One of the sessions I attended at WOMMA last November was a case study overview of Sephora social media involvement.
Word of mouth works best when you provide a great experience. Period.
How do you do that? We all want to be heard and understood.
When you're a product company that sells in a highly competitive market like the beauty industry, you focus on impeccable service.
Why go to a Sephora store if you don't intend to buy a Sephora product?
Because they are nice in addition to being professional and knowledgeable. Sephora is the Apple store of the beauty industry. I'm saying that after just one experience at the store in the King of Prussia mall.
Here are some details on Sephora's digital execution from a recent conference.
Integrating owned with paid and earned media
They do that.
In the session I attended last fall, I was blown away by the sheer enthusiasm Candace Sims, Social Media Marketing Manager, Sephora was able to convey in the room when she talked about the tremendous success they have gathering online fans and getting ratings and reviews for products.
Sephora created the BeautyTalk community to connect with its Super Fans and to help Sephora fans connect with each other.
As Artemis Berry wrote at Shop.org, Sephora is loving all things Pinterest, is mad about mobile, and has targeted social media strategies for YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. The company:
- knows that it always comes down to user experience
- finds success when it marries customer service and social media (and make the staffing commitment)
- embraces mobile to bring the in-store experience right to your customers hands
The store experience remains a critical part of the customer relationship. As a first time walk-in at one of their busiest stores in my area I can attest that the teams on the floor are as engaged as they'd like their customers to be with them, if not more.
Integrating human connection
Three different staff volunteered they love their job as they were inquiring on the best way to help me. As Sephora’s site redesign, social strategies, and mobile programs didn’t come to life overnight, the company culture also took years of planning -- and doing.
Anyone who knows me knows when it comes to marketing products at me I'm made of Teflon. Nothing goes through. I know what I want, and I hardly ever go anywhere just to browse. I shop like a man more than one friend told me.
I was in full learning mode with the make-up consultant at Sephora. And the best part, she was listening intently and asking some very good questions throughout.
When I got home I responded to the company's online survey providing very specific feedback about my experience. Do you do that? Do you take the time to provide positive feedback? We tend to see and react when things don't go so well.
My theory is that if we focus more on reinforcing what organizations do well, we learn to see better (because we notice more what we may take for granted), and we give positive reinforcement.
Two pigeons with a fava bean (this is the Italian equivalent of the two birds with a stone -- we catch, you see, not kill).
The survey also provided a nice post-sale proof that the organization shares selling values* and achieves a nice balance of marketing and sales-driven culture -- messaging based on self-image and perception and trust matters so it personalizes based on taste -- with a dash of creating the environment where you experience the role of the product in context -- PR's nature.
How do you handle your buyer's content needs in the post-purchase phase?
Have you tried Givenchy eye shadows? I'll let you know how they do. When it comes to make-up, I'm quite picky. It's where the "with Italian style" comes right out.
Of course, it's not (as much) about what you put on -- your eyes or your site -- it's about who you find when you get there. Integrating human connections is key to building relationships of trust. You can take those all the way to the cash register.
[The sugar was for a special occasion. More on that later.]
[*more on this and how we make decisions in this morning's July issue of the Premium Newsletter]
Valeria is an experienced listener. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. To book her for a speaking engagement click here.
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