No one would recommend starting a business as a pandemic hits. Yet that’s just what happened with beauty business, Boost Lab. Moving rapidly from the original retail concept to online was less of a pivot and more of a necessity for the brand.
With the original concept to grow the brand and sales through retail stores and online, the retailer suddenly needed to become a digital-first business from the outset.
“Our early work in retail outlets included chemists, but Covid reset that expectation. Our plans for expanding these retail arrangements and partnerships were shelved early in 2020 and the move to digital became our primary focus,” Boost Lab CEO, Craig Schweighoffer, said.
Today, digital remains core to the business, even as the brand plans to open concessions and its own stores in the near future. Now boasting of a solid digital foundation, the expansion into retail will be about incremental revenue and customers.
“Digital is here to stay because it supports our brand promise, which is very powerful and straightforward: Providing quality skincare and accessible price points in a simple way. Digital in particular makes that promise meaningful to customers,” Schweighoffer told CMO.
On the innovation front, a selfie-based artificial intelligence (AI)-powered skin analyser provides customers with skin information and the brand with data that is already partially qualified.
“We can communicate with and engage with that person, with their permission, from day one,” Schweighoffer said.
It’s just one example of bringing together technology and a consumer product. “That attention to detail – creating value and creating digital connectedness – reflects our approach to business.”
Building its marketing chops
From the outset, Boost Lab knew it needed to build brand and market credentials in the serious skincare space. For its target market, women aged 25-35, this initially meant utilising influencers to seed the market with product and to create awareness.
“We were successful at building our credentials in that space, but I think the world has moved on,” Schweighoffer commented. “Our best work with influencers comes in fact from those who enjoy using the product, and that authenticity is clear to and of course very powerful with our customers. In the influencer world, you just don’t get any cut-through unless you’re authentic. »
From there, Boost Lab is investing more in search and social media to drive traffic to its website.
« We were approaching the stage where we wanted to take things to the next level, » Schweighoffer said. « At that point in any company’s history, marketing evolves to being focused on spend, about maximising the use of creative work.”
The brand has worked with Digivizer to use data as the basis for digital marketing decision making. The approach includes measuring what channels have worked best, how that changes with creative, product or audience demographic, plus the degree of refinement of targeting messages to these audiences.
Before Digivizer, Schweighoffer said his team were on top of metrics, such as return on advertising spend, and cost per acquisition in particular. These measurements all played their part in working out how to increase spend. But it was a clumsy and difficult process.
« We need all the things Digivizer can capture and analyse, in an efficient way, so that I can make spending decisions that take us to the next level. Now we can spend wisely, with creativity that resonates and that we can tell is effective,” he said.
Having Digivizer underneath its platform aids real-time decision making. Looking ahead, Boost Lab’s priorities are to watch for the moment when performance starts to taper off. As Schweighoffer put it, brands have always got to be testing.
Taking a deep dive into data
Being able to break down overall performance to look at what’s working, and perhaps more importantly, what’s underperforming, has sharpened the brand’s ability to take strategic decisions.
“I’ve always relied on data to help me make decisions throughout my career, so being able to see everything in one place plays to my strengths, » Schweighoffer said. « In seeking to move faster, we knew we had to do something different with our content and our digital marketing to get more cut-through. We knew that to do more of the same, expecting a different result, wasn’t going to work.”
When it comes to ROI, Boost Lab is focused on return on advertising spend (ROAS) as a broad play. “That for us is a measure of average order value,” Schweighoffer said.
« The measure I like is cost per acquisition, the cost of acquiring the customer we need, which is also a measure of how efficient we are. We’re definitely more efficient with the Digivizer app.”
Digivizer co-founder and CEO, Emma Lo Russo, told CMO that when it comes to ROI,
the most important measurement and data set is ultimately defined by the business objective.
“Most businesses should have financial returns somewhere in their measurements, and so conversions, along with cost-per-conversion, and data such as links to websites, all become important,” Lo Russo said. “Different data delivers different insights and different metrics reflect progress and returns at different stages of the sales and marketing funnel, top to bottom.”
Whether it’s digital-first business or more traditional bricks-and-mortar retail brands extending into a stronger online business, “strategy and data drive the move online, and data continues to inform the decision companies make”, Lo Russo said.
For Digivizer, removing the complexity of comparing different data points across different touchpoints, whether that is Google or Facebook, has helped define attribution differently.
“Fundamentally, you do need to compare apples with apples. The problem comes from asking an orange vendor what its product is worth compared to an apple. They simply cannot answer that question,” Lo Russo said.
It’s also about being able to experiment by adding a new or different platform and adding that to the performance comparison mix. Recently, Boost Lab added TikTok to the paid media roster.
« If you don’t try, you’ll never know, so we decided to develop some creative with the TikTok advertising and business development teams, and we discussed how TikTok might work for a company in the skin care space. Can we get top of funnel top awareness, people coming to our site, can we convert and get a sale out of it?” said Schweighoffer.
« We’re still trying to work those things out but it’s very efficient for the top of the funnel, with a very good cost-per-click. And if we can see the performance continue, the likely plan will be to throttle up spend on TikTok, though it’s important to us to have as broad a spread as is sensible across multiple platforms. »
Whether it’s online, out-of-home or social, Boost Lab is using data to compare performance for the same creative across a range of platforms to understand where it performs best, and where customers enjoy its output the most.
« If I can control it and measure it, and improve on it, then I know where to increase spending, and get a better result,” Schweighoffer added.