Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
The fast fashion industry is booming and in order to keep up with the growth, brands need to find new and efficient ways to up their bottom line.
Speaking at the recent ADMA Global Forum in Sydney, Missguided’s director of marketing and trading, Victoria Betts, claimed the brand grew revenue in excess of 400 per cent with its new automated and personalised digital strategy.
“There isn’t a simple answer to that success,” she said. “It’s a combination of lots of different techniques and campaigns, and it is the compounding impact of all those activities that helped achieve that triple digit growth for us.”
According to Betts, customer-centricity is one of the key components of Missguided’s marketing success, along with a vision to drive growth from its customers.
“It is only through the benefit of hindsight that I can see it was our marketing automation that helped this growth,” she said.
It’s also important to be fast and reactive because the fashion consumer now demands it.
“Our consumers are demanding faster shipping, faster fashion, but with that comes agility,” Betts said. “And there’s no single answer, but it’s really important to test, react and to maximise. Speed is a really important reason why we have been so very successful.”
Understanding the customer has been at the heart of the brand’s ability to reach out, connect and engage effectively. Missguided has about 3.5 million customers.
“Gone are the days when marketers used to be able to identify their consumer with an age or with an attitude or demography,” Betts said. “When you have such a broad portfolio of consumer, it’s much more important to have a more segmented approach.
Missguided’s site attracts about 15 million Web visits every month and while it is a British-based brand, Betts said its reach is quite global.
“Our vision was all about being bigger, being better and being global,” she said. “This year, we have already shipped to 160 countries and have localised our marketing campaigns to each geographic location, contending with different cultures, seasons and time zones. In Australia alone, we sell $12 million a year, which is just unbelievable.”
In order to stay locally relevant, while maintaining a consistent global brand identity, Betts said Missguided focuses on retaining a ‘glocal’ strategy.
“What we try and do is stay true to our brand DNA - we are Missguided wherever we are in the world,” she said. “We offer the same brand, the same proposition and the same products, but we tailor it all to make it more locally relevant.”
In France, for instance, Missguided dials up the quality a little bit more, because French consumers are particularly interested in that, Betts said. In contrast, the primary driver in the United States is impatience to gain goods quite quickly, requiring a focus is on speed. In Australia, Betts said it is transitional layering that is working very well.
“Australians are also responsive more to above-the-line, offline media advertising,” she added. “So TV, outdoor and print are proving more effective than in the UK and in other parts of Europe where it’s more a digital channel that is working for us.”
What is really important, Betts stressed, is making sure Missguided can connect with its customers and engage anywhere, at any time they want to shop.
“The trend we’re observing is the shift from a home computer to a mobile device,” she said. “Whether that is the smartphone itself or a tablet, we’re now seeing about three-quarters of all Web sessions taking place when our customers are on the move. So it’s important to be available and think about your consumer’s journey.”
Betts said Missguided’s strategic priority is to achieve further growth and she’s focusing on marketing automation to reach its targets.
“Our business is rapid, it’s agile and it’s everywhere,” she said. “We have lots of customers and a very broad reach. We have a very strategically challenging ambition, so I decided to find a solution that was grounded in automated technology.”
Initially, Missguided had a very broadcast approach, through TV, email or through the website itself, and essentially treated everybody the same. But Betts soon realised a 3.5 million audience was too big not to differentiate.
“Where I moved to was segmentation, and began to learn the tricks of my trade to start to prove some success,” she said. “We moved into key browsing data insights to propensity marketing and found that to be brilliantly successful.”
Missguided has now moved more into the final area of personalising its customer journey, utilising differentiated home pages while making sure it is all data-driven and automated.
“I then looked at the customer management framework,” Bett said. “When you overlay the different segmentation, different communication types and priorities, it becomes quit e a difficult layer. What sits it all together at the bottom, are the enablers. And that is all about data, systems and technology.”
Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO Australia conversation on LinkedIn: CMO Australia, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+: google.com/+CmoAu