Moderating a breakout session at the 2018 conference in Scottsdale, AZ gave the audience and myself an opportunity to discuss marketing with some real experts. Ann Latendresse, Director of Brand Marketing at Great Clips, brought all the gravitas of someone who runs marketing for a company with hundreds of thousands of clients and more than 40,000 stylists. Carolyn Lane, Marketing Manager at Smartbase Solutions, had great insight into client relations using social media and loyalty programs while Gary Reed, President of Hairzoo, described the probably unique experience of a running bi-coastal business and the challenges it presents of talking to very different audiences.
Three very separate experiences, but all agreed the speed we are all operating at is the speed of technology, and that must influence our communication strategies to stylists as much as guests. My first question was selfishly motivated; I wanted to know about the others’ experience of apps. At Birds, we introduced ours in early 2018 and within a month had a 30 per cent upload.
I quickly found out that Great Clips was way ahead of the game, introducing an app in 2011 which allowed guests the opportunity to check in ahead of arrival. They loved it, said Ann, because it reduced their wait and gave them greater control over their time. Rather than drag the family down to the salon and struggle to keep two children from climbing all over the furniture as she waited, a mom could simply check in online and arrive at her allotted time. It also made them more loyal as they could now simply go to that app and sort out their visit. As Ann asked: how many hair apps would an individual have on their phone? But the greatest benefit of the app, besides goodwill, for Great Clips was its ability to collect data on guests and this has had a direct impact on how the company markets the brand.
At Great Clips guests are categorized into ‘new’, ‘better’, ‘good’ and ‘great’ clients based on number of visits a year, and this informs the sort of message each receives. Carolyn focused on this as well, urging members to strive so all messaging is relevant to that individual guest. She argued that frequency is less important than relevance, much of which can be gleaned from POS by looking at what services are favored and what products purchased.
Ann and Gary concurred. For Gary, geography also counts. He must take into consideration whether his clients are on the east or the west coast, as each behaves very differently. For instance, New York responds positively to discounts and so he runs them regularly, but a similar campaign in Santa Monica could damage the brand overnight.
With technology leading much of our marketing strategy today, the role of the stylist is crucial. At Hairzoo, the mantra drilled into stylists daily is ‘take-home, content, review’ putting the creation of social content just behind retail in value to the company, and just behind that, online reviews. Stylists are encouraged to email photos that are then posted on social, with a shout out to the stylists. Being featured like this does more than just drive their individual business, it also helps them feel good about what they do and where they work. And that’s just as crucial as everything else in our marketing mix. Technology allows us to reach out to professionals in a way that was never possible before and as we are all constantly searching for people, it must be a priority. At Great Clips, the franchise owners are encouraged to reach out to one professional every day, while at Hairzoo the team is rewarded when they help recruit new people to the team. If after 180 days the individual is still a valued member of the team, whoever recommended them gets $200.
An hour-long breakout was never going to be enough to discuss the myriad ways that various members have reacted to and use technology when it comes to marketing, and time sped by way too quick. But the information gleaned has benefited me and I’m sure others left equally inspired. Check out the full session in the ISBN Livestream Archives: