Product variety, product development, and product presentation – those are the three qualities that Lieske Fieblinger considers to be the greatest strengths of US brand Pipedream. How will these qualities benefit her in her new job as Pipedream’s Marketing Manager for Europe, and what are her plans to support the European trade members? Our EAN interview holds the answers.
Congratulations on being the new Marketing Manager for Europe at Pipedream! How did you come to work for one of the biggest companies in the erotic industry?
Lieske Fieblinger: Thank you very much! I had already been doing marketing in the erotic industry for several years. I am someone who always wants to keep growing and evolving, so it was only a question of time until I felt this itch to take the next step, to make new experiences and take on new challenges. I love working in this line of business so much, and I had accumulated quite a bit of industry know-how, so obviously, I wanted to keep working in the erotic market. And Pipedream was at the very top of my personal wish list, after all they are one of the biggest companies in the entire industry.
A former colleague of mine helped me get in touch with the team, and once we had gotten to know each other and shared our ideas and expectations, we quickly agreed that this would be a great fit.
Before we talk about your new duties, would you mind telling us a bit about your career so far?
Originally, I got my start in the tourism industry. Following my commercial training to become a travel agent, I went on to study international tourism management. And once I had my degree, I spent roughly five years in my lovely hometown of Bremen working in congress and event management. During that time, I organised all kinds of events.
When the time came for me to look for new challenges, I got a job at Fun Factory and worked for them for six years, first as a Marketing Assistant, then as a Project Manager for marketing and distribution, planning and executing numerous projects. Well, and now, here I am at Pipedream😊!
What was the main reason for you to take on this new challenge?
This challenge adds a whole new dimension to my work, and even more importantly, it gives me an opportunity to grow as a person. Pipedream is one of the biggest companies in our industry, and the large number of product categories and brands make for a lot of variety in my daily work, not to mention that, with such a great product range, there is always potential for creative, new ideas. Every day, I get to focus on different brand worlds, target audiences, and price segments. This requires a great level of flexibility and a great understanding of the market and the consumers, but by the same token, it also means that work never gets boring.
What are your main tasks in this new job, and how have you transitioned into the role? How do you get into your groove?
I am the Marketing and Project Manager for Europe. It’s pretty much “think globally, act locally,“ meaning that my primary duty is to take care of cross-company marketing in Europe and to tweak and adapt our marketing strategy to match the local conventions and market needs. I am working closely with our team in LA, and I am also the go-to person for our European business and PR partners; having a contact person here in Europe means that Pipedream can provide much more efficient and targeted support to our partners.
As I have only just taken on this new job, the first order of the day is to study the current situation in Europe, things like: What are the structures in these markets? Which channels do we have covered, which channels are still missing? I am also starting to take care of the first queries, to coordinate our ads for the European market. And I am planning our presentations for XBiz in Berlin and Infa in Hanover.
Do you have ideas, concepts, plans, etc. that you would like to implement in this new position?
My main concept is “support, support, support.” We want to support our partners exactly the way they want to be supported. Having six years of experience in this industry, I know the requirements and the possibilities, and I feel that there is great potential for expanding our brand. I do have concrete plans to that end, and I am already working on implementing them, but for the time being, I can’t give away any details.
“We want to support our partners exactly the way they want to be supported.”
What are the greatest strengths of Pipedream?
The company’s greatest strengths are the three Pipedream Ps: product diversity, product development, and product presentation!
We consider our company to be a one-stop-shop, covering all the relevant product and pricing categories. If a retailer decided only to stock Pipedream products, they’d still have everything they needed from all categories.
Our product development team is working lightning fast: At this point, we are launching a new selection of brands and products four times each year to give our business partners and the trade members the support they need. New products are key if you want to have a positive impact on a store’s sales.
We also have an in-house photo and video studio, and the team over there do a fantastic job as well. Their images and texts are always spot on. Having such a highly qualified team in the same building means that we can work quickly and apply changes whenever necessary. This is particularly important for the European market because marketing materials often need to be changed to be linguistically and culturally idiosyncratic.
Which categories hold the biggest potential for Pipedream in Europe right now?
We have the right products, the right brands, and the right partners in the trade. The biggest potential lies in optimising the appeal of these existing structures through targeted marketing and culturally appropriate measures. Up until now, Pipedream has not sought direct contact with the consumers via social media, and I know that there is a ton of potential in this type of customer engagement. We want to communicate with the consumers, make them curious about our brand, and generate a positive push effect for our partners in the retail trade.
Could you give us a little preview of the Pipedream innovations we can look forward to here in Europe in the upcoming months?
Oh, I can’t tell you that – our competitors are also reading EAN, after all. All I can say is that we launch new products four times a year. Just recently, we introduced the market to our King Cock Line, with an all-new formula. And our Her Ultimate Pleasure by Fantasy For Her has gone viral in the United States. Of course, we also want Europeans to be able to enjoy these products. There’s always something going on at Pipedream. So, the retailers definitely have reason to look forward to our upcoming line-up.
The erotic market is in constant flux. Which are the trends that have the biggest impact on the market right now? What are the developments that we should keep an eye on?
The online retail business continues to grow, also in 2019. That’s true in the erotic market, and it’s true in many other markets. Bigger retailers and distributors launch private label products, and consequently, the overall number of brands increases. Obviously, this also makes for greater competition. It is getting harder and harder for retailers to pick from the vast range of available products and to choose the right products for their stores. To be successful in this marketplace, you need to support the trade, pursue a transparent and consistent strategy, and bind the consumers to your brand via bold investments and added value. Moreover, I am excited to see how social media will continue to evolve in this industry, so that marketing channel is definitely something you should keep an eye on.