Q&A: Traci Gentry, VP of marketing, Bic USA

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Traci Gentry
Traci Gentry

Traci Gentry, VP of marketing at Bic USA, says how her company mines its social media pages for inspiration. 

Q: Many of Bic USA's social media channels appear directed toward younger consumers. Is that demographic more responsive than other consumer groups?

A: It's not just younger consumers. For example, Bic Market, which targets crafty moms, is very much a lifestyle-centric Facebook presence. We get a wide range of female consumers who share a lifestyle that
entails doing crafts themselves or with their families, and we curate content that feeds that lifestyle. We do photo contests and provide craft ideas; we have crafting experts and scrapbooking experts; and we have videos, coupons and a scrapbooking app, all to keep visitors coming back over the long term.

Q: How do you manage targeting different brands to different consumer segments?

A: I think some of our 
segments overlap nicely. 
A great example of that is 
a House Party campaign 
we did for the Soleil brand.
Our Soleil consumers are 
between ages 18 to 34, but one of the activities in the House Party kit, a scrapbooking activity, involved our Bic Market brand. 

Q: Social media provides a platform for sharing and listening to consumers. How valuable is that for a company that doesn't sell directly to them?

A: We learn a lot from our customers, and our Facebook pages really help us 
to do that. On our Bic Flickers page [for the company's Pocket Lighters brand], we learn what our customers like from a wrap standpoint. We do a lot of artistic and graphic wraps on our lighters. We learn so much from our consumers by posting some of the wraps on the Facebook page. We also learn from our Bic Market consumers what kind of crafts they're doing before we would see them in the marketplace.

Q: With Bic lighters, you 
introduced the My Birthday 
by Bic mobile app earlier this year, which allows consumers 
to blow out a lighter and share the photo after being serenaded with "Happy Birthday." 
What's the value there?

A: One of the great things about an app like the Birthday app is you can share it with friends who aren't necessarily lighter users or smokers. It really broadens the social arena for Bic Pocket Lighter consumers. Our goal for social media is brand advocacy, so when a consumer shares the Birthday app with a friend, they become an advocate. 

Q: Does Bic examine the social media conversations about its brands to inform other marketing channels, such as identifying keywords for paid search campaigns?

A: Yes, we mine that data regularly. We do have a very solid understanding of what works in talking to our consumers, but we're always learning more.

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