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Marketing Mix Podcast with Sarah Hoffmann

Sarah Hoffmann reveals what keeps Drybar customers coming back

September 11, 2019

Joining us on the Marketing Mix Podcast is Sarah Hoffmann, CMO at Drybar. Sarah discusses creating personalized in-store experiences, building holistic 360 content marketing strategies, and reaching consumers beyond retail proximity. In revealing how Drybar has generated a cult following, Sarah discusses the importance of brand consistency, how to tap into multiple demographics at once and her predictions for the future of beauty marketing.

Listen to "Sarah Hoffmann, CMO, Dry Bar" on Spreaker.
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Jeff Ragovin: What does a typical day look like for you as CMO of Drybar?

Sarah Hoffmann: Before I even came over to Drybar, I was what we like to call your typical blowout junkie. I was always someone who would seek out a blowout in any country or city I was in. So when this role came along at Drybar, it really was a dream job for me. 

I’m now building the great brand that was started by our founders 10 years ago, including everything from our Drybar stores to all of our digital marketing, e-commerce, and premium beauty retailers we work with including Sephora and Ulta. Another big piece of my role is customer insights and analytics, which have been a big focus to continue to engage with and build our community. Some days I’m jumping into our digital marketing strategy, and other days im at either a photo or video shoot working closely with our creative team. So I really feel lucky to have a holistic scope to marketing to help drive our brand.  

Jeff Ragovin: How have you created a brand that’s loved by so many different demographics? 

Sarah Hoffmann: I would say it really started with the Drybar founders listening to women of all ages and professions across the spectrum and identifying a niche and need in the beauty industry that did not yet exist. If you think about blowouts, they're usually the final step of when you go to the salon and get your color and cut. You always leave feeling beautiful and confident, but you don’t really get that experience again until you have to go in for your next color or cut which could be weeks or months. That’s where Drybar really identified they could create this category and fill that gap. We have now become a cultural icon catering to all ages and types of women and hair focusing on being aspirational and accessible to them in every aspect of their life. 

Due to our clearly defined market position, we’ve been consistently delivering an amazing experience for almost ten years that everybody loves. The last piece that drives to the broader demographic appeal is the innovation in our retail experience. We spend a lot of time listening to and studying our customers to make sure we bring them an amazing experience that goes beyond just a fantastic blowout. Whether it’s being able to work on your laptop, have a glass of wine or watch a chick flick, there is something for everyone within the experience that comes with Drybar. 

Jeff Ragovin: How important is the in-store experience at Drybar for customer loyalty?

Sarah Hoffmann: Our experience accounts for why we retain so much customer loyalty. Many of our customers come in multiple times a month, not only because of the great service and to get a blowout, but it really is about that experience and ability to step out from the day to day and experience the whole process from selecting what style you want to the big spin-around reveal at the end to see the final product. All of those components really create an overall unbeatable experience.  

Another big thing that sets us apart is our focus on our stylists and the employees on the ground in our stores. We don't underestimate the power of those human connections and the relationships that are built when you come in and interact with your stylist and the rest of the store team. 

Jeff Ragovin: How has your content marketing strategy contributed to Drybar’s success? 

Sarah Hoffmann: One of the other amazing things about Drybar and something that has always drawn me to the brand even before I worked here was the branding and brand identity that serves as the foundation that you see consistently across Drybar whether you're in our stores, at Sephora or even on our website. 

Having that foundation has been great for me to build upon as the type of content we want to produce to connect with our community. From a marketing standpoint, we’ve taken a first step to make that consistency across our social media channels because we know that’s largely where our community is engaging. 

Having the opportunity to build around hair and services as well as our amazing product line enables us to create all this fantastic content that we can put across all of our channels, not just social, but on a 360 view. 

Jeff Ragovin: Has the branding of Drybar evolved overtime?

Sarah Hoffmann: The foundation of the brand identity has always remained consistent, which I feel is a big reason why we have built great brand awareness. Within that and by working closely with our creative team, we’re able to build content that has evolved as Drybar has evolved and grown. 

A specific example is that we reflect more of the broader diversity of our customer base. We started as a SoCal brand, but now we are all across the country. Making sure that that content is true to our overall brand identity but also reflects our diverse customer base is very important to us and is really how we are able to evolve our brand. 

Jeff Ragovin: Is there any marketing tactic to date you can point out as being extremely effective?

Sarah Hoffmann: It starts with the team and being able to build 360 marketing campaigns around the customer. A great example of this is the launch of our Charcoal Scalp Scrub earlier this year. We launched it as a new product, but we were also able to launch it as a service in our stores and directly talk about it with our customer base at our retailers while creating a presence on digital and social. We really looked at it holistically and made sure we had the right information for the people that were searching for the product on each of our channels. 

You may be someone who can come into a Drybar in their city, but we also have a lot of customers who do not have a Drybar local yet, so we want to make sure that they can come to our website or go to one of our retailers and still recieve the right kind of information about our products. Subsequent to that launch, we’ve had a lot of other launches where we’ve tried to really connect across our whole brand and business and all of our customers and communities.

Jeff Ragovin: Are there any trends we should look out for in the beauty marketing industry over the next five years? 

Sarah Hoffmann: The opportunity for us and other beauty brands to connect with customers in real time. For us, you can come in store for a blowout or you can shop our products from home. Using new information and data about our customers and their preferences enables us to communicate with them in a more personalized way and to stay top of mind. The beauty industry is moving more and more towards experiential opportunities that go beyond just products, but at the end of the day it's about being able to connect, communicate and engage with the consumer at the right moments.

Jeff Ragovin: Thank you for joining the Marketing Mix Podcast.

Please note, the above has been paraphrased for editorial purposes