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L’Oréal Expert Interview: Why Millennial Attitudes Make People-Based Marketing a Necessity

April 03, 2018 - By Ginna Hall, Senior Writer, Visual IQ

L’Oréal Expert Interview: Why Millennial Attitudes Make People-Based Marketing a Necessity

Marketers must embrace a paradigm shift: they must stop targeting personas and start targeting people. People-based marketing is the ability to identify customers and prospects across channels and devices so you can deliver more relevant -- and effective -- messages.

“By 2020, Generation Z will become the largest consumer group in the US and Europe. They’re driven by psychology, emotion, and authenticity. And they’re more educated and tech-savvy than ever.”

But if you want to deliver on a people-based marketing strategy, you must use people-based measurement. People-based measurement helps companies shift from a brand-centric, top-down approach to a customer-centric, data-driven approach.

Shirley Liu L'OrealWe asked Shirley Liu, VP of Marketing & Digital at L’Oréal, why the need for people-based measurement is so great. She is a global marketing executive with years of strategic brand management for luxury beauty companies including L’Oréal and Estée Lauder in France, the UK, and the Asia-Pacific region.

The World’s Leading Beauty Brand

Over the past 100+ years, L’Oréal has built a unique international portfolio of thirty-four diverse and complementary brands that generated sales of $31.65 billion USD/25.8 billion EUR in 2016. L’Oréal is distributed via all networks: mass market, department stores, pharmacies and drugstores, hair salons, travel retail, branded retail and e-commerce.

Research and innovation, and a dedicated research team of 3,870 people, are at the core of L’Oréal’s strategy. L’Oréal’s sustainability commitment for 2020 “Sharing Beauty With All” sets out ambitious sustainable development objectives across the Group’s value chain.

Here are excerpts from our interview with L’Oréal’s Shirley Liu. To read the complete interview and see what seven other experts recommend for a people-based approach, download our ebook: 8 Experts on How to Measure People-Based Marketing Impact.

Why Millennial Attitudes Make People-Based Marketing a Necessity

The purchasing power of millennials and the generations that follow is growing daily. These under-35-year-old consumers seek tailored experiences they can connect with in an authentic, emotional way.

By 2020, Generation Z will become the largest consumer group in the US and Europe—40% of the population according to some estimates—not to mention in Asia and the rest of the world. This means that companies who wish to connect with the next wave of consumers need to adjust how they market to them or be phased out.

“Baby Boomers and Generation Xers are very pragmatic. They tend to be focused on securing value,” explains Shirley Liu, vice president of marketing and digital at L’Oréal. “The millennials and the following generations, Generation Z and Generation Alpha, use different logic. They’re true to themselves. They’re driven by psychology, emotion, and authenticity. And they’re more educated and tech-savvy than ever.”

L'Oreal header

As a result, they expect a personalized customer experience, which makes people-based marketing and measurement a necessity. “It’s not a question of whether you’re relevant anymore in this landscape. It’s a question of survival,” she says.

L’Oréal understands that today’s young consumers will soon make up the majority of the world’s growth, so building on its consumer-centric heritage, it has been further accelerating to a people-based, customer psyche-focused strategy. This shift has, in turn, changed everything from product development to digital marketing to the retail environment.

For example, members of the marketing team used to take a top-down approach, determining which trends L’Oréal would promote before each season. Now, the brand invites digital-native consumers to participate in the product-development process.

Digital marketing and the rise of social media platforms as a new form of media channel have drastically changed the company’s tools for measuring impact and media strategy. Monitoring how those campaigns succeed gives L’Oréal new insights into its customers and prospects, and aligns marketing with the growing need to personalize the customer experience.

Today, L’Oréal’s marketing team sees social sharing as, in essence, one of the new currencies for people-based marketing. When consumers attend an event at a retail store and “talk” about it online by posting or sharing photos, that’s a signal that Liu and her team are achieving their goals.

L'Oreal Counter

“The more it was shared, the more that’s an indicator to mature brands like us that we’re speaking in the right language and we have reached the young consumer in a way that was exciting to them. Online buzz has a ROI and reach that helps us tap into audiences that traditional media can no longer reach. The two complement each other, and when played correctly through precision marketing, are very powerful.”

Despite the generational shift toward a personalized customer experience, Liu sees that many marketing teams still focus their messaging on non-people based value. Companies that recognize the new, customer-focused paradigm are more likely to succeed. With a shift to people-based marketing and measurement, forward-thinking brands can begin optimizing their messages and offers to appeal to the next generation and beyond.

Learn More

To read the complete interview and see what seven other experts recommend for a people-based approach, download our ebook: 8 Experts on How to Measure People-Based Marketing Impact.

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