Spa owners are well aware of the booming “gift card” seasons: Mother’s Day, the year-end holidays and, of course, Valentine’s Day. The latter is particularly popular among spouses and significant others looking to spoil their lady loves with something other than chocolate or diamonds. Capitalizing on this notion in a big way, the Charles Penzone Salon brand's unique approach to V-Day Gift Cards (first launched in 2011) has resulted in big-time success. The salon chain partnered with a local high-end restaurant group, the Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, for a special promotion male consumers couldn’t refuse.
In purchasing a $100 Charles Penzone gift card, guests received a complimentary $20 gift card to Cameron Mitchell. The restaurant chain provided the gift cards free-of-charge, says Jena Skowronski, marketing team leader for Charles Penzone. “They offered their gifts, and we managed the campaign and the leg work,” explains Skowronski. “By co-branding, we were able to utilize their dollars to help our bottom line.”
Charles Penzone worked with an external ad agency that helped the brand come up with a V-Day campaign that strategically targeted male audiences. It included radio segments on a local sports talk station and exposure in men’s publications. Skowronski says the brand found it could “move the needle by being specific about who received the campaign message, as opposed to marketing to the masses.” The humorous radio ads reached out to “every man who’s stood in a card aisle on February 13 and chosen from the rejects and leftovers; every man who’s made Valentine’s Day plans that included trips to the drive-thru window; every man who has heard the words, ‘Valentine’s Day is not that important to me’ and believed them…”
The results spoke for themselves and far exceeded the company’s original goal to increase gift card sales by 5%. For the three-week period the campaign ran—January 30 to February 19—the mode gift card purchase amount increased to $100, and overall sales for that time frame increased 26%. “This increase was achieved without any sort of discount or financial implication to the salons,” says Skowronski. “Website analytics indicated that visits to the web increased 20% and page views increased 12% from the previous year.”
The V-Day gift card promotion proved so successful that Charles Penzone and Cameron Mitchell opted to partner once again on the same campaign in 2012.
“We will continue to partner with them on other promotions in 2013, but not necessarily for V-Day,” says Skoronski. “We are going to change it up a bit for this year's 'Love Month.' We’ll co-brand again, but we haven’t decided with whom.” —By Angela Melero