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Beauty Marketing Gone Social

By: Kline & Company
Posted: January 17, 2012

“Your favorite beauty products are right here on Facebook,” tout marketers of beauty brands as the global adoption of social media drives the outstanding growth in this emerging marketing method. Brands are rapidly moving ahead in the game with their social and mobile strategies to allow viral campaigns and create new consumer relations opportunities, but without dropping traditional marketing efforts, according to a new report—Beauty Marketing 2011: U.S. Promotional Activities and Strategies Assessment by consulting and research firm Kline & Company.

During the recent holiday season, marketers ramped up their viral campaigns to attract consumers who turned to social media platforms for the best deals on their beauty products. However, social media is not the only tool marketers are experimenting with to connect with consumers; couponing and price promotions are experiencing a comeback strengthened by consumer desire for special offers and free or discounted items. Yet even traditional couponing is being challenged by the growing trend of mobile marketing, where marketers are finding that mobile couponing offers significant advantages over paper-based forerunners in delivering higher redemption rates and encouraging impulse purchases.

Traditional and time-proven marketing methods, such as broadcast and print media, in-store merchandising, and the like, have been long-standing marketing tools. Yet within these established tools, marketers are both threatened by new technologies that allow potential customers to screen-out TV commercials and are constrained by inflexible publication dates and comparatively high costs. Social media's real-time adaptability and keyword-based targeting strongly complement the parallel of traditional and proven marketing efforts, and concurrently tap into a savvy, trendsetting demographic.

A study on marketing metrics from Kline finds that cutting-edge beauty marketers are experimenting with a range of social media platforms by establishing a presence on websites such as Facebook, YouTube, or localized Foursquare, where they can connect with the community and more accurately target a given demographic. The marketers are tapping into the emerging potential of “f-commerce” and “m-commerce” that blur the line between social media as pure communication tool and as an emerging sales channel. These trailblazing marketing forays, still in their infancy, invite cautious optimism but suggest great untapped promise for marketers.

“Consumers now have the ability to do extensive real time evaluations on products and prices before they purchase,” notes Donna Barson, senior associate at Kline’s consumer products practice. “The growing ubiquity of new, on-the-go technologies such as smartphones and tablets are also creating a better informed and more accessible consumer. The landscape for marketing beauty products has changed dramatically over the last several years with brands moving from traditional advertising as promotional vehicles, to also include social marketing, mobile marketing, enhanced loyalty programs, new sampling methods, and more. However, there is no cookie-cutter approach to all, and brands are experimenting with what approaches work best with their business model, their consumer base, and the image they want to project.”