How customer data is guiding Conde Nast’s marketing strategies

Condé Nast is pushing to identify marketing opportunities across its publications, with the help of research initiatives designed to better understand consumer behavior.

The effort is part of Condé Nast Performance Lab, a recently launched program within the media conglomerate’s research and analytics team that collects data and conducts surveys to better inform marketing strategy across publications. After sharing its first study in July — which used neuroscience to show the efficacy of sponsored posts — the group revealed its latest findings, showing that early adopters of style trends are also more likely to become technology trendsetters.

Data showed that the correlation between fashion and technology is translating to sales: Fashion-conscious individuals are spending twice as much as others on products like the latest iPhone models, smart home devices and VR- and AR-enabled items. The study examined more than 1,200 people between the ages of 13-49 who were split into two test groups: the “fashion-conscious” consumers, defined as those who engage with Condé Nast brands dedicated to style content (such as Vogue and W), and a standard national sample that does not.

Cara Pantano, senior manager of custom and primary research at Condé Nast, said the study points to opportunities for brands and publishers to take advantage of an untapped demographic of fashion and tech enthusiasts. Though there has been a rise in events like Silicon Valley Fashion Week, which celebrates technology-driven fashion design, marketers are largely neglecting the overlap. “The consumption of fashion and technology is more similar than advertisers realize,” she said.

On the business side, Stephanie Fried, svp of research and analytics at Condé Nast, said technology brands that advertise in publications like Wired and The New Yorker can use the information to consider investing in fashion and style publications. On the editorial side, the studies can be used to inform content strategy and serve as the genesis for new verticals, she said.

“The goal is to partner with the advertisers, not just on a specific campaign or media plans, but in helping them market their products better,” she said. “We can drive more equity long-term by helping them understand their core consumers.”

The study also found that 50 percent of fashion-conscious consumers pay close attention to technology marketing, and 47 percent agree that technology showcases a sense of style within their homes. As a result, this group is particularly interested in Amazon, Google and Samsung technologies, like Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Additionally, the fashion-conscious category was more likely to say a smartphone expressed their sense of style over a purse or a pair of sunglasses.

Fried said the intersection of fashion and technology continues to proliferate, thanks in part to the rise of brands dabbling in virtual and augmented reality efforts. (Take, for example, JCPenney’s recent virtual reality holiday pop-up, which used VR to allow users to make purchases online from a temporary retail space in New York City.)

Also bolstering the overlap between fashion and tech enthusiasts is the increase of wearables created with the fashion community in mind, including Fitbit’s designer collections and the debut of smartwatches made by Gucci and Michael Kors. According to the study, fashion-conscious consumers spent almost four times more in this category than the national sample.

“In some of the open-ended questions, people would say they change their [smartwatch] bands every day to fit their outfit,” Pantano said. “It’s part of an overall trend toward customization, and we’re trying to do that across [Condé Nast] through customization of content, recommendations and features on the sites.”

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