Digital transformation leveraging the latest technologies. Omnipresence through omnichannel marketing. Automation fueled by databases all to capture more mindshare!
We step back from the buzzword-driven hype and strip marketing down to its essence with examples from a food producer, 5-star hotel, and food delivery service in this article.
This article was originally published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
There are only four parts to marketing…
…according to Flint McGlaughlin, CEO and Managing Director, MECLABS Institute in Design Layout: How to structure your web page or email for maximum conversion.
So in this article, let’s take a look at successful examples of each of the four parts of marketing. While any good marketing effort (including these) leverages all four parts, we’ll call out one part specifically for emphasis in the following case studies to give you ideas for how you can tackle that part of marketing for your own brand.
The Sender is the communicator of The (marketing) Message. This is often the company itself – through a newspaper advertisement or on a landing page.
But it doesn’t always have to be. To get you thinking outside the box about who the sender can be for your marketing messages, let’s take a look at a case study in which the brand found an external sender for its message.
Laura’s Lean is a provider of lean, all natural, and organic beef products. The company realized its core buyer was aging. Yet, it had a goal to increase market share. The team at Laura’s Lean decided to try to leverage influencers to boost awareness and consideration, hoping to increase household penetration with both their core buyer audience segment and a younger target audience to help power the growth of the brand.
“We knew using influencer marketing could be a powerful way to introduce people to Laura’s Lean and drive brand awareness. Influencer marketing is sometimes looked at as a more ad-hoc, quick-turn marketing initiative, and not as often used in the food and beverage space, but we view it quite differently,” said Jeff Tanner, Chief Digital Officer and VP of Marketing, Laura’s Lean.
The program relied predominantly on micro influencers (20,000-250,000 in total reach) in the recipe, food and lifestyle categories, as well as a few macro influencers (up to 2 million in total reach.) The influencers were engaged in a long-term, ambassador-building effort to create meals featuring Laura’s Lean ground beef and plant-based burger products. Influencers were specifically chosen for their propensity to focus on “better-for-you” food options, and to have an audience that aligned with one or both of the brand’s target audiences.
Before engaging, each influencer prospect was thoroughly vetted. The first analysis was a quick check against three key data points used by their influencer marketing agency to create an audience quality rating:
All these metrics were compared to other accounts of similar size in similar categories. To participate, influencers had to score on par or above average on all three data points.
Additional vetting criteria included:
That last point isn’t only important for Laura’s Lean, it’s important to the influencers as well. While the influencers are paid to create the content, most influencers only participate in a campaign when it’s something they’re authentically passionate about and fits into their personal brand.
“Choosing the right influencers, determining what the KPIs are, optimizing on what works is critically important to success – and our partners and us were thorough and methodical by design,” Tanner said.
Hand-picked influencers were then tasked with creating compelling visuals and video content that was seasonally relevant and offered a solution to their audiences’ challenges, such as quick and easy family dinners, creative twists on a hamburger, internationally inspired recipes and kid-approved dishes. In every post, influencers highlighted Laura’s Lean beef as a premium, healthier beef option, educating audiences about Laura’s “Never Ever” promise (the cows never ever receive antibiotics or added hormones) and encouraging their audience to trade up the next time they’re shopping for beef at a highlighted retailer.
Creative Sample #1: Social media post by influencer sharing an easy family dinner recipe while promoting organic food producer Laura’s Lean
Every piece of published content was evaluated using the influencer marketing agency’s content scoring algorithm. The most important factors that go into this score are:
Top-scoring content was turned into social ads running from the creator’s handle. This unique approach to content boosting ensured that only the content most likely to generate positive results received the media investment. From there, each ad was optimized regularly by manipulating the creative format, calls-to-action, platforms, placements and audience targeting – all in response to real-time performance.
“Through a unique combination of influencer partnerships and a paid syndication plan designed to invest only in getting proven content in front of our target audience, we were able to increase awareness, brand favorability and intent to buy among an important growth audience for Laura’s Lean,” said Erin Ledbetter, Sr. Vice President, Carusele (Laura’s influencer marketing agency).
Insights around content performance, audience segmentation and influencer efficiency were leveraged to continually adapt the program. Content performance insights were analyzed to determine how to tweak the creative brief provided to influencers.
To date, the campaign has delivered 76 million viewable impressions, 285,000 engagements and earned more than 7 million minutes of audience attention. With 97 activations in just the first year, influencers published more than 1,500 pieces of content about the brand and generated more than $350,000 worth of original content now available to the brand for use on their own channels.
However, the team felt the real results should come from a custom brand lift study to understand the impact of the influencer program on consumers – specifically, how it made them think, feel and how their intent changed.
A control group and a group of consumers who had been exposed to the influencer campaign were asked brand awareness, consideration and purchase intent questions. The groups were segmented by demographics that were in line with Laura’s growth and core buyer targets.
“Impressions and engagement rate are important to monitor but they only tell marketers so much. The fact is, if your influencer marketing doesn’t revolve around an online conversion then a brand lift study is the best way to understand if your initiative achieved its specific goals. And today’s brand lift studies can go past just simple brand awareness and favorability. They can be extremely robust, capturing the lift in KPIs up and down the marketing funnel,” said Gary Zucker, Co-founder, Group RFZ (Laura’s measurement partner).
The results of the brand lift study were positive. Some of the highlights include:
Overall, the study showed the campaign’s content to be effective at increasing awareness and moving both target audiences down the purchase funnel.
The Receiver is the one who the marketing message is intended for – often a potential customer or sometimes a person who influences the purchase.
One of most important (and difficult) elements of marketing is to truly understand The Receiver and use that understanding to craft your message. Here’s an example of a company that used customer research in inform its campaign.
WoodSpoon is an on-demand food delivery platform. Co-founders Merav Kalish Rozengarten and Oren Saar built the platform to fill the void they saw in the marketplace for delivery of authentic, homemade food.
“What guided our campaign was the research we conducted. We listened to our customers to better understand their preference and buying habits, and focused the campaign around their needs,” said Rosengarten, Co-founder and CMO, WoodSpoon.
“After spending a year at home, and suffering from ‘cooking fatigue,’ we realized that those returning to the office would still be looking for healthy, home-cooked food for themselves and their families,” Rosengarten continued. “That was one of the many conclusions reached by an internal property research project we concluded in mid-February. That survey showed a preference for eating healthy when ordering in, especially from working parents who are looking for homemade food when they don’t have enough time to prepare their own meals.”
As the city emerged from the lockdowns and isolation of the pandemic, WoodSpoon launched an out-of-home advertising (OOH) campaign featuring digital ads with motion running in 20 highly trafficked New York City subway stations. Based on the research, the subway ads positioned WoodSpoon as a way to connect with the healthy cooking of home without having to put in the work necessary to create it.
The ads read: “Miss home? We deliver it.” “As New Yorkers are starting to get back on the subways as the city reopens, we saw an opportunity to welcome them back and remind them they can enjoy WoodSpoon anywhere – even on the go,” said Rosengarten, Co-founder and CMO, WoodSpoon.
Creative Sample #2: Out-of-home digital ad in New York City subway station for food delivery platform
Creative Sample #3: Out-of-home digital ad in New York City subway station for food delivery platform
For the subway campaign, the team tracked scans of the featured QR codes, downloads, and purchases with coupon codes. They saw thousands of interactions on a daily basis.
The campaign has helped the platform grow by more than 40% month-over-month. It has more than 120 home chefs on its platform and more than 15,000 users. “We’ve received positive feedback from customers, who are reposting and sharing pictures of the digital ads on social media,” Rosengarten said.
The Message is what you need your potential customers (The Receiver) to understand about your product.
Take the travel industry, for example. What message is this industry usually trying to communicate? Exciting or relaxing leisure travel? Or productive business travel right in the heart of downtown perhaps? Maybe sustainable luxury powered by green initiatives?
Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, another message became essential as well – traveling is clean and safe. Let’s take a look at an example from a hotel.
Conrad New York Downtown partnered with Valerie Wilson (@TrustedTravelGirl) to showcase the hotel along with its cleanliness practices to reduce the spread of Covid-19 as part of the Hilton CleanStay initiative (the hotel is managed by Hilton).
Valerie stayed at the five-star hotel three times: July 6 – 8, 2020, August 7 – 11, 2020 and October 2 – 6, 2020.
With Wilson’s wide reach and following in the travel space, the team was interested in accomplishing two goals. First, content creation. They wanted to leverage Wilson’s ability to produce quality content highlighting Hilton CleanStay and what the hotel is doing to keep guests safe (with Freedman providing filming assistance) and outlined specific deliverables for Wilson to create. And second, they utilized Wilson’s large reach to help garner hotel exposure.
The team filmed and produced two Hilton CleanStay videos with Wilson, editing and preparing the footage for social media. They also captured content of Wilson around the hotel for static post use.
“Valerie shared more than 50 [Instagram] Stories tagging the hotel over the course of her three stays. The coverage included a room tour, lobby highlight, rooftop sneak peak, Work + Well download (our WorkSpaces by Hilton offering) more about our Rocean Water Filtration system, Hilton CleanStay and more,” said Kara Freedman, Assistant Director of Marketing and eCommerce, Conrad New York Downtown.
Creative Sample #4: Social media post for hotel by influencer
Content through Wilson’s social feeds produced 55,393 views, 5,838 likes and 276 comments. Static posts had 1,946 likes and 140 comments. IGTV (Instagram TV, a long-form video format) videos had 46,465 views, 588 likes and 112 comments and Instagram Reel (a short-form video format) had 8,928 views, 366 likes and 24 comments.
“The Hilton CleanStay video Valerie shared in July was one of the first influencer-created and -shared pieces of content about safe travel. Based on the 40,000 views the video received in the first 24 hours, we knew followers (and travelers) were craving safe travel content,” Freedman said.
“Find good partners,” Freedman advised. “Valerie was flexible and her brand aligned with ours. We do not go out and seek influencers with millions of followers who’s followers don’t even engage with the influencer’s content. Valerie has a brand, one that is followed by our ideal guest, and thus working with her made sense. My number one piece of advice to other marketers is to find good partners that make sense for your brand (not just an influencer will a high following).”
The Means refers to the mechanism used to get the message to The Receiver. It could be a print ad in a newspaper. It could be an email. For our next case study, it was a landing page.
MECLABS Institute split tested three landing page layouts in an experiment as part of MECLABS conversion marketing services (MECLABS is the parent organization of MarketingSherpa).
Creative Sample #5: Landing page layouts from marketing experiment
By simplifying page layout and objectives (reducing friction), one of these landing pages significantly increased clickthrough and conversion (leads) by 265.6%.
You can learn which layout performed the best, along with tips for increasing the performance of your own marketing, in the MarketingExperiments video Design Layout: How to structure your web page or email for maximum conversion (MarketingExperiments is the sister publication of MECLABS).
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