Whether in stores, online or through any number of other marketing channels, consumers have countless options from which to choose when it comes to such products as cosmetics, perfumes and skincare creams.
“Beauty products are always popular,” says Jack Potts, president of the consumer products division at Valcent Products, which recently created a DRTV campaign for its Nova Skin Care System. “Some of our research indicates about 50% of women are always looking to try a new or different type of product.”
This means marketers need to go above and beyond the efforts of their competitors in order to have their message seen and heard. “We need to understand more about these consumers, target them better, and tell them better stories,” says Kevin Kells, national industry director of consumer packaged goods for Google, who worked on a recent campaign for Dove. “It’s not just about the most efficient buy.”
When marketing beauty products, some choose to take advantage of emerging technology while others stick to tried-and-true methodology. For higher-end as well as high-tech products, says Potts, long-form commercials can be very effective because they offer ample time to discuss the product’s benefits. “When you’re marketing upscale brands you have to make sure the perceived value is there for the customer,” he says. “And when you have a complex and technologically advanced product like ours, you need to be able to explain the product fully.”
Some marketers argue that traditional online advertising can sometimes be ineffective in this category. “I think the marketplace is somewhat conditioned to ignore banner ads,” says Hyder Rabbani, VP of sales and business development at online marketing viral platform Brickfish, which recently worked on a Clinique campaign that utilized numerous social media sites and personal blogs. “Banner ads are great for certain objectives, but we generally find the level of effectiveness is much higher when we use other forms of communication.”
Viral marketing that is measurable, he adds, is fast becoming a force in this sector. “The benefit is we know exactly where our content is being shared, and we know exactly who is doing what,” he says.
Others argue that traditional marketing methods are still pertinent. “There’s this belief that online advertisements need to be transactional,” Kells says. “But online ads can be good for brand building as well as driving offline sales if you’re clear with your goal.”
Dove Ultimate Clear deodorant recently worked with the Google Advertising Network to display flash banners, text ads and click-to-play videos on highly targeted sites. “In the online world, having search and display working together in concert is a very powerful notion,” Kells says. “Instead of just placing stuff out there and hoping it gets to the right people, you need to pick the right sites so it’s relevant to the end user.”
The good news for marketers is that the beauty category is here to stay. “Beauty products will always be out there because we always want to look the best we can,” explains Potts. But regardless of the marketing medium, a clear message is vital. “If you do the right thing with the right people, at the right place, at the right time, and for the right price, you’re going to move your business forward,” says Kells.
Valcent Products: DRTV campaign
In May 2007, consumer product developer Valcent began running daily 28-minute infomercials on both local and national cable networks for its Nova Skin Care System line of cleansers, scrubs and moisturizers. A 1-800 number and Web site was displayed throughout. Valcent also sent out direct mail to potential and current purchasers to update them on extensions of the line. After adding stronger testimonials and calls to action, fourth quarter sales doubled those in the previous quarter.
Dove: Online campaign
During the first quarter of last year, Dove Ultimate Clear deodorant launched an online campaign using Google’s Ad Network. Flash banner and text ads as well as click-to-play video were placed on 271 targeted sites and 121 channels in the network. The product experienced a 25% lift in sales as well as increased engagement with the brand.
Clinique: Viral platform
When Clinique wanted to extend brand awareness for its perfume Clinique Happy, it launched the Clinique Happy Moments campaign on Brickfish’s viral online marketing platform. Users voted for their favorite “happy moment” and used Brickfish’s online tools to share entries with others on social media and other sites. The contest launched in mid-December and, by its end in late January, there had been more than 1 million interactions with the site.