The following is a guest post from Brad Fay, chief commercial officer of Engagement Labs.
Cosmetic lovers have a firmly fixed idea of what their "holy grail" products are. Items such as primer, a makeup sponge or concealer are so essential to their personal beauty routines that they can't live without them. Just like their customers, beauty brand marketers also have a "holy grail:" a marketing mix modeling strategy that drives consumer conversations both offline (face-to-face) and online (social media).
Whether conversations are taking place offline or online, what consumers say about your brand is at the core of its identity. For example, cosmetics brand Maybelline offers an instructive case study about how to optimize marketing to encourage consumer talk. Although the brand's primary marketing focus is digital, offline conversations surrounding the brand have soared over the last six months, according to recent data from Engagement Labs.
Why consumer conversations are important
Social influence plays a significant role in driving sales. In fact, a recent survey found that consumer conversations impact 19% of sales — or between $7 billion and $10 billion in revenue. Offline or face-to-face discussions are responsible for a little more than half of this impact, while social media accounts for slightly less. Research also shows that the conversations consumers have offline are very different from those they have online. So, when a brand's marketing strategy fails to engage one sphere of conversation, it misses a huge opportunity to increase sales.
Maybelline may focus on social media, but it's doing so in a way that motivates consumers to talk about the brand offline too. Its integrated marketing strategy is increasing brand sharing, which is the extent to which people are sharing or talking about a brand's marketing or advertising, influencer interest and conversation volume offline as well as online.
What marketing lessons can other brands learn from Maybelline? Let's dive in and see what the data tells us.
Lesson No. 1: Give consumers something to talk about
Maybelline's social strategy focuses on visual content creation. Images are designed both to encourage followers to share with their social networks and talk about the brand offline. This strategy is highly effective, as the data shows.
Since June 2017, Maybelline's offline brand sharing has trended upward, reaching its highest point in February. This represents a 75% jump for the six-month period ending in January, compared to the prior six-month period. That's impressive, considering that online brand sharing increased 8% during the same period. Maybelline's visual content is so compelling that consumers aren't only sharing online, they're talking about it more frequently with friends and family in face-to-face conversations.
Lesson No. 2: Leverage an integrated marketing strategy
Celebrity partnerships are another pillar of Maybelline's strategy, designed to engage consumers both offline and online. The key to the brand's success in driving conversations is its adept use of integrated marketing.
For example, Maybelline's collaboration with supermodel Gigi Hadid continues to generate news in fashion media. In addition to being featured in the brand's advertising campaign, Hadid partnered with Maybelline on a makeup collection. The buzzworthy model also devoted her personal Instagram — with 40 million followers — to the new collection bearing her name.
These talkworthy activities created an enviable impact. References to Maybelline's marketing in offline conversations rose 16% in the six months ending in January, compared to the prior six-month period. Hadid's appearance at the 2018 Met Gala, at which she debuted Maybelline's Soda Pop Eye Shadow Palette, likely will elevate these numbers further.
Lesson No. 3: Harness the power of everyday influencers
Maybelline also understands that celebrities aren't the only ones catching the consumer's eye. In August, the makeup brand announced its first collaboration with a paid influencer by partnering with beauty vlogger, Shayla Mitchell.
The brand also actively engages everyday influencers — those friends, family and peers who have large social networks and enjoy sharing their opinions. It ships free product samples to consumers and invites them to share their experiences by posting reviews and product-related content on social platforms.
This strategy is proving to be effective. In offline conversations about Maybelline, references to product samples rose to 10.3% in the six months ending January 2018 from 4.6% during the previous six-month period. This approach also created a spike in offline brand sharing, signaling that free samples resonated with consumers in offline conversations.
Maybelline's marketing strategy is more than a dash of lipstick. The brand has built on a solid understanding of what motivates its customers to talk. Most importantly, it optimizes every marketing touchpoint to activate consumer conversations both offline and online.