Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2011 (Revised June 2012)

Sephora Direct: Investing in Social Media, Video, and Mobile

by Elie Ofek and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld

Abstract

Julie Bornstein, senior vice president of Sephora Direct, is seeking to double her budget for social media and other digital marketing initiatives for 2011. A number of digital efforts implemented in the past two years seem to be bearing fruit and there is a desire to intensify Sephora's social media, online video and mobile presence. Bornstein must justify the need for the additional funding, determine how best to allocate the money across the various platforms, and establish effective ways to measure return on investment (ROI) for digital marketing spending. She must also take into account that the funding requested will likely come at the expense of Sephora's traditional marketing programs. Importantly, Bornstein needs to begin thinking about a cohesive long-term strategy that clearly identifies the role digital platforms play and how they help Sephora maintain its leadership position in the prestige beauty care space. The constant emergence of new players, such as Groupon and Shop Socially, the growing power of social media platforms such as Facebook, and the way consumer behavior and user generated content are rapidly evolving in a digital era, make her task all the more challenging.

Keywords: History; Leadership; Marketing Strategy; Marketing; Emerging Markets; Investment Return; Investment Funds; Budgets and Budgeting;

Citation:

Ofek, Elie, and Alison Berkley Wagonfeld. "Sephora Direct: Investing in Social Media, Video, and Mobile." Harvard Business School Case 511-137, June 2011. (Revised June 2012.)