Luxury brands today should focus on building close relationships with customers who want personalised services and exclusive products. To do that, many brands have or are now moving towards direct-to-consumer distribution channels to provide exclusive experience, online and in-stores to stay ahead of the curve.
L’Oréal CRM Manager at Luxe division, Isabel Gutierrez shares her methodology and point of view to help marketers understand how CRM, D-to-C, and relationships can be major growth drivers for luxury beauty brands.
- Isabel Gutierrez’s Career Journey
- How CRM is Roll-Out at L’Oréal
- Strategies to Design your D-to-C for Luxury Brands
- What is the Future of CRM?
- The Future of Digital Marketing Industry
- Lesson Learned
- Who is Isabel Gutierrez?
Isabel Gutierrez’s Career Journey
What motivates Isabel is her passion for products and her interest in marketing activities. Her expertise lies in designing CRM omnichannel strategies across luxe brands, ensuring the database is segmented effectively for targeted marketing activities.
I consider myself a marketing and business person at heart. “My approach to business is very holistic, fusing all these parts that generate success together.”
Isabel’s career changed in a very drastic way. Coming from a science background, she started her career working in the customer service line. “I was always thinking about how to solve things in a very scientific way.” Science takes patience and persistence, and so does marketing. Things aren’t always going to work on the first try. After 12 years working with customer service, she jumped to the new world of CRM.
In her previous job as a CRM Manager with Estee Lauder, she was the key person in digital transformation. Isabel was responsible for the CRM platforms and the peripheral digital marketing stack, helping the company develop the needed ecosystem to deploy the customer journey map and new channels such as social selling.
Today, Isabel is a CRM Manager at the L’Oréal Luxe division in Mexico City. Working closely with all the brand teams under its portfolio including Lancôme, Kiehl’s IT Cosmetics, Yves Saint Laurent, Giorgio Armani, and Urban Decay.
How CRM is Rolled-Out at L’Oréal
1. Develop a Plan
Start by investing in the right tools to create the proper data infrastructure. Most companies have a lot of data, but they don’t know how to use it.
Once you have the right tools, look at your strategy. The key goals are to improve customer engagement and retention. If you do that, you can’t go wrong.
CRM works best with a plan based on the needs of your consumers. So, you will need to be consumer-centric, and provide them with personalised interactions that support all the information about the brand or the product you want them to try.
Bear in mind that you will need to be careful when you start the journey as you want customers to be loyal to you because it is cheaper to retain an existing customer than get a new one.
2. Manage the CRM Platform
To ensure the CRM works effectively for all aspects of the brand, you need to have a healthy database. CRM will be able to guide your consumers to make correct decisions.
Your database should be based on local purchasing behaviours for targeted marketing activities.
Once you understand what the customer needs, then you will be able to understand what the business should deliver, what the brand needs directly, what they need at the moment and this way you will be able to create a specific strategy can be delivered for this market.
Take into consideration that it is not about acquiring a lot of data about your consumers that matters. It’s about identifying the value of data and converting it into insights to ensure you’re getting the right message to the right people at the right time.
3. Execute CRM Programmes
Create local CRM programmes to engage consumers with local specifics. CRM it’s just creating a relationship between your brand and your consumers. These relationships need to be based on trust.
If you’re a small company, you will need to recruit a lot of people in order to just convert them and go with the flow in the funnel. You can ask to convert and retain them with a value proposition that will give your customers the sentiment and the feeling that they are part of your community.
Strategies to Design your D-to-C for Luxury Brands
For L’Oréal the direct-to-consumer channel (D-to-C) is an opportunity that provides customers with greater experience, both in-store and online by including personalised products and services.
Here are the five most common tips that L’Oréal uses and you should consider bringing them into your strategy in order to get that luxury market.
1. Always be Customer-Centric
First, it is important for us at L’Oréal to identify the key driving force for the transformation and lay out a lifecycle map to clearly define where your customer stands in their relationship with your product.
Then, we started with a data-driven marketing platform to build personalised customer relationships and recruit customers for our brands.
2. Understand your Customer’s Journey
L’Oréal’s omnichannel consumer touchpoints include from website to physical store. To deliver a consistent customer experience, we need to understand the customer journey to differentiate touchpoints in order to deliver an engaging experience.
We need to wait for every step of the omnichannel consumer because what we learn in different stores is that you can go directly to a retailer to purchase a product or you can purchase online.
As for me, I am more comfortable buying online, but I’d go to the store for specific products.
3. Technology is the backbone of D-to-C
Technology is the backbone of the D-to-C distribution channel. For L’Oréal the role of technology is to create a better footing for customer interactions rather than gain more efficiency. It enables you to address customers’ requirements, behaviours and interactions.
4. Stores and Online Platforms are the New Media
The store provides an avenue for brands to engage with customers. This is also another way for customers to learn about the products and share them on social media.
With the data collected in-store, CRM helps us better understand our customers and improve the product to suit our customers better.
CRM is the future of everything. After the pandemic upended the world, we learned this, changing the lifestyle and prompting more businesses to transform their business processes.
Five years ago, when I started working in CRM, I would attend training or webinars to educate myself on this area, and there were only two or three of us in the class.
Today, the pandemic has accelerated the growth power of CRM. Now, everyone talks about it, but no one knows how to use CRM. As a result, it is increasingly becoming clear that companies struggle to handle this new way of working and turn to digital experts for help.
Companies are now looking to adopt CRM systems because they know a data-driven approach is the best option to understand your customers well to sell your products and services in the market.
“If you don’t know your customers, you won’t be able to address the information to them or identify a new service. We at L’Oréal have done a great job because of the pandemic. If you look from a CRM perspective, the work we do, we realised were the important part of the marketing.”
How do you get there? Or how do you realise you need to go there? The solution for CRM in the pandemic was significant, because companies realised we exist and they have the data in there. They just need to know how to use it, explode and keep capitalised.
In the future, we will see more take-up of companies adopting CRM as they have become aware of the benefits CRM will bring them. Big or small companies that have gone this route will benefit from greater insights, enabling them to serve customers better.
- Science takes patience and persistence, and so does marketing. Things aren’t always going to work on the first try. Test, and refine your strategies.
- Once you have the right tools, look at your strategy. The key goals are to improve customer engagement and retention. If you do that, you can’t go far wrong.
- Brand loyalty has been one of the pivotal benefits of the CRM roll-out. It is easy to classify valued customers and retain them.
Who is Isabel Gutierrez?
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