How L’Oreal Tracks the Consumer Path to Purchase

All of the consumer data available in the online universe has revealed the consumer path to purchase which, rather than a linear sales funnel, is often a long and winding road. At this year’s OMMA Social in New York, Jason Yau showed how L’Oreal’s Professional Products Division (PPD) is using InfiniGraph on their Redken and Pureology brands and leveraging content to steer the social team structure, strategy, and approach.

“Social media isn’t a fad, it’s a culture shift” – Gary Vaynerchuk


L’Oreal knows that there is an ongoing conversation happening around their brands 24/7.

They use 4 tenets on their social properties

  • Create conversation
  • Intercept
  • Monitor
  • Curate

One of the biggest challenges that organizations face today in social media is “social capacity”.   Social capacity is the degree to which a brand can effectively engage in social discovery, strategy, and management.   All this is used by the brands to curate and steer an audience in a positive direction.

New Consumer Path to Purchase
Going beyond the traditional sales funnel, there is a new path to purchase.  Understanding the consumer’s path to purchase requires following them through 4 touch points.  At L’Oreal, the product consideration phase is serious because the consumer is discovering something new or making a connection.    People spend a lot of time in the consideration phase engaging their stylist, media sources and their friends moving them from being  interested to a desire to try the product “evaluation”.

Image

The extensive evaluation process is one of L’Oreal’s key focus points since people are searching for pier to pier recommendations, prompting them to buy.  Evaluation is a very collaborative process and also involves more content discovery.   The buy side is not the end of the cycle, it’s only the beginning.   The next stage is creating brand advocates that have an emotional connection.   A carefully nurtured evangelist is required to spread out the target brand’s DNA to the salons and the consumers.    Using an authentic tone and voice will perpetuate the organic reach and referrals that can last a lifetime.

Here is the Professional Products Division’s Social Marketing Task Force vision statement: “In two years, social strategies will be integrated across all owned, earned and paid Professional Products Division marketing programs to engage the salon community and influencing consumers to visit salons and build brand loyalty among all our customers.”

Maximize Your Social Capacity
How does a brand maximize their social capacity? By first understanding their strategy of engagement and what they mean to the consumer.   A brand must have a clear understanding of what is happening in their industry, what content is working, and be able to answer the “What and Why” before they  can create content marketing plans and truly have an understanding of the audience’s willingness to engage.
The problem is bridging the gap between content and customer service. It is very critical but without clear strategy and understanding of the consumer passion points you’re just guessing.   At the Professional Products Division group, L’Oreal has a 20 person team as part of their “Content Factory” building great content and they clearly understand that “Content is King”.   Using this fact, the team strives to create innovation out of the box with social angled content measuring what works and is being continuously altered.

Reach Fans With The Right Content At The Right Time
All brands should have a content calendar and scheduling capabilities.  How does this work?   Each month the Professional Products Division has a clear plan on product marketing and cause marketing. Monthly they change their theme.    Every department knows that social engagement is at the heart of the plan.    They have to think “social by design”, which is  a term coined by Facebook. This means that the audience actually cares and will share.   For L’Oreal, this is a corporate wide shift in everything they do, with social at the heart of their initiatives.

As content is king,  using InfiniGraph’s latest release 2.7 and Hypercuration™ L’Oreal is looking at the Redken and Pureology fan bases to hone in on their interests and analyze what content types and sources are achieving the highest resonance.   Highly relevant content is then segmented, filtered, and pushed in real time to the L’Oreal content factory.    Those resonating, editorial content items are then socially re-angled and pushed out, providing an internal streamlined process that continuously builds more discovery of highly relevant and engaging content.

See all the slides here.