LOS ANGELES: TOMS, the footwear and accessories brand, is tapping marketing resources such as digital data and “micro-influencers” as it endeavors to reach young consumers and niche audiences.

Mondy Herndon, who served as TOMS’ VP/Ecommerce, Digital Marketing and CRM before joining The Honest Company in November 2017, discussed this subject at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Shop.org Conference.

Celebrities, Herndon reported, played an early role in helping TOMS’ achieve prominence after launching in 2006, reflecting what writer Malcolm Gladwell calls “the law of the few”, where a small group of people influence many others.

More recently, Herndon said, the brand has found success with a different slate of influencers: “The law of the few, for us, has become the law of the micro-many, because we’re finding that micro-influencers can be more powerful than a handful of celebrities.” (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: TOMS’ formula for connecting with young consumers.)

Through social listening, TOMS discovered that highly specific designs on its shoes – such as patterns inspired by the colourful products of Lisa Frank or the Periodic Table of Elements – could appeal to granular consumer pockets.

“We targeted people, both millennials and Gen Z, [plus] students, teachers, scientists, sustainability activists. We did not target current customers. We did not target shoe buyers,” Herndon said of the shoes featuring the Periodic Table.

“This shoe was the fastest selling of our men’s shoes to date … We do a lot of these kitschy print shoes, and usually men don’t buy them. But this one sold out. So we thought, ‘Maybe we’re on to something here’.”

Similarly, the nostalgic designs inspired by Lisa Frank attracted particular audiences. “We targeted fans of Starbucks’ unicorn drink,” Herndon said.

“We targeted women who were using unicorn makeup and tagging themselves on Instagram and sharing on Facebook, and then we targeted Lisa Frank fans.”

The result? “We had a 100% sell-through in three days,” Herndon said. And both of these examples suggested that “data will point you in the right direction. Context is going to give you relevancy.

“But really listening to, and emotionally [connecting] with, prospective audiences can help you to uncover new and loyal customers.”

Sourced from WARC