When Nars Cosmetics wanted to better understand its customers, it turned to personalized lifestyle quizzes to beef up its consumer data as part of its CRM strategy.

Historically, Nars had favored a very transactional marketing strategy, pushing products to potential and returning customers based on their browsing habits and purchase history on its global e-commerce sites, said Jennifer Jackson, Nars vp of global marketing. But, this meant that Nars did not fully understand who the consumer was, and there was little data to work with. In the fourth quarter of 2019, Nars decided to pivot its strategy from a transactional approach to a more data-centric strategy focused on engaging experiences. Nars specifically wanted to understand customer product preferences, skin tones and lifestyle information. Working with marketing software company Jebbit, Nars launched 20 digital experiences — nine of which were shared across all geo-specific e-commerce websites — intended to facilitate the personalization of marketing and digital communications.

“Ultimately, the goal is to continue to bring people back to NarsCosmetics.com and have them interact with the brand. We hope that by delivering a fun, gamified type of quiz in providing a recommendation, they’ll see the value in opting into our [email and social] communications,” said Jackson. Quizzes can be found under the site’s “Discover” menu tab.

To date, nearly 25% of all U.S. NarsCosmetics.com visitors have engaged with at least one Jebbit experience, such as a mobile-optimized blush recommendation quiz. These efforts have resulted in over 183,000 questions answered over the course of the experiences, leading to more than 379 hours of conversations with consumers. Over 57,000 data attributes from these quizzes added to 28,000 new and existing customer profiles.  Jonathan Lacoste, Jebbit co-founder and president, said these results are in-line with what its other clients have achieved, based on the size of the brand.

This strategy worked quite well for Nars, at first, but the approach got more complicated in March 2020 when Covid-19 spread across the globe. Nars deployed a single coronavirus-specific quiz in March, in order to determine appropriate brand content and the right cadence of emails, social posts and livestreamings. Approximately 1,380 people completed the quiz. The six-question quiz asked participants whether they were interested in one-on-one makeup artist consultations (33% said “yes”), whether they were interested in new product launches (90% said “yes”), and whether a Q&A with Nars founder Francois Nars would be of interest (65% said “yes”), among other questions.

According to Jackson, the quiz helped Nars navigate a global sensitive period in the short-term, while all 20 have a long-term impact as the brand gets insights into what customers want and what products to launch in the future. The coronavirus quiz drove a digital series on Instagram and through email on getting ready for Zoom dates in April, and the quiz results informed conversations with makeup artists that took place via Instagram Live. Jackson said customers were eager to engage with the brand outside of beauty topics like their favorite activities and music; quizzes on those topics had higher engagement and completion rates, compared to Jebbit and industry benchmarks. She attributed some of this to Covid-19 as people were spending more time online, but clarified that Nars does not have year-over-year data to discern an increased engagement rate.

The most recent experience, which debuted on July 29 for National Lipstick Day, is one example of how Nars has gathered lifestyle information and how eager shoppers are to engage with beauty brands about topics outside of cosmetics. A four-question quiz on the brand’s e-commerce site asked people to pick one of four activities, song choices, superpowers and go-to lip colors before prompting users to either opt-in to email communications to receive their answers or receive one of four recommended shades without doing so. Approximately 30% of people opted in, and the lipstick quiz immediately generated a follow-up email which saw a 70% open rate and a 14% click-through rate in Canada. Since the beginning of its relationship with Jebbit, Nars has been developing a new Jebbit-powered experience approximately twice a month.

“Consumers are expecting and demanding personalization, but at the same time, everyone is really sensitive about privacy and data collection,” said Lacoste.

Branded quizzes are not a new concept, but creating them at scale where they can be created and deployed quickly across a brand’s website, social media and email is the next evolution of usage for Nars. For example, the customer could inform Nars through an embedded Jebbit experience in a paid-social Instagram campaign that they never buy blush, and would then not be shown blush products when they visit NarsCosmetics.com.

“There is such high expectation of personalized experiences from customers that being able to stitch that approach together in an omnichannel way across the customer journey is what most brands are pushing for right now,” said Lacoste.