Strategies Relationship Marketing is a relationship-marketing agency that communicates to targets in a focused, personalized and relevant way to drive business results and customer loyalty. Founded in 1989 and based in Laval, Quebec, Canada, the privately-held boutique agency has seven employees and an impressive list of national clients.
Long-time client Maybelline New York approached Strategies about a marketing challenge: improving loyalty in its cosmetics business, where consumers tend to use multiple brands for their range of makeup needs. In particular, Maybelline sought to leverage its No. 1 worldwide ranking in mascara to boost its business in categories where it had smaller shares, such as foundation products. A potential complication: many consumers are unaware of technical considerations in makeup choices, such as how foundation products behave differently based upon skin type, dry or oily.
To meet Maybelline’s challenge, Strategies developed a B2Me campaign—direct marketing that applies deep personalization and content marketing to create relevant messaging based upon rational, emotional, physical and relational characteristics. The campaign goals: educate consumers about choosing and using cosmetics, and recommend which Maybelline products best suit them, based upon their physical characteristics and makeup personality.
The main component of the campaign would be a series of three, full-color and fully-personalized 20-page, 4.75x7" booklets containing cosmetics lessons, personal product recommendations and trackable discount coupons – an extremely ambitious undertaking that would require a great deal of unique data, a high degree of variability and high-quality digital print production capability.
The campaign began with mass and social media efforts to drive consumers to the Maybelline New York microsite where information about an individual’s ethnicity, hair and eye colors, eye shape, skin conditions, and other qualities was collected in a 12-part questionnaire. As a side effect, mailing addresses were captured, which essentially built the beginnings of a loyalty club for Maybelline New York.
The data consumers entered was used by Strategies, along with the XMPie (Booth 1202) uCreate Print plug-in for Adobe InDesign, to personalize content in the booklets, enabling an astonishing 3.5 million options for each booklet. “It’s mind-boggling, but that’s what XMPie does—puts together all of our components and makes them run right,” said Strategies President Mark Morin.
Montreal-based Pazazz Printing used their XMPie production capabilities and Xerox iGen4 Press to print the three booklets, and they were delivered sequentially over several months.
The campaign has been ongoing since 2009, consistently delivering superior results. Sales, as measured by the coupon redemption rate, are multiple times greater than those from previous, non-personalized campaigns, and most is new business from people who previously bought competitive brands. The campaign has also delivered a lift to Maybelline’s brand appreciation and improved the likelihood that consumers will recommend the Maybelline New York brand - an unusual result for a direct marketing initiative.
According to Morin, highly-satisfied consumers have credited Maybelline with improving their lives by changing the way they feel about their personal appearance. So many consumers recognize the value in the booklets, that fully half of the microsite visitors complete the longer-than-usual questionnaire, consistently providing new targets. Next steps: a mobile component is under development for future campaigns.