McArthurglen Case Study


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Describes the work of Lucidity London, a marketing consultancy, on behalf of McArthurGlen, the owner, developer and manager of 21 designer outlets in eight countries across Europe.

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McArthurglen Case Study

  1. 1. CASE STUDY Assessing Pan-European Campaigns McArthurGlen’s new marketing team faced a dilemma which is common to those with marketing responsibilities in multiple territories – to what extent should their brand communication strategy be standardised? Insight. Strategy. Implementation. Lucidity London Inspiring Growth
  2. 2. Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 2 of 6 IS PAN-EUROPEAN ADVERTISING WORKING? Executive Summary McArthurGlen’s new group marketing team faced a problem which is common to marketers operating across multiple geographies; to what degree should the organisation balance the benefits of a standardised marketing communication programme with the needs of country markets in aligning themselves with consumer preferences and distinguishing themselves from local competitors. About McArthurGlen McArthurGlen introduced factory outlet retailing to Europe in 1995 and has since has become the leading developer and manager of designer outlet villages in Europe. In 2008, the company operated 18 European sites, and partnered with hundreds of luxury brands offering discounts of 30-70% off manufacturers recommended retail prices in attractive, out-of-town environments. Twelve of McArthurGlen’s designer outlet villages are owned by international asset management company Henderson Global Investors (HGI), the sponsor of this project. Situation McArthurGlen had been marketing all of its European sites under the tagline 'Guilt-Free Shopping' since 2005. Changes in group marketing leadership and agency relationships meant this strategy was due for re- appraisal. But, before the incoming team began to develop a new approach, HGI’s asset managers requested an independent assessment of the performance of the campaign in Europe to understand whether it was delivering the desired benefits to the business and to highlight examples of sharp and incisive delivery which could be socialised among marketing teams in multiple countries.
  3. 3. Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 3 of 6 Task Lucidity London were commissioned by retail marketing specialist BWP Group to help them evaluate the impact of McArthurGlen’s 'Guilt-Free Shopping' campaign on the performance of three designer outlet villages in Troyes (near Paris), Rome and Berlin. Action Before we began to develop a framework for assessing the effectiveness of the campaign, we set up a feasibility study to determine whether key datasets were going to be available or if anything crucial was going to be missing. Data briefs were sent to McArthurGlen’s country marketers to gather business performance data over the modelling period, and market-related data held internally which might explain changes in performance (e.g. advertising campaigns, events, promotions, economic variables, seasonal trends and more). McArthurGlen’s internal systems captured weekly footfall, sales and ATV data, so we chose to base our model on weekly footfall volumes over the 3 year period the campaign had been on show. Business performance, adspend and marketing planning data arrived for each village, along with copies of creative treatments and evaluation reports of individual events and activities. To understand the influence of external factors on footfall e.g. trends in disposable income, clothing expenditure, consumer confidence, competitor expenditure and weather conditions, we briefed local research and media monitoring organisations to source data in a weekly time-series format. When datasets began to arrive, they were translated, checked for inconsistencies and variation, and then introduced in to our initial model to determine whether we had robust data on the main factors driving footfall to each village. Three Market Mix Models were created (one for each village) and an examination of relationships between individual variables and footfall began. In particular, we focused attention on media expenditure, competitor activity and macro-economic factors to determine whether these were influencing footfall at each village, and to what degree they were influential. A campaign report was produced for each village, with a clear view of all marketing expenditures and activities undertaken and an assessment of the impact of the Guilt-Free Shopping campaign on footfall. Furthermore, we highlighted several key factors that were influencing that performance alongside examples of high quality delivery of the campaign.
  4. 4. Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 4 of 6 The Campaign The ‘Guilt Free Shopping’ campaign was created in the UK by the creative agency Publicis Dialog to appeal to affluent consumers across Europe. The creative executions featured images of women in passionate embraces with products purchased at McArthurGlen’s designer outlet villages, and attempted to capture the abundance, style and quality of designer clothing and accessories available at each outlet village. Source: McArthurGlen, Oct 2008 Example of a high level overview of an individual campaign activity
  5. 5. Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 5 of 6 Results The ‘Guilt-Free Shopping’ campaign coincided with a period of growing footfall and sales at each village and our study was able to provide evidence of how part of that growth was driven by the communication campaign. However isolating the effects of advertising is typically difficult and time-consuming, and to do so effectively companies must design a measurement framework before their campaign starts. In executing this campaign though, McArthurGlen’s local marketing teams didn’t put sufficient measures in place to assess the group’s investment in reaching advertising goals - like increasing consumer awareness, consideration, preference or loyalty. They were so focused on driving footfall they committed too much expenditure to media purchasing, and too little on advertising performance assessment. There was also strong evidence to suggest that the ‘Guilt-Free Shopping’ campaign was only partially implemented in some European markets. Anecdotally this was due to the use of the word ‘guilt’ which is tied up in complicated socio-cultural/religious nuances. For this reason, marketing teams in France and Italy judged the ‘Guilt-Free’ copy line to be unusable as a messaging strategy, which meant the campaign was little more than a set of high fashion images and layouts for adverts. For McArthurGlen’s incoming marketing team, the programme highlighted the importance of establishing a methodology, budget and a line of responsibility for assessing the effectiveness of advertising in individual country markets. For Henderson’s asset managers though, the question was whether McArthurGlen should continue with a standardised communication programme in Europe to keep control of the brand image close to corporate HQ and deliver economies of scale in marketing. Or should marketing be decentralised so individual business units can focus on meeting local consumer preferences while driving differentiation among local competitors? To this question, we recommended retaining the current strategy. The evidence from our study showed that each village was working to a tailored marketing plan and were suitably adapting head office generated campaigns to their own needs. Differentiator’s such as the village environment and anchor brands available were receiving some prominence in campaign collateral, and the company’s core message 'big brands at reduced prices' was applied very consistently. As well as answering this question, our evaluation also uncovered multiple examples of sharp and incisive campaign delivery, particularly in the areas of customer events, consumer research, digital communication and customer loyalty. Actionable insights and communication efficiencies like these were written up as best practices and socialised between marketers in a dedicated exchange forum which featured excellence in marketing performance.
  6. 6. Lucidity London | Case Study | McArthurGlen Page 6 of 6 About Lucidity London Lucidity London is a marketing consultancy which provides research, strategy and programme implementation services to local, national and international clients. We combine in-depth customer insights with practical expertise in marketing and operations to help our clients evolve and grow. Our home page is Copyright © 2014 Lucidity London All rights reserved. Lucidity London and its logo are trademarks of Lucidity London.