Proving the ROI of out-of-home media: Georg Jensen’s test case

Luxury jewellery retailer's marketing chief details the challenges of balancing short-term digital advertising ROI with diversification of media channels

A 54 per cent uplift in shoppers and above-average category brand penetration are two of the results luxury jewellery and home wares retailer, Georg Jensen, is using to prove the case for returning to outdoor media in 2023.  

Founded in 1904 in Denmark, Australia is now the largest market for Georg Jensen outside of Denmark and is celebrating its 50-year anniversary locally this year.  

Locally, the company runs 14 standalone stores nationally focused on jewellery. There are also 35 concession shops with David Jones focused on home wares products. In addition, its owned ecommerce channel has experienced significant growth during the pandemic, and there’s further distribution via a retail partnership with The Iconic. The Australia entity is also a distributor for home wares from Italian-based Alessi, plus glass wares from Swedish brands, Kosta Boda and Orrefors.  

As first marketing head for Australia in 2009, Georg Jensen head of marketing and ecommerce in Australia, Nadia Bayfield, inherited a schedule 100 per cent invested in out-of-home (OOH) advertising focused on the Sydney-to-Melbourne airport route. Over the years, this evolved to include print, events, CRM and primary data-driven communication, as well as digital media.  

“While we were still strongly focused on OOH and the business traveller, we built up a more varied media schedule to meet the consumer wherever she chose to transact and get inspiration from,” Bayfield told CMO. “Then my team agitated for change to lean into digital as a highly effective, measurable form of media.” 

Getting hooked on digital

During the pandemic, like many other retailers, Georg Jensen moved all funds into digital channels such as Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube, working with agency partner, Wired. With an ecommerce channel experiencing 70 per cent growth in the first year of the pandemic, the team also focused heavily on primary data, launched a CRM program focused on service, as well as a virtual shopping platform based on Hero’s offering. The latter achieved 20 per cent conversion thanks to its combination of in-store staff experience and virtual experience capabilities.  

Today, ecommerce today is sitting just under 100 per cent to last year, “which is still extraordinary given stores are open and we are seeing an enthusiastic return to retail,” Bayfield said. “It’s a normalisation of what our business really is and how much ecommerce should contribute to overall revenue in what is really a retail-brand business in Australia.”    

In line with such normalisation, Bayfield’s team started looking at how to re-establish engagement with customers off-line and in-store. So it began rethinking its media schedule accordingly. This led to partnering with oOh!media this year on a bespoke campaign, the first time the retailer had used OOH for a number of years.   

“One of the things that’s so alluring with digital media is that sexy return on ad spend – it’s very appealing to CEOs here and globally,” Bayfield commented. “In the beginning, it was a fantastic way for marketers to prove that things were working. Now it’s become a thorn in our side.  

“In the middle of pandemic, the returns were at extraordinary highs. Now, it’s about how we respond to the retail channel shift by showing other media and activity is still as important – even though we can’t get you the same measurement.  

“We are shaking the tree and being vocal about what we need to do that. That also means a change in how we look at digital media – that has been conversion based, but digital media can be awareness-based, and we’re looking at new channels like TikTok to shift that. But another is how we include out-of-home on the schedule again by proving that it does work.”  

Building the case for outdoor once more  

Georg Jensen’s local team knew anecdotally that when it ran outdoor campaigns, store managers would have people come into store wanting the one ring, from its Fusion collection, being advertised. Prior to the pandemic, all above-the-line media creative was focused on this collection, its most premium jewellery offering.  

The new oOh!media trial ran from 28 February – 3 April 2022 and targeted 250,000 luxury female buyers 25+ who have previously purchased brands including Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. To do this, oOh! employed its SmartReach planning tool, powered by Quantium.  

Creatively, the campaign once again focused on the Fusion collection and used bold, graphic and product-focused global creative. Sites included premium office towers, airports and the Qantas lounge and inflight environments.  

With a focus on ROI, oOh! was able to measure the entire campaign's performance including sales uplift, brand and category performance, uplift of new customers versus existing customers, and age of audience.  

“What was appealing about the trial was being able to define a lead and put some kind of metric against this type of media,” Bayfield said. “We could track metrics, look at financial institutions and data of people purchasing prior to the campaign, versus during then post-campaign.”  

Credit: Georg Jensen

Results included a 54 per cent uplift of people shopping at Georg Jensen over the campaign period, with sales of the Fusion Collection growing by 25 per cent. Brand penetration increased nationally during the period by 28 per cent outperforming the category, and there was an increase in both physical and online store visitation.  

In addition, the retailer received positive feedback from customers who, unprompted, talked about seeing and loving the advertising campaign. Bayfield was also surprised at the recall in the office spaces. The figures have now been presented to Georg Jensen’s global CEO and board.  

“Can we say campaign and return on ad spend and compared exactly digital ad spend? Not exactly. But this combined with anecdotal evidence is a strong case to look at this media again,” Bayfield said. “And it’s a layer we need – we can’t become one-dimensional with regards to the digital media space. In the same vein, events are back, our CRM programs and back and we’re looking at focusing closer on existing customers there.”  

Marketing bravery 

As a result, Bayfield said 2023 is going to be a “matter of holding true” and “finding the balance between opportunity and costs”. She noted ongoing tests in the digital space, which will move to a 50/50 split of conversion and brand awareness in the New Year.  

“We are bringing first party data into these equations and communicating with audiences in a different way and further down the consumer funnel,” Bayfield said.     

Georg Jensen’s three-month TikTok trial is another example of something new, and Bayfield said her team are working very closely with agency and content creators on the program. There will also be affiliate marketing trials.  

“It’s also looking at a more sustained approach to OOH. It’s an expensive media, so what we need to do is look at a more sustained approach to out-of-home and almost as a pulsing strategy, and not just in that last quarter of the year,” Bayfield said.    

“We are going to look at this [media schedule] over a 12-month period and we’re looking to healthier growth, a consistently fed funnel and achieving those results we need slowly and consistently over time.  

“As marketers, we have to try new things. What the last three years has taught us is to be brave, test it, and if we fail, we fail. At least we know it wasn’t right.”  

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