FIGS began with a simple mission: to revolutionize the healthcare industry by creating innovative, modern, and comfortable medical apparel. FIGS look like if Lululemon made scrubs, using advanced fabrics used in sports apparel and modern designs. Their 24/7 customer service makes sure they can meet the needs of their consumers, who work 12-hour days and night shifts.
In 2017, FIGS grew 700%, going on to triple in 2018, and another 100% in 2019. Beyond numbers, FIGS made Fast Company’s 2019 most innovative companies for branding, and Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing companies in the U.S. in 2018.
We spoke with their SVP of Marketing, Alex Tshering, to learn more.
Tell us a bit about FIGS. What makes it special?
When we founded in 2013, the space was ripe for disruption. People consider our audience to be niche, but there are 10 to 15 million medical professionals who wear scrubs in their day to day.
We’re focused on building a brand that has staying power, and we’ve galvanized our community to be a part of what we do. It’s incredible to see how loyal our customers have become.
Paid has been a big part of that and making sure we get a return for every conversion we have and taking that to become a brand opportunity. I’ve been the mouthpiece for that, lining up our marketing channels to be very focused around retention, loyalty, and aggressive prospecting.
On that note, can you tell us more about your role?
My initial focus was revenue growth. Since then, it’s evolved into a bit of brand and operations too. I’m also working closely with the media buying team to make sure that we’re in the right position at all times. We want to be prevalent everywhere we go, and we do a strong job of that with Criteo.
I enjoy the opportunity to be different and thought-provoking in this space, as opposed to just a follower. We’re building up to tackle international, and we’re excited for that. Beyond that, we want to make FIGS the noun for scrubs.
Can you tell us more about your audience?
Every day, we serve these medical professionals that are doing the most amazing things. We serve those who serve others.
We’ve focused on students, who are this gigantic, growing population. From an organic standpoint, these are the people who really find the value of our brand. We’ve seen an incredible response rate around our student discount. At medical and dental schools, there have been grassroots movements where students are asking their administrators to order FIGS.
What’s something that would surprise people to learn about FIGS?
We have an annual mission trip, and we donate scrubs through our Threads for Threads initiative, which outfits healthcare workers in resource-poor areas.
We don’t roll this into our marketing. There’s a level of sincerity that gets lost if you do that. Yes, we’re selling scrubs, but we genuinely want to be a part of this community.
We’re also helping facilitate conversations for medical professionals that weren’t happening before, addressing issues like mental health or student loans. It’s incredible to see – who would’ve thought a scrubs brand would be a part of unifying this community?
What’s unique to reaching this audience?
We’re marketing to these professionals in a way that they haven’t been marketed to. It’s incredible how they’ve embraced our brand. I’ve been doing direct marketing and advertising for a long time and it’s rare to see an audience really get behind the brand. Knowing that our audience does, makes us feel like we’re doing a good job.
We started a friend referral program, because many of our clients were coming from friends already. We’ve seen 8% in new customer growth since we rolled that out, and they’re coming in and buying without any sort of discount incentive. If you can retain those customers that’s huge, and the lifetime value of that customer has been going up.
In what ways are you leveraging tech and data to inform your strategy?
We use data aggressively to understand what our buy cycles look like. We know we have a very sticky audience, they come back and purchase frequently.
After the first purchase, we know the window and that the next purchase will be driven between Criteo and our emails. Wherever we can engage that return customer, we’re there. Once that buyer makes a second purchase, we’re very confident that we have a customer for life.
Even on a third and fourth purchase, we make sure that we’re consistently present within those buyer windows, which tend to grow slightly larger as time progresses.
Cool! Anything else that you keep in mind?
As marketers, it’s our responsibility to communicate to our customers in the way they want to be communicated to. From the data, we can see the channels where they’re particularly engaged.
From a segmentation standpoint, we’re extremely good about knowing who our prospects and repeat customers are. We know the specific periods when we should be in front of them. It’s the same with our emails; we’re making sure that all of our emails feature products they’ve bought before or are interested in.
What advice would you give to other brands?
Be able to not copycat everybody else. Take everything you do and own it. The consumer is obviously intelligent, and they get it when they’ve seen something similar with a brand before.
Explore. Be creative. Then you can use your marketing chops to do some amazing stuff.
For more insight into how FIGS leverages digital advertising to accelerate growth, read on for their full success story.