CMO One-to-One: Zazzle's Visuals Help Convert Millennials - eMarketer

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CMO One-to-One: Zazzle's Visuals Help Convert Millennials

April 13, 2016

Nizzi Karai Renaud

Zazzle is an online marketplace that since 2005 has offered consumers the opportunity to personalize products ranging from coffee mugs to iPhone cases, skateboards to stationery. eMarketer’s Tricia Carr spoke with Nizzi Karai Renaud, the company’s chief marketing officer, about Zazzle’s most effective marketing tools and how it converts millennial shoppers.

eMarketer: In what ways does Zazzle target millennials?

Nizzi Karai Renaud: We’ve made an investment in the visual nature of our site. Storytelling is a buzzword and a lot of people talk about it, but for millennials we found that the visual piece—honing our photography and creative assets—helped attract and convert millennials.

eMarketer: What type of marketing do millennials respond to best?

Renaud: The visual aspect goes hand in hand with real-time marketing. Our designers react to a topic or trend quickly and we adjust our homepage. For example, when Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl, we started seeing related designs pop up and we immediately featured those on our homepage. The millennial audience appreciates when we react and adjust accordingly. It helps us stay on top of the trends.

eMarketer: What is Zazzle’s approach to real-time marketing?

Renaud: Our designers react in the moment, and the products are made on demand. On the marketing end, we take those designs and react accordingly across different channels. That ability to adjust and monitor is one of the reasons why, even within our marketing organization, our social folks sit next to our merchandisers. We stay on top of things as they happen.

“I’m a believer in good old-fashioned surveying of the customer and asking them what they want and who they are.”

eMarketer: What’s your advice for ecommerce brands that don’t have a physical storefront?

Renaud: Lately, the trend in ecommerce is about big data. There are many pieces of marketing technology and tech providers out there that cover every part of the funnel. There’s a focus on big data, analyzing that data and predicting what the customer is going to do.

But I’m a believer in good old-fashioned surveying of the customer and asking them what they want and who they are. It can go hand in hand with quantitative metrics, but you don’t see enough of those open-ended questions. Don’t be afraid of an open-ended question that can’t be easily quantified.

The customer, their mood and their media habits change quickly. If you’re not constantly looking at those things, you have a view of your customer that, even at a year old, can be quite different than the reality. It’s worthwhile to have those check-ins.

eMarketer: At present what is Zazzle’s most powerful marketing tool?

Renaud: Given the wide range of designs and products on Zazzle, we think about the long tail and immediate need. Customers finding us via search continues to be a powerful tool for us. If you have a specific need, like, ‘I want pink elephant baby shower invitations,’ and you search, we’re going to come up.

Now that product listing ads [PLAs] have started, those are becoming a bigger part of the search mix. We’ve doubled down on PLAs specifically due to the visual aspect, which speaks to what Zazzle is about.

eMarketer: What’s a new tactic for Zazzle that has seen positive results?

Renaud: This past holiday season, we did testing with display ads on social, specifically on Facebook and Instagram. Custom holiday cards are a big product for us. If you have great pictures on Facebook and Instagram, it makes sense to use those platforms as a vehicle to move that product and do testing. We are pleased with the results.

The delivery method—using social as an advertising platform—wasn’t the only part that was new for us. It was also our attribution model. We think about things from a last-click perspective, but should we be thinking differently? We played around with the attribution model a bit to make sure that we were driving the results we wanted to see.

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