I was researching my planned blog post about the best B2B product launches of 2018 when I came across something extremely interesting:
When you google “best product launches of 2018”, your search results are almost exclusively beauty products. In fact, 6 of the top 7 search results are lists dedicated solely to beauty product launches.
Why is this? What is the beauty industry doing right to be able to dominate our google listings like this?
The answer is relatively simple, just executed incredibly well.
Beauty brands, such as Glossier, are talking to the customer, rather than talking at them.
If you look at any post from a large company on Instagram there are hundreds, if not thousands, of questions directly targeted towards the business yet, with Glossier, they are answered. The account regularly replies to commenters and even encourages them to privately message them with any further issues. This level of engagement makes the experience more personal, the brand becomes less of a faceless entity and immediately more human, more relatable.
Even the replies are informal, the use of the heart emoji in the comment in the screenshot above, the aim is to make the customer feel as if they are talking to a friend. The service should feel personal, connected to them and their values.
They are going to where the customer is, rather than spreading themselves too thin.
Beauty brands understand where their audience is, with the primary channel being Instagram. These brands know this so channel almost all of their social media output from this platform. They make use of promoted posts and the Instagram story feature to not only reach new audiences members, but retain the ones they already have. Less of an emphasis is placed on platforms that are less relevant to their unique brand, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn for beauty brands are often sacrificed, for example. This may seem odd, as surely being active on as many sites as possible is the best way to get the most exposure but, these brands understand who they want to be exposed to, and where they spend the most of their time.
Beauty pages on LinkedIn are aimed towards investors, promotion of articles they are mentioned in, award nominations and expansion plans:
Whereas Instagram pages are bright and full of colour, they post memes and “aesthetic” photos that their target audience will respond well to:
Beauty brands are using the rise of the “micro-influencer”.
There has been a clear move away from broad brush strokes, using large influencers like your Kim Kardashians and Jennifer Anistons of the world, to smaller, more defined nano and micro-influencers who’s followings are far more dedicated, and far more trusting. Glossier has a Customer Rep scheme, where users can apply to become a Glossier Rep. They get a profile on the Glossier website, recieve a small amount of commission on “orders placed through [their] page” and $30 in free products a month.
But what does Glossier get out of this? These representatives don’t necessarily have a large following, or even over 20,000 followers. So, how are people going to see what they’re promoting? The truth is, these representatives’ followings don’t matter to Glossier, what they gain is trust from future buyers. Here, they are promoting C2C selling, effectively giving people a platform before stepping back and letting them do all the marketing for them. The small followings these micro-influencers have means that their opinions are more trusted, they resemble more of a friend than a mainstream celebrity, so the consumer feels more connected.
All you have to do is look at the comments section of any Glossier Instagram post to see this C2C selling in action. It’s a businesses dream to have people promoting their products for them and the Glossier comments are filled with consumers recommending their products to each other as gift ideas and stocking fillers.
They openly share reviews of their products, both good and bad.
On every beauty site, without fail, the products have a reviews section. Now this may seem like something quite trivial but, they do far more than just stick a certain number of stars beneath a product or a score out of 10, it creates trust. Customers are naturally sceptical of product and service descriptions after all, the seller is highly unlikely to list any faults they have. Product reviews change this, people trust people more than they trust corporations. If they see a product with a high customer rating based off a high number of reviews, they are far more likely to purchase the product. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to highlight negative reviews. Sometimes, the product the customer has purchased isn’t right for them and preventing others from making the same mistake will increase customer retainment as they avoid having a negative experience with your business.
But, how can B2B learn from this?
I admit, if you’re the owner of a small construction company, or an accounting firm, me droning on about a makeup brand targeted towards millennials may seem pretty abstract and even pointless but this couldn’t be further from the truth. What this emphasises is the value of customers’ experience. Glossier knows its stronger asset is its customers, Glossier CEO Rachel Weiss estimates “90% of the company’s growth can be attributed to their social media followers”, because they put their customers in the front and center. For your business to be successful long-term, you need to develop a relationship with your customers, so they keep coming back again and again. By making your marketing and social campaigns more personal, you begin to develop this relationship.
- When was the last time you included your customers in your decision making processes?
- When was the last time you asked whether your clients wanted to receive emails from you?
- Do you know where your customers spend most of their time online?
- When did you last ask them what makes them feel successful in their job?
- How can you help them feel this way?
Knowing what your customer wants is key, and the best way to find out is to include them. Find out what matters to them. Find out how you can make your product better. Find out who they are.
What’s the best way to do this?
Ask. We are experts in gathering buyer insights.