Thursday, January 14, 2010

Avon's Mark Brand Uses Social Media to Promote Grass-Roots Sales

The Avon brand is the archetype of traditional grass-roots marketing. And according to a recent article in the New York Times, Avon has been expanding their grass-roots business model to the youth and young adult market with their brand Mark

Avon's attempt to reach the youth market focuses on three key components:

  • A celebrity spokeswoman, Lauren Conrad, former star of MTV's reality show "The Hills"
  • Mark Representatives, i.e. the younger version of Avon Ladies
  • A "Social Beauty" campaign to strengthen the brand and promote representatives through Facebook, blogs, an iPhone application, and other social media tools

According to Annemarie Frank, director of digital media and strategic alliance of Mark at Avon, “Mark Girls can advertise their ability to sell products right on their Facebook profiles, and the widget functionality of Mark’s e-shop enables us to drop the shop into other places to give the brand a presence wherever people hang out online."

Individual representatives are encouraged to get creative with their individual campaigns. Last fall, Mark Rewards Program advertised a contest for all-expense-paid trips to the Sundance Film Festival for the two highest-selling Mark Girls. One representative, Hannah Parish, created a Facebook event, “Send Hannah to Sundance,” and invited 600 people in her network to join, as part of her strategy. She sold $6,000 worth of products and won the contest.

Mark's social media strategy works well because it is consistent with the company's overall strategy. Additionally, Mark does a great job of giving its representatives both tools and incentives, and then gets out of the way. It trusts that Mark Girls to promote the brand in an effective way that resonates with their local communities while also providing a larger framework and message. I think it is a great model that other large corporations, not only direct selling companies, could learn from.

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