Exclusive Marketing

When exclusive marketing goes wrong

Exclusive member sales make sense, you get to reward your loyal customers and you create a little bit of extra hype. It’s a great strategy, it seems straight forward, but it’s easy to get it wrong.

I was at Capital Square Mall with my family, my wife was already inside ToysRus, and my son & I couldn’t get in. We were told that without a membership card there was no entry today, but that we could come back tomorrow. Whilst I was waiting for my wife to exit the store with the membership card to bring my son & I in, I watched as lots of families with children were refused entry at the door to the store. I couldn’t but help think, isn’t there a better way to do this? Perhaps give members and additional discount or a special (exclusively discounted) price on some items, maybe even a members only section?

heinz limited editiom

Being exclusive and driving people away to create demand makes sense for exclusive (lifestyle) products (clothing, perfumes, iPhones, etc.). Apple uses exclusive marketing techniques extensively to create demand – limited quantities, big lines, lots of demand. but turning away kids and families looking to buy (cheaper) toys doesn’t make too much sense to me. How many are really going to come back the next day? How many are going to find an alternative and consider the “toy shopping adventure” done? By comparison Van Heusen regularly invites me to “exclusive member only” end of season sales, and new season launches. They’re all held at the main store and are conducted out of regular hours so as to not interrupt regular business. There’s a little bit of a show usually some soft drinks, and then you can buy whatever it is you would like. There’s nothing hyper-exclusive about their clothes, but they make their regular customers feel special, and don’t get in the way of the casual shoppers. Even if you miss the event, you still get a larger discount for a few days during the sale/launch period.

Heinz has been doing a pretty good job of “Limited Edition” exclusive marketing. Leveraging their loyal customer base, without compromising their regular buyers, to create demand for a higher priced (yet distinctly) commodity product. That’s an impressively inclusive way of making something exclusive.

I’m sure it depends upon your product/service, but it seems to me that today’s exclusive campaigns need to be more inclusive than exclusive. Burberry’s now legendary revamp of the catwalk, is a great demonstration of how even high end fashion, has begun realising that exclusivity isn’t as straight forward as it used to be.

merry xmas

Tis the time for your seasonal marketing

Whilst I was transiting though Dubai I stopped at Hamley’s in Dubai mall, and was really impressed by their Christmas activity line-up. The mall had arranged a series of different events including skating performances, Hamley’s had arranged visits from Santa & a Christmas wish list giveaway.

On the surface of things it doesn’t sound particularly incredible. Until you start comparing it to what other malls are doing, and the demographic the malls are trying to appeal to (Hopefully “Women, likely with children, and a propensity to shop”… Or are they just targeting “everyone-that-wants-to-shop”?).

seasonal marketing campaigns

The other malls I visited (albeit in India & Singapore) had no (advertised) family activities, giveaways or events. Their seasonal marketing campaigns mostly featured shopping & spending related promotions. Whilst discounts are always popular, I’m reasonably sure that shopping promotions alone won’t do the trick. Given a choice, wouldn’t you opt to go to the venue that had more to offer? Or at least something to keep your kids busy & entertained?

How can you leverage this in your digital marketing programme? The principal is the same, motivate your clients to interact with your brand, driving activity and involvement to promote your name. As long as your campaign benefits your customer in some way, and fosters online engagement with your brand, you’re going in the right direction. A couple of great Xmas promotion ideas that I’ve seen are:

  1. BabyCenter XMas Giveaways – in exchange for comments (social proof)
  2. WestJet XMas Surprises – just crazy and incredible, with lots & lots of media coverage

A Great example of Omni channel retail

Most of the big consultancies are already publishing reports on omni channel retail and it’s benefits (but really they’re still just talking about e-commerce). Omni channel retail seems to be the new holy grail. I’ve only seen a few real cases of it being implemented though. This article about the Macy’s approach to technology & retail really got my cogs turning. They certainly seem to be doing a fabulous job of integrating their digital & traditional stores. The views expressed by Terry Lundgren seem to be very well thought out, it certainly sounds like they’ve got an incredible, interconnected digital & traditional strategy. Perhaps the most important thing is the fact that they see both online and offline retail as the same thing, it’s the same, singular, customer experience.

I’m curious to know more about what they’re actually doing in-store. I hope it’s as interesting as they make it out to be. If you’ve been to Macy’s recently, please tell me what’s actually going on inside.  I’m going to be talking more about omni channel retail soon, if you’ve seen any great examples in action please let me know!