Interview • 22.02.2021

Will people soon be shopping at the "Club"?

Marketing opportunities of the new social media app Clubhouse.

Man in suit without hair folds hands and smiles at camera...
Source: Patrick Lipke

WhatsApp, TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat - many retailers use the platforms to get their products to customers - that's nothing new.

Recently, users have been able to meet in the "Clubhouse." Marcel Hollerbach, CMO of Productsup, talks about the potential of the new social media app for direct customer contact and marketing opportunities that the "Club" offers retailers.

Mr. Hollerbach, what distinguishes Clubhouse from other "social commerce platforms" such as WhatsApp, Instagram or TikTok?

Marcel Hollerbach: Clubhouse is fundamentally different from other social media apps. Unlike Instagram, Snapchat or TikTok, Clubhouse has no images or videos, only pure audio content. It is thus more like a live podcast. The innovation here is that the program is dynamic. Anyone can open a "club" on a topic and invite other moderators to talk about the topic together. But this does not happen statically. The listeners in the "club" can ask the moderators questions and become moderators themselves if they want to contribute something. This often leads to conversations that could hardly be planned in this way. It can happen that famous politicians, actors or journalists show up. The supposedly intimate setting of Clubhouse creates a sense of closeness to the presenters like no other medium.

Screenshot Clubhouse
Source: Screenshot Clubhouse

What advantages can retailers gain here?

Clubhouse doesn't yet have any professional tools for commercially integrating advertising, for example. But it can be used very well to make one's own brand more personal and closer. Especially in a time like now, when shutdowns make people crave social interaction, brands can benefit by entering into an honest dialogue with their customers at eye level.

Currently, Clubhouse works by "invite only" - how does the retailer get its customer base?

Every Clubhouse user is given the opportunity to invite new users. However, the "Invites" are limited. However, new invites can be acquired by actively participating in Clubhouse and, for example, by opening or hosting clubs. Since invitations to Clubhouse are still rare at the moment, inviting a customer to Clubhouse can also be a nice thank-you and loyalty gift for a retailer.

If customers can use Clubhouse, it gives them the chance to get to know a company much more directly and personally than usual. For example, a joint talk could include a Q&A session where companies answer questions directly. Customers could also give feedback on products directly in this way, which really hits home. If the round is unmoderated, this also gives customers the opportunity to make contact without having to bridge large barriers first.

What do you think online shopping integration and brand marketing could look like at Clubhouse?

Currently, there is no possibility to advertise on Clubhouse. But I could imagine that in the future there could be formats similar to radio advertising. When leaving or entering a new clubroom, a short commercial or jingle could be played first. In the future, it would also be conceivable to have the kind of one-shot clips that we're familiar with from podcasts, sponsored talk shows, or classic banner ads.

Although direct advertising is not yet possible, it is already possible to generate attention, appear as an expert, and speak on interesting topics: both a type of panel discussion and open question rounds are possible here and open up new, exciting opportunities for personal branding.

Interview: Katja Laska

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