Monday, July 27, 2009
Social Media Marketing Case Study: Express
I’ve decided that I do a lot of critiquing of social media strategies, rebranding efforts, Gen Y marketing tactics, and general business strategy. While I enjoy these mini case studies, I’ve decided that it’d be a nice change to spotlight companies/brands that are doing an excellent job in their social media and Gen Y marketing efforts.
Today’s spotlight, my long-time favorite clothing brand - Express.
I’ve been a loyal Express customer since it was originally named Structure (8-10ish yrs or so). I was originally drawn to the brand for its bold colors and tailored fit clothing - it use to be a hassle finding clothes that fit someone with an athletic build. I’ve remained a loyal customer not just because of the styles, but the customer service and incredible sales that have.
As someone with a marketing background, it’s been fun watching the digital marketing efforts of the brand explode like Vegas on Fight Night. After reflecting on Express’ digital and social media marketing strategy, I’ve decided that their success is due to three key characteristics: Brains, Brawn, and Balance.
A good marketing strategy is only as good as the person at the helm. In Express’ case, it’s their CMO Lisa Gavales (@ExpressLisaG). What I’ve enjoyed about her approach to social media, is that she’s incorporating a nice blend of push/pull marketing via Twitter. With her 7500ish followers, she alerts followers of upcoming sales, as well as quickly responds to individual comments/questions (an essential and often overlooked aspect of social media).
Example: When I was recently shopping on Express.com, I was getting frustrated with my inability to sort shirts and pants by size. I kept clicking on shirts I was interested in, only to find that they were sold out in my size. I tweeted @ExpressLisaG saying that it was hindering my shopping experience, and I’d be more inclined to purchase items from from their website if I could easily view everything that was available in my size. I promptly got a reply, and was informed that IT would get working on a fix. Awesome.
Many times, I see companies take a stab at social media marketing and open a Twitter or Facebook account and call it good. While it’s a good first step, social media is bigger than just Facebook and Twitter and it requires constant interaction with the consumer via these communication tools.
What Express has done well, is establish themselves in several social media mediums. They have a Facebook fan page with approx 50,000 fans, a Twitter account with 7500 followers, and a Bebo and YouTube channel to boot. Moreover, these accounts are all continually updated and they are interacting with their core consumers on a regular basis.
Every marketing campaign needs balance. You can’t focus only on social media, or only on direct marketing. To stay relevant with your consumers, you need to interact with them and create impressions across several marketing channels. By experiencing the brand’s message over several marketing channels, the likelihood of being able recall the brand and its messages is greatly increased. The marketing tactics are even more effective when all the communication channels compliment each other instead of being attempting to stand alone.
Over the past year Express has stepped up their opt-in email marketing efforts. The emails now come more frequently, are aesthetically pleasing to view, and most importantly, they direct the consumer to each of their four social media webpages.
Their direct marketing mailers contain additional sales coupons, as well as direct the consumer to their social media webpages. They also feature verbiage explaining a 15% savings off your first purchase when you signup for email alerts.
Finally, the social media strategy not only provides their consumers with info, but interacts with their consumers. Their Facebook and Bebo pages provides the information, as well as a blurb about the 15% discount for signing up for email alerts. Their Twitter account interacts with their customers and their YouTube channel provides videos with fashion/styling advice.
Each marketing channel supports the others seamlessly. This impeccably balanced approach to their marketing campaign is perhaps the most impressive and effective facet of their strategy.
Four for you Glen CoCo! You go Glen CoCo! (yes, I realize I just quoted Mean Girls, but it seemed appropriate given Express’ utter dominance in the social media marketing field.)
--Now Let Me Clear My Throat--