Gwynnie Bee Built Its Own Trading Desk To Tailor Its Marketing

christine-hunsicker-gwynnie-beeFormer Right Media President Christine Hunsicker founded apparel company Gwynnie Bee in 2012 because she wanted to move to an industry that hadn’t yet been disrupted by data and technology.

Gwynnie Bee, which lets women wearing sizes 10-32 rent and return apparel, required efficient data use to run a balanced marketplace with supply and demand and operations, said Hunsicker, who spoke with AdExchanger after her panel at the American Magazine Media Conference on Wednesday.

The company also needed a data-driven marketing approach to attract subscribers and repeat customers instead of one-time clothing purchasers.

Gwynnie Bee does all its marketing in-house and built out a programmatic trading desk – a considered decision for Hunsicker.

“You have to decide whether or not it’s a core competency. For us, advertising is a core competency,” she said. Much of Gwynnie Bee’s digital spend goes to Google and Facebook.

For example, Gwynnie Bee realized it needed to devote more efforts to brand outside of digital and that it needed to focus more on beautiful creative in order to make its marketing sing.

“What we focused on first and foremost was the audience and bid optimization and not as much on the content and creative itself. Until those three work together, you’re not going to be efficient,” Hunsicker said. “We are investing more in the creative and the message and a thread that goes through a story, versus just the efficiency.”

Despite this focus on imagery, some beautiful platforms haven’t driven results.

Instagram hasn’t yet worked for Gwynnie Bee. “We haven’t cracked it,” Hunsicker said. “Either it’s better for influencers than direct brands, or it’s for more of a branding strategy.”

Pinterest also hasn’t been effective, because women can’t easily buy a dress they see and like on the platform. They must go the extra step to sign up for the entire service.

Gwynnie Bee’s focus on data led it not only to focus more on its advertising creative, but to expand beyond digital.

Hunsicker knew from her time at Right Media that its optimization algorithm assumed that if a user didn’t click on the first ad impression, she wasn’t likely to click at all. So it kept ad frequencies low. That algorithm made sense for big legacy brands with high name recognition.

But Gwynnie Bee, a digital-only brand, saw different results. “We saw that people weren’t clicking on Facebook until the fourth or fifth ad impression,” Hunsicker said. “We had no brand recognition, and [digital] was not a great medium to build a brand.”

So Gwynnie Bee added direct-response TV (DRTV), which was cheaper for brand building than digital.

“It is the most highly attributable format on TV, and it’s talked about in terms of cost per order seven minutes to 15 minutes after the program runs. When you have 30-second or 60-second spots running in so many places, it’s hard to do attribution,” Hunsicker said.

She expects to see more data-driven TV buys based on her DRTV success. “Moving to TV has created a positive halo effect on the rest of our digital channels,” she said.

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