Delivering the digital experience at Lorna Jane

How cloud-based technology tools have helped Lorna Jane to become one of Australia's most socially active brands and the most followed fashion brand on Facebook

IT challenged

While he’s a fervent believer in the power of technology in marketing, Zivot said Lorna Jane is not an IT-heavy brand internally and outsources the majority of its core IT work. This presents significant challenges in the speed of delivery and meeting the changing needs of customers.

“As a company that has grown so fast from a smallish business to a medium to large one, having the IT to run things effectively have been a major challenge,” he said. “So much of what you do now as a retailer relies on having strong IT support. We’ve just hired our first internal IT person and that has been a godsend.”

Zivot agreed the raft of software available to marketers is tipping the scales in favour of data-driven marketing while also offering previously unachievable productivity improvements. “These platforms have taken a lot of the thought process away from the individual, and we make less decisions based on our gut,” he continued.

“For example it could be technology that automatically goes and merchandises my page to the optimal solution based on what converted the highest, or on that individual’s profile. Formerly, we may have looked upon ourselves more for strategy and what we could brainstorm out.”

Yet as fond as he is of the science, Zivot remains unconvinced every social media connection between a brand and a consumer must be measured, weighted and prioritised. One of the big challenges with social media is how you truly determine its influence and ROI given it is one of many ways brands interact with customers in the sales and marketing lifecycle.

“Social media does have a direct impact on sales and it can be measured. Aside from search engine direct traffic, it’s our next highest referral of traffic online and unquestionably it’s driving actual sales and revenue as a referral source,” Zivot said. “But that is just purely looking at a particular sale or promotion we’re running.

“It is a challenge to measure impact. A lot of the social media suites you integrate with your website enable these sharing options to drive traffic. But even that doesn’t measure the true value of social because so much is over the long term, and about connecting with and becoming loyal to the brand, which is hard to directly attribute specifically.

“When people ask me this question, I always bring it back to what the ROI of a billboard is. How is that any different from advertising on Facebook or spending time and resources on that? Often social media is less expensive than doing any mass media campaign, which I feel perhaps unfairly escapes the scrutiny social media tends to get from an ROI view.

“When people are enormously positive in expressing their experiences with their brand socially, that definitely counts.”

Zivot also pointed out technology on its own doesn’t complete the loop. While Radian6 and HearIs are great enablers for marketing, it is imperative to provide adequate training and usage policies for staff, and ensure they meet the needs of the business.

Managing the wealth of data being collated is another concern and opportunity. Thanks to the combination of technologies employed at Lorna Jane, it’s easier to demonstrate the effectiveness of data-driven marketing yet interpreting and making the most of the insights generated will keep marketers on their toes for some time yet.

“We have proven time and time again campaigns that are data-driven are substantially more effective than those that aren’t and those sent to everyone,” Zivot said. “But getting everything seamless from a data point of view is one of our big challenges too. We collect a lot of data and it’s determining how to use that data as effectively as we can. Step by step we are getting there, but there is a long way to go.”

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