Marketing Strategy

How David's Bridal reinvented its digital marketing strategy for prom season – Glossy

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Following a troublesome 2018, David’s Bridal is looking for new growth opportunities.

Last November, the brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy but went about business as usual without closing stores or liquidating assets. At the start of 2019, David’s Bridal emerged from bankruptcy and kicked off a new strategy to grow the company — not through bridal gowns but through prom dresses.

For the company, prom dresses sit in the “dress” category and make up about 20% of the business, compared to 80% for bridal. That number is only growing.

“The demand is there, the market reach is there and there is a lot more competition there, so it’s an opportunity market, for sure,” said Diana Takach, svp of e-commerce, at David’s Bridal.

The only problem for David’s Bridal was that, in previous prom seasons, the brand wasn’t thinking clearly enough about who exactly it needed to target to sell prom dresses. In late 2018, it tapped digital marketing agency January Digital to refocus the brand’s retargeting strategy across Instagram, Google, YouTube, search and Facebook, in order to convert more customers both online and in stores.

In previous years, David’s Bridal hyper-segmented the audience it wanted to target across social and search, with a specific focus on women ages 16 to 18. After doing some digging, January Digital found the brand was being a bit too narrow in its focus and alienating potential younger customers — mainly freshmen and sophomore students. Plus, the brand wasn’t thinking about building a relationship with even younger girls not yet in high school. So, David’s Bridal opened up its target audience, looking to connect with girls ages 13 to 18.

“We focus so intently on the bride, but there is a lot of product that we have to offer,” said Takach. “Prom is that entry customer for us and a big retention opportunity. We really had to have a laser focus on what we could do better to get more customers and how we should monitor them along their journey.”

Additionally, David’s Bridal came to the conclusion that 16-year-old girls aren’t usually the ones purchasing these dresses. It’s the mom, grandmother or another adult in that teen’s life who does the buying. That meant widening David’ Bridal target audience to include adults (mostly women) between the ages of 35 and 65. In response, January Digital created two different types of creatives: one for teens in the hunt for a dress, and one for the adults with the purchase power.

“For the teen, our creative was really focused on appealing to her emotions, using copy that really spoke to ‘the night of your life,’” said Tierney Wilson, managing director of East Coast at January Digital. For the mothers and adults, “we spoke to the right price and the convenience of shopping at David’s Bridal, in that there’s both a robust e-commerce site and a robust offline offering, in terms of the breadth of stores they have across the country,” she said.

This new approach to targeting two different demographics has paid off for David’s Bridal. The brand saw upward of a 24% increase in e-commerce revenue driven by its prom campaign and a 37% increase in the volume of transactions between Jan. 3 and March 26 of this year.

“The conversion rate was ultimately the biggest indicator of performance, and that was up 44%,” said Takach. Additionally, the brand’s paid social media push proved just as effective for the brand. Takach said the team saw a 600% increase in revenue year over year for the first three months of the year, driven by paid Facebook and Instagram posts. The brand did not share any numbers around marketing spend for this campaign.

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