Mister Spex CEO on Their Consumer-First Marketing Strategy and Disrupting the Eyeglass Industry

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Disruptive brands are emerging in their markets with a bang, and in many cases, are able to do so with powerful digital marketing strategy in their arsenal.

This year at dmexco, our CEO hosted a panel on just that topic; how startups disrupt age-old industries with digital-first strategies.

Our panelists included Mirko Caspar, Co-CEO of Mister Spex, with whom we had the pleasure of taking a deeper dive into their digital strategy, and how they’ve disrupted eyewear by placing the customer at the center of everything they do.

Other panelists included Verena Hubertz, Founder & MD of Kitchen Stories, and Davies Roberts, CEO of Flare Audio.

Can you start by telling me a little bit about yourself, and how you came to be a CEO of Mister Spex?

“I studied business administration at the University of Münster, where I later went on to gain a PhD. Important appointments in my career to date were, among others, as a management consultant at McKinsey, with a focus on marketing and strategy, as senior director for business development at the entertainment company Universal Music and managing director of its mail order subsidiaries, and as a Co-CEO of the virtual world company Metaversum.

I joined Mister Spex in September 2011. As a Co-CEO I am responsible for marketing, category and product management as well as our own stores and international markets.”

mirko caspar mister spex

What is Mister Spex looking to accomplish, and what led you to disrupt the eyeglasses industry so quickly?

“If you ask consumers today, two thirds of them don’t enjoy buying glasses the traditional way. They are not sure what fits them (i.e. they don’t know their size and face shape), the process is cumbersome and the prices are very high.

What we have done at Mister Spex and continue to do is to make the process of buying prescription glasses convenient, transparent and fun with better prices while offering great services and a versatile product portfolio.

To this end, our omnichannel focus combines the best of the two worlds: online and offline. Online offers several advantages—Mister Spex has a huge selection with more than 9,000 glasses and sunglasses from more than 100 brands, great value for money combined with fast shipping, transparent pricing and several online services that help our customers easily find their perfect pair of glasses.

Customers can use filters such as face shape or head width to select their favorite models. They can try these on virtually in 3D and they also have the option to try out eyewear at home with our free home trial.

Once they have found their favorite model they provide us with their prescription values and we will finalize the order in our Berlin-based master optician workshop. The process and services remain completely free of any risks: we guarantee a 30-day money back period on all products, even on prescription glasses, and if you need a free fitting or eye exam, we have ten stores in Germany and more than 500 partner opticians in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Netherlands and Sweden. So, as you can see, each step of the customer journey is tailored to convenience and ease of use.

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How have your digital marketing efforts played a role in your success?

“Our marketing strategy has played an important role in developing, building and differentiating the Mister Spex brand. We combine online as well as offline measures and channels when it comes to targeting and converting customers. Usually we are first to market and build awareness, interest and trust with performance TV and upper funnel digital marketing such as content, native and influencer marketing.

We then gather and convert the demand through online marketing measures. Personalized, automated CRM campaigns drive our Customer Lifetime Values. In everything we do our approach is customer-oriented—using a lot of qualitative and quantitative market research—data-driven and agile.”

How does native fit into your overall digital marketing strategy, and how has it been successful for you?

“Native is an important part for our upper funnel marketing activities. It’s a great advertisement type to generate interest and educate customers, especially in the medical and health environment.

When it comes to native, our goal is to communicate more information than is usually possible in order to educate customers and gain their trust. This way they easily understand that buying prescription glasses works online as well and even has a lot of advantages, such as good value for money, low prices, a versatile assortment and convenience.”

What’s been your most successful digital campaign to date, and why?

“There’s several successful campaigns we’ve had thus far. Something that’s been really great is working with influencers—to push our brand, drive sales and also for developing exclusive collections.

A big advantage of working with them is that they give us access to a new target group that has been difficult to reach via “classical” media such as TV. Influencers make it possible for us to tell a story and make Mister Spex more tangible—they can easily explain the process and advantages of buying eyewear online. Furthermore, it involves customers more by addressing them directly. So, all in all, influencers are a great fit to our disruptive omnichannel concept of combining online with offline.”