Expert View: 'Every Comment Is A Chance To Talk With A Customer And Learn'

We sat down with Bob Purcell, Chief Marketing Officer at Purity Cosmetics, 100% PURE


Bob Purcell is currently the Chief Marketing Officer at Purity Cosmetics, 100% PURE - a natural and organic cosmetics beauty firm dedicated to providing healthy skin care, color cosmetics plus bath and body products. A proven B2C and B2B sales and marketing executive, Bob has a diverse track record of driving profitable revenue growth from pre-revenue stage to $1.4+ billion dollars in sales, including creating and transforming new industries and categories. Bob has delivered over $64 million EBITDA, annually. Bob is also a Hall of Fame Creative and Search Engine Marketer of The Year. He is equally adept with Data & Creative and Social & SEO. 

Ahead of his presentation at the Chief Marketing Officer Summit this May 24-25 in San Francisco, we sat down with Bob to talk digital marketing. 

Marketing leaders have had to adapt time and time again in recent years, for you, what has been the biggest change?

I think that it’s become harder to find dedicated mid-manager talent, reasonably versed in more than one marketing tool. Conversely, leadership needs to try much harder to understand and add value to every individual’s talent and skill base.

What approach have you taken to social media and how are you measuring your success? (brand awareness, clicks, shares etc.)

Beauty has been devoured by social media. It took PURE almost too long to own that reality as a firm and run to social’s roar. Social media is too important as a brand channel, quality control listening post, and sales channel not to be treated seriously by everyone as job one. At PURE we looked at revenue from social.

Every comment is a chance to talk with a customer and learn. Friends take advice (then, buy) from friends, right? Per launchmetrics more so than from celebrities. So, it’s important to track the second and third level of everyday followers, who buy when their friend, or friend-of-a-friend posts to see the true social graph. Tribe Dynamics and help you do this well.

How are you successfully managing (and optimizing) a multichannel brand presence?

Launching new products first in stores with considerable lead time over online. Real world events with social influencers. And having a posting plan before, during and after real world events. You’ll need a database that lets you view your multichannel buyers. And you’ll need to give your customers ownership over your brand when they buying in-store and expressing their brand relationship online. Dunkin’, Chobani, and Audi are doing great stuff with their multichannel connections.

Retail must-must-must focus on improving retail theater and store level education.

How crucial is the role that data plays in your decision-making?

Data from inside and outside the firm is crucial in my decision-making process. First, let’s acknowledge that 'facts are friendly.' There can be a tendency for us all to look in the mirror and see either George Clooney or Scarlett Johansson as the case might be.

Always be looking at data. At PURE I was looking at first-time purchaser patterns and saw that over 100,000 first time customers had deflected in less than a year because of poor packaging and shipping practices. At Dunkin’ we used the fantastic futurist Faith Popcorn and her reading of metrics and macro sea changes to identify consumer values that led to the creation of 'Time to Make the Donuts' and later 'America Runs on Dunkin.' So, data doesn’t just come from Google Analytics.

How are you tracking your customers' journey and have you seen a change in browsing behaviors? (e.g. move to mobile, two-screens, etc.)

We’ve all tracked our customer’s journey from first visit to purchase, repurchase, cross-purchase, and ultimately referral. But, at the end of the day it's about your all-in cost of customer acquisition, and not underfunding mobile and re-targeting.

In browsing behaviors, rise of mobile visits, decline of desktop visits. Sometimes of epic proportions. First mobile visits rarely convert especially from Facebook, where re-targeting is key.

What measures are you taking to personalize your outreach? (localization, customer profiling etc.)

Let’s presume that marketing is personalizing all the things that they should; email, loyalty and rewards, site pathways.

Now let’s lean on technology to personalize your products. Take a page from, which completely can personalize your hair regime. Bring in a great UX/UI firm like Pearlfisher, Ammunition or Baker Street Partners to help you be more aggressive and objective.

What strategies are you using to increase your customer lifetime values?

Always put the customer experience first and make it as simple as possible to buy. Always be leery of price increases, but rather find cost and process to make your product better. Make sure that everyone across the firm knows; the cost of acquiring a first-time customer, what deflects repurchase, what an average lifetime value is, and what your highest value customers are. And, protect your flanks from competition with new products that are aligned with your core products.

New technology adoption and transforming staff practices can be a tricky process - what tips do you have to make this a success?

I try to find one person on the team who is good at one new whizeewig thing, let’s say 'assigning wing-men in Concur expense reports', and have them show the team at our Wednesday lunch sync-ups. Also, breaking out beers with engineering after 5 PM works wonders.

How do you maintain brand loyalty and meaningful engagement in the over-crowded digital space?

Make sure that you have an amazing user experience. The CEO and everyone else needs to put themselves in their customer’s shoes as a human being. Here’s an example. At SoFi, a San Francisco student lending refinance company, when one of their members loses their job SoFi immediately offers a resume and career consulting resource. Also, SoFi has customer parties for their customers to get to know each other since many of their customers are at similar life stages.

What do you foresee to be the biggest area of growth in marketing through 2017?

Shop-able Instagram.

You can hear more from Bob, along with other leading marketing executives, at the Chief Marketing Officer Forum this May 24-25 in San Francisco. To see the full lineup, click here.

Voice search

Read next:

How Emerging Technologies Can Change Mobile App Marketing