Taking risks is essential for any company to grow. Whether you are creating a new marketing campaign, pitching a new story, or taking on a new client, some risk is involved.
Jeff Steeves, SVP of Marketing at the online flash sale platform Rue La La, spoke at the monthly CMO Breakfast I attended about the creativity required to break into a new market. The Ad Club holds this event to encourage marketing and communications professionals to network and hear from industry leaders about important topics.
1. Make sure your solution addresses your problem
Smart Bargains created Rue La La to address a problem. They found that although business was okay, there was no customer loyalty. They saw flash sales as an opportunity to increase customer loyalty to their brand. They thought flash sales work because people enjoy the exclusivity of “limited quantity” or “limited time discount”, and they want to continue feeling like part of an elite group of people who can buy these items.
2. Don’t reinvent the wheel
Online flash sales were happening all over Europe, such as the French-based Vente-Privée. Instead of spending a lot of effort on coming up with a totally new concept, Smart Bargains decided to bring the flash sale concept to America, and alluded to its French origin with the name Rue La La. Instead of using their manpower to create and market a totally new concept, the company instead focused research on how to make this new concept work in the American market.
3. Go with your gut
Just launching Rue La La was a big risk. The founders ignored some of the feedback they got from focus groups prior to their launch. The focus groups found the platform to be confusing, as it wasn’t clear what the goal of the site was from the home page. They also objected to the site not having the search bar that everyone was so used to.
Smart Bargains was convinced that they didn’t need a search bar or to be public for Rue La La to work. They were confident making the site exclusive to members and knowing the timing of the sales were more important for people doing this style of shopping. They figured that people would understand it eventually, and they felt it was the right thing to do. Taking a risk and going with their gut paid off. The website actually crashed from all the traffic the launch generated.
4. Use feedback to make the changes your customers want
Being an online store, most of Rue La La’s interaction with customers comes through its customer service department. They deal with customers over the phone, as well as on social media. Every Friday, this department sends out Friday Feedback, which highlights the positive and negative feedback that they had received that week. Based off this consumer feedback, and other feedback they have from market research, Rue La La realized that they were seen as experts in the beauty field. This caused them to add their own content, Rue Now. With guest posts and graphics, they are now also seen as a one-stop shop for finding beauty and style products and learning how to use them.