Group Vice President, Digital/New Media & Multicultural Marketing
Social paid advertising and real-time marketing are changing the way retailers strategize their campaigns. Jennifer Kasper, group vice president of digital, new media and multicultural marketing at Macy’s, spoke with eMarketer’s Rimma Kats about how the retailer is approaching social media, as well as the key role Pinterest will play in its 2014 efforts.
eMarketer: How important is social to Macy’s?
Jennifer Kasper: Like many brands, social is of growing importance to us because it’s important to our customer. It’s where she’s spending an increasing amount of time. It’s where the hub of her relationships are being managed and where she’s learning about new things and what’s trending in general in her life—whether it’s a fashion trend or entertainment news.
It’s important for us to be there as a brand—to be chiming in as much as it’s appropriate and facilitating ways that she can share information. We’ve added “Pin it” buttons and are encouraging consumers to share and like from Macys.com. We’re also getting increasingly comfortable with customers taking pictures of things in our stores and sharing them with their mobile devices. We want to encourage that sort of behavior because we see it being beneficial to our business, and that kind of positive word-of-mouth comes out of social media.
“We’re getting increasingly comfortable with customers taking pictures of things in our stores and sharing them with their mobile devices.”
eMarketer: When it comes to paid social advertising, will it be a necessary part of your arsenal in 2014?
Kasper: We definitely see the value of investing in amplifying our social publishing through various channels. We are very curious about how paid media will be incorporated into Pinterest and Instagram, because it gives us an opportunity to find a larger audience with the publishing we’re very proud of. So it is an essential part of our mix now because it allows us to reach our customer in new and relevant ways.
eMarketer: Will you be focusing more on Pinterest and Instagram going forward?
Kasper: As social channels become more visual and as we see authentic images working more effectively to communicate with our customers, we’re very excited that those are platforms we might be able to tap into differently. We’re convinced Pinterest is a place where social shopping can actually take place and is actually taking place.
So figuring out how we drive our business through Pinterest is a focus of ours in 2014. It doesn’t diminish the importance of Facebook and Twitter. I think this happens to be an area where our customer is spending more time, and it’s complementing all the other media we’re running, so it’s almost a “more is more” type of proposition.
eMarketer: Native advertising has definitely taken off. Where do you see it going next year?
Kasper: It’s another area we’re exploring. We’re very curious about it. We think the consumer is very sophisticated and understands when she’s being marketed to. So we want to explore opportunities in native advertising in a way that is transparent and that gives the consumer credit for being very smart and capable of discerning what advertising is and what editorial content is, as well as knowing that there are inappropriate ways the line is blurring a little bit.
We’re being very careful in our testing and are doing it in a way we think produces content that is inherently interesting and relevant to the consumer. This fall, we’ve been testing a partnership with StyleHaul on YouTube. We’re really encouraged by not only the content we produced together, but the response we’ve gotten from consumers. And we see that sort of thing being part of our arsenal going forward.
“Figuring out how we drive our business through Pinterest is a focus of ours in 2014.”
eMarketer: How much social advertising will be created—bottom-placed—in real time?
Kasper: We planned some of it in order to do as much spontaneously as we can. So we know there are a number of campaigns planned for the spring season where social publishing will be a huge part of it, and we’ll support that publishing with media. We know that the more we can plan in advance, the more we can respond spontaneously as things happen that our customers would be interested in and where we want to insert ourselves into the conversation in the moment.
eMarketer: Will paid social media and advertising budgets continue to grow?
Kasper: Possibly. I think what’s more likely is that we will become more efficient. We’re learning more, we are surer of ourselves, and we know what’s worth investing in. Facebook recently made an announcement about its partnership with Acxiom and what’s going to be possible in terms of using data. We’re very interested in exploring that opportunity. And what [Facebook is] offering right now in terms of paid media is going to evolve by the end of 2013, let alone in 2014, so we’re trying to keep an open mind.
eMarketer: What trends will be most important next year when it comes to paid social advertising?
Kasper: I think what is going to become even more apparent is that in social platforms, the quality of publishing—the quality of the content—will dictate the effectiveness of the paid media. So whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter, it still has to start with good content, and then that is what will function as good paid media.