Benefit Cosmetics shifts social focus from sales to engagement

Benefit Cosmetics is shifting its digital marketing strategy to focus on engagement, rather than sales, and linking up its offline and online message as it looks to prove the beauty industry can be fun, rather than intimidating.

Video: Benefit’s recent Pore O’Clock campaign led to a 53 per cent increase in sales

Speaking to Marketing Week, Benefit’s marketing director Hannah Webley Smith says the brand previously hasn’t done enough to link its digital and experiential campaigns. However, it is now looking to “make the most” of its marketing budget by linking the two platforms to get across a message that the beauty industry, rather than being intimidating, can be fun.

Benefit also wants to engage more with its customers having previously used digital and social media as sales-led platforms. Webley Smith says the brand is changing focus to “act more like a friend”, encouraging two-way conversations and getting users to generate their own content.

“We have been growing at a phenomenal rate….but we forgot that we have a whole host of people desperate to be engaged by us. This year we want to make sure we lead in social and digital,” she says.

Webley Smith credits the success of the two campaigns it has already launched this year for the shift in marketing strategy. The first, “Pore O’Clock”, ran in January and encouraged users to get a make-up touchup at 4 o’clock at one of its counters.

That was the brand’s biggest digital campaign to date, helping increase sales of its Porefessional product by 53 per cent in the month, compared to the previous year. The second, “Brow Arch March”, has seen the brand have as many visits to its brow bar in the first week of the campaign as it would usually get in a month, with all money raised going to the “Look Good Feel Better” campaign.

Next up is a focus on its mascara in June and July to support a “very exciting” franchise extension and a partnership with Luna Cinemas to bring its products to people that attend outdoor cinema screenings. There will not, however, be any above-the-line campaigns or celebrity-packed ads.

“The phrase that makes everything hang together is ‘Making the brand famous’. This is not about ads or celebrities but making sure we are working really hard to amplify our message to customers and get them talking about what the brand is up to,” she adds.