Madison Reed's CEO says its in-house marketing model helped in coronavirus boom
Hair color company Madison Reed has seen a sharp uptick in demand during COVID-19 as people don’t want to go out to buy dye and can’t visit salons to have colorists do the work.
“Right from when the majority of states went into shelter-in-place we saw at first a 7x increase, then a 10x increase, and then a 12x increase, and now that’s kind of leveled off and we’re back to about an 8x increase and that’s kind of held,” Madison Reed Founder and CEO Amy Errett says on the latest episode of the Marketer’s Brief podcast.
The company, which Errett named after her daughter, positions its hair color as being less toxic than other kits and says its DIY products are much less expensive and require a lot less time than going to the salon. Its online tutorials and on-call colorists can help walk people through the process. “Your hair looking great is kind of a sign of confidence,” says Errett.
With daily orders now coming in at a rate of about eight times as much as they were in early March, the company has been shipping many more kits. But its Color Bar shops, where people can buy color kits and get their hair dyed by professionals, were forced to shut down. Madison Reed had 12 Color Bar locations before COVID-19 and has plans to open more.
Those colorists then became part of the call center. “It was a hard thing to move 170 people from one role to the next,” says Errett, “but they had the same skill base that we required.” In all, she says, more than 60 percent of the company’s workforce are colorists.
Meanwhile, Madison Reed was dealing with another matter: the company’s hair color is made in the Lombardy region of Italy, which was severely hit by COVID-19. The manufacturing partner stayed open, moving to a 24/7 operation with a smaller number of workers on each shift—making hand sanitizer as well as Madison Reed’s color products—and no one got sick, says Errett.
Madison Reed handles its marketing in-house and began to do more outreach during the pandemic. The company has always done a lot of Facebook and Instagram ads, radio and podcast spots, and direct mail. It also invested heavily in OTT right before the pandemic, Errett says.
Since the coronavirus began, the brand saw the cost per acquisition come down “dramatically” and has stepped up its efforts, Errett says. Facebook and Instagram, she says, “became bigger, quicker parts because more people were spending time on their phone and social channels.”
Madison Reed has cut new ads from existing content, added more videos to its own site and began hosting “house party” hair color events. People can color their hair along with the live event, but many viewers are only watching or asking questions. “It’s a way to demystify this experience, which can be very daunting for people,” says Errett. Other brands are also promoting the ease of at-home coloring, such as L'Oréal with its videos starring Eva Longoria.
At Madison Reed, Errett herself has done some of the ad work at home.
“I have become an expert at how to record a radio spot in my house under a blanket,” she says.
Now, like other retailers, Madison Reed is navigating the reopening process, which began with the reopening of Texas locations. For now, Color Bars will sell the products for customers to take home but will not offer services until new protocols are put into place.
“We’re going to take it slow and just wait and see what that all looks like, region by region,” says Errett.
Hear more from Errett in the link above.