Industry Eye: Prospecting - Chico's, Donnella's Closet, Maryland Square
Chico's in TV, Magazine, Email Promo Blitz
Throughout the second half of this year, mature women's apparel retailer Chico's has been on an extensive image-building and prospecting ad campaign designed not only to drive store traffic, but also build direct sales.
In early August, the Fort Myers, Fla.-based marketer launched the campaign with TV commercials running during key high-profile programs such as "The Today Show," "Good Morning America," "Oprah" and "Ellen," as well as on the cable networks Lifetime, WE, Food Network and HGTV, among others.
Chico's also blitzed the print media in such magazines as O, the Oprah Magazine; Vogue; Southern Living; and Cooking Light.
Using the same elegant model (pictured) in both the TV spots and space ads, the campaign is "about making an impression of our brand image," says Robert Atkinson, Chico's vice president of investor relations. Both the TV and print ads clearly show Chico's web address; in fact, it's the last image shown in the commercials. "That's not just led to increased traffic to our website," he says, "but also actual conversions." —Paul Miller
Handbag E-Retailer Relies on Facebook Fan Page for Leads
Social media networks like Twitter and Facebook allow many small businesses to engage potential customers as well as possibly thousands of connections through their customers' friends and followers.
Donnella's Closet, a shopping site that peddles designer handbags and jewelry, launched a Facebook fan page earlier this year, which is a sort of Facebook profile page for businesses where they can house all of their pertinent company information — website addresses and contact information, press releases, promotions and coupons, videos, Twitter updates, etc. It also enables companies to reach prospects and customers in a more engaging way.
"The Facebook fan page allows me to build my brand by showing my personality to prospects," says founder/CEO Donnella Tilery. Tilery has 183 "fans" on her page, which includes photos, press releases, "featured designer" pages, and a list of events Tilery and her company are involved in.
Tilery's prospects find her via Facebook ads she created that highlight handbag designers. They were targeted toward women in specific age groups or geographical areas, Tilery says. —Melissa Campanelli
Maryland Square Prospects With Free Shipping Offer
Women's footwear retailer Maryland Square took a direct approach to its Winter 2009 catalog, which mailed this past fall, to plug free shipping. The company used segmentation and an eye-catching wrapper to reach out to prospects.
Wrapped in a bright pink jacket, this version of the catalog was only sent to prospects and offered the free shipping opportunity. The catalog was also mailed to Maryland Square's housefile, sans the "New Customer" wrapper and free shipping offer.
To redeem the free shipping offer, customers had to order by Nov. 15 and include the promotion code listed in the catalog. No monetary threshold needed to be met to receive the offer.
While many marketers have shied away from using the print catalog as a prospecting tool because of high costs, Chippewa Falls, Wis.-based Maryland Square is embracing the channel. In fact, the company still uses mail-in order forms. But that doesn't mean it won't adapt — email, affiliate marketing and product reviews are all part of Maryland Square's prospecting efforts. —Joe Keenan