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  • 1. MARKETING mattersbyalisamariebeyerG2G Marketing is Winning Her OverGirlfriend-to-Girlfriend (G2G) communications have proven to be a strong motivator for women to try a new brand, dump theirold brand and recommend (or not recommend) a brand to a friend. Its also proven to help move products faster and build upthe bottom line of a beauty brand just as effectively as traditional marketing methods.I n the May 2006 Marketing Matters column, a beauty brand to others ranks in the topbeauty purchases, you would have been met I wrote about understanding the powerfive definitions of what it means to be brand with a great deal of skepticism. of G2G, focusing on women-to-women loyal. (See Figure 1) A womans passion for Today, findings from the 2007 Pink Report:recommendations and how theyre gaining insharing her life experiences is emerging as Beauty and the Blog report:importance for beauty marketers worldwide.a powerful force in shaping beauty productThe Benchmarking Companys research showed More than 27% of women have posted aopinions and buying habits, and the globalthat 64% of women recommended beautycomment about a beauty brand on a messageforum of the Internet is one means ofbrands to girlfriends on a regular basis, and 17% board, social networking site or blog.broadcasting their strong voices.received beauty advice from their girlfriends. 67% of women who participate in these sitesThus far, 2007 research indicates that thoseare more likely to buy a beauty product ifnumbers remain stable and reveals more aboutSister Helping SisterThe they read a good comment or review aboutthe reasons why women value G2G beautyInternet as Unbiased andit from their fellow consumers.brand recommendations and which avenues Trustworthy When they participate in a blog or join atheyre using most to get the word out.social networking site, 34% look to thoseRecommendations that women give toA decade ago, if you were to tell a beautysites for trusted advice when it comes toone another are a key component of theirbrand marketer that blogs, social networks,beauty buying.individual definitions of brand loyalty.message boards, and Internet retailing andAccording to The Benchmarking Companys beauty specialty sites were going to become 50% of women ages 1829 trust blogs,2007 Pink Report, Survival of the Prettiest:important channels for women to gather, message boards and social networking sitesFace and Body Skin Care, recommendingdiscuss and heed advice from one another on as a main source for beauty advice.Figure 1. **32 MarketingMatters GCIOctober2007

2. 54% of women feel theyve made smarter Make it PersonalG2G The G2G experience neednt be quite sobuying decisions since they startedelaborateit just needs to get women talkingvisiting blogs, message boards and social Events that Workabout the brand and feeling a part of the socialnetworking sites.In addition to using every aspect of thebeauty fabric. Many ideas that work are simple, 59% of women feel they get unbiasedInternet to help women to meet and discusssuch as incorporating a beauty club for yourinformation on consumer-oriented blogs beauty issues with others, successful beautybrand where women can continue to talk toand message boards that they cant findmarketers are also creating and promoting each other about the products and receiveanywhere else. in-person events that turn a regular retail more personalized marketing messages at the experience into a social event amongsame time. Olay is one example of a club that Video sharing Web sites are proving to be girlfriends.works for this purpose online.an important G2G medium as well. On anygiven day, YouTube or Google Video will aireveryday women in roles as beauty mavens,with videos showing their fellow females tipsand tricks for applying makeup for certainlooks or special occasions. While many ofthese online divas create these homemadevideos themselves, they are no less effective inpassing on beauty tips (and brands they love)as a means to help other women.50% of women (1829) trustblogs, message boards andsocial networking sites asmain sources for beautyadvice; 34% look to thosesites for advice when itcomes to beauty buying.Build on EmotionG2G isAlso About the CompanyWomen are just as enthusiastic about gatheringto discuss beauty products as the sociallyresponsible corporations that make them. Arecent YouTube search listed 54 individualAvon Walk for the Cure videos, wherewomen chronicled their walk adventures forothers to see. Many proud and teary momentsproclaiming we made it! at the finish linemake for lasting and positive impressions ofthat beauty brand and its cause.1-800-SURPLUS Dove has also successfully tapped into the1-800-787-7587creative, philanthropic and emotional minds ofwomen with its Campaign for Real Beauty. Thecompanys Web site includes numerous G2Gcommunications toolsincluding an open(and not company-directed) blog, a place forwomen to upload and share essays and storiesrelative to beauty and the campaign, and aVisit Us On-line: www.mckernan.complace for women to donate to the Dove Self- North America, South America, Europe, Asia & Middle East - Call 775-356-6111Esteem Fund as a way to help younger womenwith their feelings about beauty issues.www.GCImagazine.com MarketingMatters 33 3. MARKETING mattersFigure 2. ** What do you call a fragrance partner with big-company resources and small-company values?34 MarketingMatters GCIOctober2007 4. Similarly, luxury apothecaries and spas often * The Pink Report is compiled from Pink Panelhave clublike status for frequent patrons, who Girlfriend groups are a surveys. The Pink Panel is a nationwide networkare invited to events where they can meet andof women who take beauty research surveysmingle for exclusive on-site parties, sessions casual, more intimate focus online to reveal what consumers of female beautywith renowned makeup artists or intimate products want.settings for group spa services. group type of research Beauty brands that effectively use G2Gconducted in a womans** The data in this article has been taken directlycommunication tools are becoming brandfrom Beauty and the Blog, an April 2007 Pinkfavorites. Brands like Olay, Bath & Body home where questions are Report, and Survival of the Prettiest: Face andBody Skin Care, a July 2007 Pink Report, consumerWorks and Dove lead the pack as beauty asked and beauty productsresearch reports driven by results from thebrands that both lead in brand conversion(converting one-time triers to faithful buyers)are sampled among herwomen-only, permission-based Pink Panel andand as brands recommended most. Survivalother sources. and her friends.of the Prettiest: Face and Body Skin Careindicates Bath & Body Works has the highestRevisit the May 2006 Marketingrecommendation rating at 13% of womenas an important part of its clients research Matters column, Understanding the Power ofrecommending it to a friend, followed by arsenal. Girlfriend groups are a casual,G2G, online. n GCIOlay with 10%, Avon with 9% and Dove more intimate focus group type of researchwith 8%. (See Figure 2)conducted in a womans home where questions are asked and beauty products are sampledAlISA MArIE BEyEr is CEO of among her and her friends. Mimicking trueThe Benchmarking Company (TBC), a researchGet a G2G Group Perspectivefemale shopping patterns and the important and branding firm focused exclusively on role that friends and family play in beautythe beauty industry. TBCs women-only,permission-based Pink Panel provides beautyIn addition to traditional online surveying, purchasing decisions, this type of research canconsumer data for the award-winning Pinkfocus groups and other market research provide a valuable baseline of understandingReport, the quarterly research report that reveals what consumersmethods, The Benchmarking Company hasof womens beauty buying patterns, brands of female beauty products want, what theyll buy and why.increasingly embraced G2G communications they love and recommend, and why. E-mail: alisa@benchmarkingco.com, www.benchmarkingco.com You call us...Discover us at www.agilexfandf.comwww.GCImagazine.comMarketingMatters 35