2020 was a difficult year for plans. Many brands tossed out long-term plans while accelerating others. With 2021 just around the corner, Jeremy Lowenstein, CMO of MeUndies, spoke at our monthly Glossy+ Talk event about how he’s planning for the new year, prioritizing for the year, and best taking advantage of the changing way customers are shopping and interacting with brands.
MeUndies’ plan, according to Lowenstein, centered on three things: audience growth, branding and retention. Each requires its own unique strategy to stay ahead, and much of Lowenstein’s advice was focused on embracing new platforms, staying flexible and always making sure you have enough budget saved for testing new ideas.
Lowenstein said that, while many brands have remained focused on existing and established platforms like Facebook and Instagram, brands need to branch out and experiment with new platforms, as well.
“We will always have Facebook and Instagram as part of our media spend, for sure,” Lowenstein said. “But we’ve been keeping an eye on newer and growing platforms like TikTok or even out-of-home, because that’s where our customers are going and we want to follow them. We owe it to our customers to take stock of how they engage with the world and make sure we match that.”
He said TikTok is in a similar situation that Snapchat was in five years ago, where it has an extremely large user base and is in the cultural zeitgeist, but it’s still figuring out exactly how to monetize, with ad models changing regularly. He said brands using TikTok should expect to be learning alongside the platform how to best reach an audience there.
On top of that, Lowenstein also mentioned direct mail as a channel MeUndies is looking to increasingly invest into in 2021. Bi-folds and catalogs will be the main format.
While many brands have toned down their holiday marketing’s levels of cheer in acknowledgement of the difficulties many people are still going through this year, Lowenstein said MeUndies is still sticking with a cheerful message. The brand is, however, trying to be much more conscious of diversity and inclusion within its campaigns.
Lowenstein said his focus is increasingly shifting to experiential efforts, which he defines broadly as anything from a pop-up shop to an online Zoom event.
“For me, experiential is just any way you can engage the customer in a new way,” Lowenstein said. “Drive-in movies made a big come back this year, that’s experiential. It’s part of our job as marketers to think outside the box and find these areas outside of traditional marketing channels where we can meet the customer.”
As a subscription business, Lowenstein said retention is both more difficult and more important than acquisition for MeUndies. And so far, the brand has been successful. There are more than 200,000 MeUndies customers who have bought more than 20 pairs of underwear. The key there, he said, is making the best use of available channels to keep those customers engaged.
“Text is the new email,” Lowenstein said. “Email retention is really high, but texting, the way brands are doing it now, is even better. It used to all be about push notifications, abandoned cart opportunities and such. But now we’re using it much more as a person-to-person tool, and that’s been growing a lot.”
Overall, Lowenstein said it’s important for brands, if they are able, to not shy away from spending on innovation and experimentation. While the last year was traumatic for many, it’s also been a time of great change in how consumers are shopping. Brands need to meet that change head on.
“This is not the time to pull back from your spend,” he said. “Reinvest in your purpose. There was a lot happening this year, but 2021 presents a lot of opportunity.”
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