affiliates.

The tools I used almost daily included; Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premier, After Effects, Acrobat, Google Analytics, AdWords, Hootsuite, and each social media channel app on phone, tablet and desktop, BigCommerce, MailChimp, WordPress and a few others.

It has been a very beneficial experience working hands-on in this industry with B2B and B2C marketing challenges, particularly the opportunity to explore marketing in the Asian pacific region and with China's Tmall, JD and Alibaba shopping channels and WeChat social media, and even the influential Chinese Daigou buyer network.

Anti competitor behaviour, negative SEO attacks, including negative review posting by competitors and other aggressive competitor behaviour is apparent in this industry and requires companies to be vigilant and constantly monitoring their brand mentions and have strategies prepared to deploy rapidly to counter common sniping attacks.

Training and educating the staff on social media, social networking to build contacts and selling to engage in the sales cycle helps to amplify the company's social posting and increase reach. LinkedIn is a powerful B2B channel that many businesses fail to identify and leverage.

Well I hope you found something useful as I did, from this look back across my recent experience. I'm now back into an agency role this Monday with Toby Creative as the Head of Marketing, and I look forward to providing insight, strategy and technical support potentially for your business should you wish to engage.

Find me on LinkedIn to learn more about my 20+ years experience in marketing: