Social media is taking over the world. Okay, well maybe not the whole world, but an important chunk of it is now being taken over by this relatively new and increasingly important industry. Through the use of social media, the power of relationships between businesses and consumers are becoming invaluable as a way of marketing products and brands towards their potential customers. Through sharing and retweeting, the marketing goal for many companies is how their loyal customers will influence friends and family to also become interested in their products and have incentive to buy.
The fatal flaw in this way of thinking is that the company is assuming that if I buy their product, for example a tent for camping, that the people around me are also going to want this type of item and others like it. The problem is, I’m the only person in my group of friends that enjoys camping and no matter how hard I try, I can’t get my (happily) city-dwelling friends to come out for a fun weekend in the great outdoors. So my realm of influence is rather small, as I don’t have anyone to share these particular interests with. However, what if there was a way that I could connect with other people who share my love of camping and still be involved in other mutual interests with my current friends group?
Enter in Pinterest.
Since its inception two years ago, Pinterest has become the fastest growing website in history, allowing its users to create virtual pin boards filled with pictures of products and photography representing their interests, hobbies and inspirations through uploads of their own favourite product pictures or repins from other users who share the same common interests.
This represents a gold mine for the potential marketer because now instead of having only reached little old me from my sale, they now have all of my fellow camping fanatics following my pinboards closely; chances are, with more than 80% of pins being repins, they will definitely rack up more interest through sharing than through any other social media site. Not only are major corporations starting to take notice, it is now predicted that in five years time 40% of social media based revenue will come from Pinterest users. Currently, Pinterest users are already 10% more likely to buy something they have pinned on their boards, and are 10% more likely to spend more to get that item.
Last week Kotex launched a Mother’s day campaign in which they found and reviewed the pins of fifty inspirational women, then had the most pinned brand send the woman a virtual gift. If the woman repinned the gift she ended up getting the real gift in the mail as a reward. The reward for the brand who sent the gift? Almost all of the women who received their gift acknowledged it not only through Pinterest, but through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, creating 2,200 social interactions in total. Now that is what I call intelligent and innovative marketing.
And with that,
This morning, the Financial Post featured the viral marketing success of a Canadian classic, Cougar Boots and their latest online campaign. WhiteCloud Marketing, a subsidiary of MavenSocial, set-up the execution plan for the retro Cougar Boots campaign that is featured.
A decades old family business, brothers Steve and Ron Sedlbauer, decided that it was time to freshen up their marketing, business, and brand strategy as things reached a plateau two years ago. The brothers understood the power of online, especially when wanting to reach their target audience of young 18 to twenty-something year olds.
“How Far Would You Go For a Great Pair of Boots?” People were asked to create videos and post them on Livedress.com, explaining what they would do for a pair of limited edition Cougar Boots from the 1970’s and ‘80’s that were relaunched in 2011. Little did they know that Cougar Boots would show up at their door and get them to do it! Entrants really had to ante up!
The campaign focused on a fashion-savvy niche market on Livedress.com, pulling in contestants that truly enjoyed the 1970’s and ‘80’s vibe of the limited edition Cougar Boots – but with a refined, up-dated twist.
Livedress.com founder, Jonathan Davids, explains, “it’s all about fun and getting people involved. People love fashion, it’s “about getting a fashion brand into the younger mindset. “We thought, let’s just ask our followers what crazy things they would do to win a pair of boots, pick our favourites, show up at the door with a camera crew, and make them do it. It had to be spontaneous for it to work.”
The campaign attracted hundreds of qualified entrants. To date, each winning video has garnered more than 30,000 views to date. Davids explains “Cougar also had a bump in its organic search results, leading to even more visits to its site.”
The campaign took four months to execute, and cost less than $100,000.
Overall, Cougar Boots’ viral marketing campaign success lies in one key component: to not make it about selling the boots, Mr. Sedlbauer says. “It was about engaging pop culture and generating excitement at the retail level.”