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CSA Exclusive: Harry’s lathers consumer interest with partnership marketing

BY Dan Berthiaume

Men’s care startup automates partnership management to drive publicity and sales.

Recently purchased by Edgewell Personal Care Company for $1.37 billion, direct-to-consumer men’s care retailer Harry’s Inc. has long relied on collaboration with third parties to help promote itself and improve the customer experience.

“Early on, we engaged with customers to ask them questions like ‘what do you like’ and ‘what can we do better,’” David Bakey, VP of direct-to-consumer at Harry’s Inc., told Chain Store Age during a recent interview. “We used consumer feedback to iterate our products as we expanded from shaving products to the horizontal men’s care market.”

As time went on, Harry’s began entering partnerships with discount retailers including Target and Walmart, as well as “special partnerships” with higher-end retailers such as J.Crew, Nordstrom, and Barney’s to introduce the brand in a more upscale way.

“We discovered a ton of pent-up demand when we started partnering with retailers,” recalled Bakey. “For four years, people had been coming to the site and buying our product, but a lot of people thought they might like to try us but didn’t want to do it online.”

To create further top-of-the-marketing-funnel awareness of the brand and drive more traffic to retail partners, Harry’s implemented the cloud-based partnership automation platform from Impact to manage partnership and influencer marketing. These efforts included advertisements on social media platforms like Facebook, as well as partnerships with social celebrities and influencers, and collaborations with podcasts, radio shows, and sites of relevant media properties like Men’s Health.

“Partnerships aren’t one size fits all,” explained Bakey. “To enable partnerships, you need a tool to manage the relationship and determine what you agree to do and how you will track performance. To foster relationships with partners, you need to set parameters.”

Leveraging the Impact platform, Harry’s can track what percentage of its sales come from various types of marketing. According to Bakey, Harry’s obtains a percentage of sales resulting from partnership marketing programs on the high end of the industry standard of 10%-15%.

“We have a lot of future plans for partnership marketing,” said Bakey. “As we continue to shift our product assortment to men’s grooming and care, there will be more partners we expect to take on. We are also in the early phases of rolling out partnerships in the U.K., and will roll them across the E.U. at some point.”

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