The transition of Chicks-When 66 Year-old traditional brand meets Growth Marketing

April 5, 2020

We conduct an in-depth interview of the 66-year-old undergarment brand Chicks facing a transition in this article. Marketing/ New Business Development Manager Jennifer will also show how she used the concept of growth marketing to lead her team and make practical changes.

Hi Jennifer, thank you for accepting our interview, can you briefly tell us what problems you faced during the transition of your brand and your position?

The 66 Year-old HK brand Chicks is facing the obstacle of transition.

"Hi, I am Jennifer, the marketing manager from Chicks. Chicks has already been in Hong Kong’s thermal undergarment and children’s wear market for 66 years. Over time, we have been facing the problem of slowly losing our younger customers."

"3 years ago, we launched an online store for the first time in hope to attract young mothers ranging from 20-30 years old to buy our products. We also hoped that this would help revitalize our brand and promote sales."

"I am responsible for the promotion of both online/offline stores and adjusting brand marketing strategies. We shifted our promotional channel from TV ads to digital ads. My role was to lead my team to use the accumulated resources in our company to increase our competitiveness and transition towards the digital age."

As a marketing manager of a brand that is over 60 years old, why do you think traditional companies need growth marketing concepts?

"A lot of traditional companies are direct to customer brands, we must communicate closely with the mass consumer. Nowadays, the preferences of consumers change rapidly and since there is a large variety of products on the market, the competition has never been stronger. "

"If we stick to rigid and conventional marketing tactics and not face the changes happening in the market, our sales will drop significantly as I believe growth marketing is an essential concept in 'to C' Brands."

"More importantly, growth marketing emphasizes the core spirits of non-stop trial and error and iteration. There is no wrong way to market a product, but through experiments and optimization, you are able to find a better way to do so. I let my team try and experiment and I don't mind if they fail. I would rather they fail early, fail fast than being too scared of failure to try."

What is the largest change in your team after you learnt growth marketing?

"Internationally renowned consulting firm McKinsey’s latest report in 2019 says that “If you want to maintain your competitiveness as a company or individually in your field of work, on-the-job training is a must. Unlike in the past, managerial level staff will play an important leading role in learning.” This report also points out that “ It is difficult for mid to high-level managerial staff to learn new techniques as they have experienced a successful era of the company and it is difficult to give up one model that was once so successful. Moreover, it is quite easy to be intimidated by new technology."

"Jennifer points out the marketing team of Chicks appointed advertising agencies to run online advertisements. Usually, campaigns are only one-off basis and conducted only once every 6 months. However the market is ever-changing, it is impossible for a blueprint made half a year ago to fit the current market trend. In the past Chicks relied too much on agencies, implementing whatever strategies they gave us. "

"However, our own marketers are the ones who know our consumers the best. Then why don't we make use of our own data to analyze our consumer habits and keep up with the market? The whole bootcamp emphasizes greatly on simulating the real situation of the market. It taught us how to put out a campaign efficiently, track data, find key metrics and use data along with content assumption. We are always reminded to stay open to the mentality of trial and error."

From which section of the course did you have the most takeaway? How did you apply it practically into your work?

"The part where I learnt the most would be the collective use of 'Marketing funnel', 'SEO' and 'SEM'. When we did campaigns in the past, we were very naive, thinking that by raising awareness there will automatically be conversion. Now that we have the concept of marketing funnel, we understand the logic behind conversion so our campaigns are no longer just random or one-off marketing events."

"We need to find out what consumers really care about. In our marketing strategies, we now break down one large campaign into a collection of small campaigns. Chicks aims to sell infant and children's clothes to mothers, so what do mothers want to know? What are their pain points? What problems do they come across? "

"By learning the 'marketing funnel', our strategies now focus on different combinations of angles & segments using various channels, then adjusting according to budget without relying on a single channel."

Which part of the bootcamp inspired you the most? How did your mentor advise you on your strategy?

"The Head of Marketing Operations of MoneySmart, Elizabeth, told us to not only to do online advertising but also to implement offline activities when she was talking about SEO and marketing funnel. This was one of the challenges we faced during the transition. For us, pure online business was not appropriate as we have over 60 physical stores. Also, it is important for parents to be able to feel in person the material of the clothing as they are usually especially careful when purchasing garments for children."

"After taking a look at our situation, Elizabeth immediately pointed out that our marketing funnel should not only emphasize on online channels. Developing an O2O(online-to-offline)  is key to maximize effectiveness. Her recommendation was extremely practical as marketing activities should mean to drive sales and increase profit as opposed to raising awareness only. "

Can you tell us about the whole process of partnering with the company on the project?

"We collected a lot of information from young mummy subscribers, in hope to attract them to buy infant products. We also implemented online ads to prompt them to leave their email to get a discount coupon they could bring in-store to use."

"What’s worth mentioning is we used inexpensive coupons worth HKD$15 each to attract 80+ leads, where over 40 of them went to the physical store to redeem, converting to a total revenue of HKD$2,500. Cost of customer acquisition (CAC) is around HKD$50 while the average order value (AOV) is high as HKD$625. "

"The other fully online campaign focused on promoting products. We used "pain point" copies to resonate with mothers. There is usually strong air conditioning indoors in Hong Kong and kids usually sweat a lot when playing outside. Once they go into air-conditioned areas, it is very easy for them to catch a cold. So buying kids inner-wear to prevent getting a cold and reduce the risk of getting sick works perfectly. As a result, the click rate of this pain point marketing ad performed much better than an ad just showing the product."

"However, this pain point ad actually only generated one online sale. These clicks were not able to bring actual sales to the company so this proves Elizabeth’s point that we must use O2O (Online-to-Offline) marketing tactic."

What would you want to say to people who want to become growth marketers?

“ Be focused and do not think too much, because the market changes very quickly. Sometimes you just need to get out there to improve and get results. There is no perfect content or product, everything is just based on trial and error.”

"There are so many resources available out there nowadays. Whether searching on Google or asking professionals, we must be familiarized with new tools and keep learning. Never make excuses for ourselves by saying 'I can't,' just do it!"

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