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Category: CMO Breakfasts

Look Inside First

This blog first appeared on Written by Amy Weber, Director of Business Development. 

“If you don’t bring a brand to life on the inside, it won’t survive on the outside.” – Libby Sartain

As the media marketplace has gotten more and more fragmented and consumers are harder to reach than ever, it’s easy for brands to focus entirely on their target consumer, while forgetting about other key constituents. What many forget is that often times, a key component of marketing a brand these days may be right under your nose. Following-up on our post looking at the importance of Wegmans employee actions, we are now looking at the importance of your internal team and how they can provide the key insight that you are looking for.

The impetus for this post came after I attended an Ad Club CMO Breakfast featuring the dressbarn Vice President of Marketing, Stephanie Garbarini. I was excited by the opportunity to take a morning away from the office and learn about fashion marketing, especially after their groundbreaking campaign last fall. Their out-of-home board in Downtown Crossing station literally stopped me in my tracks on my commute one evening. Not surprisingly, Stephanie did not disappoint.

Facing a retail landscape that was changing just as quickly as the marketing industry is, Stephanie spoke about how dressbarn wanted to return to their roots as a way to stand out from the new competition. Those roots led directly to their founder, Mrs. Jaffee, a woman who seems to possess equal parts innovation, tenacity, compassion and spitfire. Which, of course, made me wish that she was my Grandmother! What I also learned is that the team at dressbarn took a look back and discovered that she was onto something 51 years ago when she founded the organization. When auditing their internal audience, they had a strong company culture with many employees who had been with the organization for 30+ of those 51 years. There is a culture and personality among those who have dedicated their life to this company that needed to be harnessed to usher in the next generation of dressbarn consumers.

Armed with that perspective as a filter, dressbarn set out to change category perceptions among key influencers in the fashion space. Knowing they had to make a splash, they developed a campaign that was unapologetically proud. A characteristic that rang true across store clerks, managers and the leadership team. And because it was true to the internal brand, it made quite the splash with external constituents, leading to social influencers as noteworthy as Chrissy Teigen to feel inclined to start a discussion around dressbarn. As they move forward, dressbarn has already announced their next partnership with model and body activist, Ashley Graham and I, personally, am already on the lookout for their spring campaign.

So, what did I learn from my morning with dressbarn other than validating how well their marketing team is doing right now? While going through the effort of refreshing their brand, the best thing that dressbarn did was to start by looking internally. Yes, their work was unexpected and stood out for the category. But, no matter how edgy the work, if it hadn’t been genuine to their brand heritage and to their employees who live the company culture everyday, it wouldn’t sustain and ultimately drive their current and future business. So, when looking for the next big thing to help your brand standout, don’t forget to look inside, because the answer may be closer than you think.


Are You Trying to Measure the Immeasurable?

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.” This is the definition of marketing according to the American Marketing Association. As a marketer, I know that this definition doesn’t do the term justice. Marketing is so much more than that, especially as it continues to evolve as new strategic tools and technologies are introduced.

There are so many channels to consider when creating a holistic marketing strategy. The tricky part is figuring out how to best make them work together to take advantage of the tools at our disposal. But is there a perfect combination of vehicles to use to get our message out there? And what about the actual content strategy behind those promotions – how do we best determine what our audience actually wants to view? Is it our brand? Our products? Our events?

With the varying preferences of our multiple target segments, it’s crucial to keep track of a fine-tuned marketing strategy, updating as necessary. We always need to keep the ultimate goal in mind: what are we trying to accomplish with our marketing efforts and how does it align with our company’s value proposition?

Whether your company is a new start-up or a market player for years, you should never lose sight of maintaining and elevating your branding initiatives. Branding is one of the most critical elements to your business strategy. Your customers should not only understand what your company is about, but they should also be able to watch you grow and evolve over time.

But brand marketing is only as important as your performance marketing, because after all, they go hand-in-hand. Nancy Go, Wayfair’s VP of Brand Marketing, spoke at this morning’s CMO Breakfast event hosted by The Ad Club. Her discussion of marrying the efforts of both brand and performance marketing really stuck with me. According to Go, “Performance marketing thinks about things with a different framework: what is the advertising cost to acquire someone and how do we retain them? Brand marketing is how to get awareness from prospective customers: we drive preference and…loyalty. If you look at it from this perspective, it’s really the same thing. They’re both around brand orientation.”

To Go’s point, not everything we do can be measured, and not all of our results can be fully attributed to any one activity. However, we can almost guarantee that brand awareness has something to do with a customer’s behavior, and we can also consider that a customer’s experience with our products will help foster curiosity about our brand.

As marketers, we struggle with daily questions around metrics as if they are the only means of value in a results-driven world. But if not brand awareness, what’s driving people to engage with us in the first place? It’s all about finding the right balance and recognizing success as a result of both the measurable and immeasurable. Said Go, “Everything is gated by marketing performance. We don’t throw away performance marketing with brand advertising, and we don’t throw away brand advertising with performance marketing.”

This is a fundamental truth, not only in terms of executing on your current marketing strategies, but also in understanding how to develop and grow your business at the same time. Focus on your overall success rather than on your metrics, because you certainly don’t want to miss out on value just because it can’t be measured.


This blog first appeared on Written by Lindsey Becker, Marketing Manager at Bullhorn

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