On Tuesday evening, Glossy and subscription payments platform Recharge brought together founders, executives, and tastemakers within the wellness industry to talk about current industry trends and challenges over dinner at New York’s Ci Siamo restaurant.
The conversation picked up with several sexual and women’s wellness brand execs discussing the ongoing issue of online advertising restrictions and the pressing challenge of acquisition. Overall, acquisition and retention were the primary challenges that all invited brand executives said they’re facing. Sexual wellness company executives said their teams have turned to avenues like podcast ads, influencers, affiliate e-commerce stories, Google ads and Pinterest to operate more freely. But sexual and women’s wellness brands must also contend with combatting stigmas, a whole other level of complexity.
“We have to find very creative ways to talk about [our brand] and to target [customers] with ads,” said one attendee. “With Google’s new algorithm [changes] … we have good retention, but now we have problems acquiring new customers.”
Some brand executives explained that acquisition is not the issue, but retention is. The big issue several people noted is a lack of effective marketing stating why a product should be used or considered always, instead of restricted to a problem-solution, one-time scenario. The challenge also involves increasing customers’ basket size from one problem-solution product to other complementary portfolio items. Customers will only do that if they understand the connection between one product and another and why the products are complimentary and necessary. But bridging that gap in a noisy environment is increasingly difficult and expensive.
Attendees said using UGC to amplify a brand’s message works for some companies. By making it fashionable and cool to use a brand, more people are willing to share that they use it, creating a flywheel effect. But of course, the challenge within this solution is getting everyday people to evangelize a brand for free. Some brand incentivizes UGC creation by offering discounts for their next purchase or even repurposing heartfelt and positive customer reviews as another form of UGC. Reviews were frequently cited as a powerful tool in paid advertising, as a means to getting customers to convert. Additionally, affiliate marketing through publications was noted as a strong way to drive sales conversion, with the Daily Mail receiving a surprising callout from a few brands for its effectiveness.
“Finding an authentic person that connects with our brand and using them in a generous affiliate program across multiple products has been working really well,” said another attendee. “On the affiliate editorial side, the Daily Mail converts like crazy. We got 6x ROAS as one feature, and it was all from New York, so New Yorkers must love the Daily Mail.”