Asos on why digital must be a balance between mass reach and targeting

The fashion brand’s head of marketing analytics says brands should not prioritise targeting as a strategy and ignore reach.

With 51% of its sales now coming through a mobile device and an ecommerce platform built around the likes of Instagram, Asos knows a thing or two about being a digital first brand.

And according to Celina Burnett, head of marketing analytics, the key to success in social and digital channels is about achieving a balance between mass reach and targeting. In an interview with Marketing Week, Burnett claimed marketers often fail as they get too preoccupied choosing one over the other.

She explains: “The question of reach versus relevance is a big debate right now and this trade off between achieving long-term and short-term success. But just because personalisation results in useful customer data doesn’t mean you should prioritise targeting as a strategy and ignore reach.

“You need to use both in tandem. Often the conversation is about choosing reach or relevance but you need a balance of the two, that’s obvious.”

Through its #AsSeenOnMe campaign, the community is embedded into the heart of the Asos website. It works by allowing anybody who posts a photo on Instagram and Twitter wearing an Asos product utilising the hashtag to have their photo appear on a product page. Burnett says it’s a good example of balancing mass reach and targeting.

She explains: “It is about build a community around the advocates of Asos.

“This creates value both in terms of empowering the specific person who posts the photo and making them feel special but equally it creates value for the rest of the community too as it means they can see a recommendation from a fellow advocate. For us, it is all about creating peer-to-peer stylists.”

However, if a customer feels taking part in hashtags such as #AsSeenOnMe is just a transparent attempt for a brand to gather data then it will cause more damage than good.

“As a brand it isn’t the right approach to just think about getting data,” she adds. “It is more what can we achieve and what is the value exchange there. If somebody is going to provide data for Asos, we must provide something valuable in return.’

In terms of the future trends that most excite the fashion ecommerce giant, Burnett lists video as well as data becoming more aligned with research.

She concludes: “Video and rich media is a key area for sure. As a brand it is all about focusing on where customers engage and are consuming, and video is key to the future in terms of how our target audiences are communicating and touching.

“Ensuring research works side by side with every other data source we also become imperative. You cannot afford to think about them in silo anymore.”



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