Why GO Digital launched a bespoke sales event for its beauty brands

Agency shares the lessons in successfully executing a new online event driven by influencer marketing

The inaugural Beauty Drop, a 48-hour online-only beauty sale, was developed by GO Digital as a unique, bespoke event which would give the agency’s stable of beauty brands a rallying event to lift sales and build direct relationships with their customers.  

Born from a desire to work more closely with its clients in new ways to create fresh sources of online revenue, GO Digital combined entrepreneurial and digital skills to create a standalone brand, The Beauty Drop. With a stable of affiliate clients, which featured a significant number of beauty brands, they hatched the idea while reviewing the business strategy.  

GO Digital MD, John Yanny explained the thinking to CMO. “It struck me we have this depth and focus in the beauty category, and we were looking to see how we can proactively make a bigger impact,” he said.  

For Yanny, the affiliate channel lends itself to new ideas and events and is less about responding to and executing on briefs.  

“Very often the relationship dynamic in a creative agency, or marketing agency, is to have this collaborative relationship with the client, responding to briefs and strategically having input in terms of what can happen in the future,” he said. “With affiliate, it's a pure performance channel and we get paid on the performance we deliver. So we're always thinking about how we can make things better for our clients in that space.”  

Turning to the internal creatives  

It was also a new initiative the team of creatives internally could get excited about and take ownership of.  

“There’s an appeal in the excitement of ideating, creating an idea for a product from scratch, and having that kind of creative control and strategic control, and really bringing something to life,” Yanny said. “We have everything internally that typically a startup or tech marketing business would want. And of course we had this group of clients we thought we could do something for and build something really special.  

“It didn't come from a brief. A client didn’t come to us and say: ‘Can you create an online event’. We came up with it, created the concept, validated it and tested it with our own audiences. We spent our own money promoting it and building it, making sure it was going to be a good business fit for our clients.”  

Made for beauty enthusiasts by beauty enthusiasts, the Beauty Drop allows brands to build a direct relationship with customers via Beauty Drops’ platform, with the support of more than 30 trusted beauty intermediaries. This event was a natural extension of that relationship in the affiliate channel that was a win-win for its agency brands, according to Yanny.  

“The Beauty Drop was close to zero risk for our clients. We put our money where our mouth is and took on the heavy lifting of promotion, outreach, PR, media buy and negotiation. If we do a good job, we get paid based on the sales we generate for the brands,” he said.  

Managing brand sensitivities  

Taking its inspiration from some of the big sale events like Black Friday, the team wanted to extend this into a beauty event and capitalise on the category growth. “The beauty category in Australia is growing rapidly, supercharged by the pandemic with almost 40 per cent growth in online sales but only $1.3 billion or 11 per cent of sales are currently generated online,” Yanny noted.  

The key was marketing the Beauty Drop in an elevated way to avoid being deemed as another cheap sale. That's where influencer marketing came in. 

“We know the brands well, so we’re careful to portray them in a way that elevates their profile.”

Many beauty brands are sensitive about the perception of price and being on sale, and if they do go on sale, they want to be more discreet about it. There's some real challenges in that.”  

Traffic and sales figures from the 48-hour event signalled consumers value the opportunity to shop directly with their favourite beauty brands. “The end result was we essentially generated an entire new stream of revenue for our clients that didn't exist before,” Yanny said.  

Tapping into beauty influencers and content creators, the event marketing would speak directly to engaged audiences. The approach was also to pair certain influencers with brands to generate a tailored, specific approach to communicating messaging to followers.  

Yanny said the interested database of customers gave the agency a new channel for marketing directly to those demonstrating tangible interest in beauty products.  

“We’ve got this great asset we’re building of deeply engaged people who directly respond when we have something to share with them. And we'll continue to grow and leverage that as we continue to develop the BeautyDrop further,” he said.  

It’s also shown him the value, for brands, of seeing the agency as your partner in growth. “It’s looking at your agency partner is an asset you can leverage and really go deep with them as your partner, rather than thinking of them as a supplier relationship. I think that approach can really bear beautiful fruit,” Yanny added.    

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