Four Content Marketing Case Studies from Boring Industries
If you’re not doing content marketing, you’re making a huge mistake that will cost you — at least, that’s the word from the experts. But what about boring industries and those companies that feel like they just don’t have any interesting content worth marketing?
It’s certainly true that some guys seem to have it easier than others. Fashion, entertainment, sports, tech, they always seem to have exciting content to market to their audiences and gain brand recognition, customer followings, and growing sales.
But for marketers, there are no boring companies, just boring content. Any industry or company can produce content that builds brand awareness, creates a loyal customer base, and boosts conversions and sales. Here are four case studies that prove it.
1. Blendtec Kitchen Blenders
It used to cost a fortune to produce high-quality video and get it in front of customer’s eyes. Not anymore. Video can be an effective and affordable content marketing strategy for just about any boring industry, including kitchen blenders.
Before its 2006 Will It Blend campaign, Blendtec was a mostly unknown Utah-based kitchen blender company with only 186 employees and low brand awareness. When the firm’s new marketing director learned CEO Tom Dickson and the R&D team had a habit of blending boards to test new blenders, it sparked an idea.
A $100 budget bought a lab coat for Dickson, and marbles, a rake, and some odd food items to blend. The first series of Will It Blend? videos were just shot in the company break room. A decade and hundreds of video later, the series is a huge success, with features on morning and late night TV talk shows, and nearly 300 million YouTube views. Most impressive, retail sales spiked by 700% in less than three years.
2. Casper Mattress Startup
Startup marketing can always be a challenge. Mattresses, for example, are a $14 billion industry, dominated by Tempur-Sealy, which has more than 100 models. Half of mattresses are sold in specialty stores, making it tough for an online direct-to-customer startup, like Casper. It also doesn’t help that there are already 600 mattress companies in the US and that customers hang on to their mattresses 8-10 years. Still, Casper has managed to become a $100 million company in less than two years.
A large part of that has to do with its marketing, which is anything but boring. The company takes a holistic multi-channel approach to their content marketing, maintaining not one but two blogs, engaging with fans on social media, and through fan-created marketing on YouTube.
Casper’s Pillow Talk blog is perhaps what you might expect of good content marketing for mattresses. There is a fun and quirky brand voice and blog articles and listicles centered around sleep and mattresses. It’s good, but the second blog is great. Van Winkle’s is a fresh take on a professional modern literary magazine, “exploring the science, culture, and curiosities of sleep.”
The brand maintains an active Twitter presence, but YouTube is another standout for Casper. Because the company mails out sizeable mattresses in small vacuum-packed boxes, customers have made it an “unboxing” favorite — uploading and sharing their own video content as they open their new mattress packages.
3. Charmin Toilet Paper
Video isn’t the only way to go, of course. Other content marketing approaches can be quite successful. Unboxing or not, user-generated content is almost always content-marketing gold. One great example is Charmin’s “Sit or Squat” app campaign.
Toilet paper is certainly one of the least exciting industries around, even if it might be fairly important to modern civilization. Charmin has been the top toilet paper brand in the US for 25 years but didn’t see that as a reason to slouch on modern marketing. The brand partnered with SitOrSquat, an NYC blog, to help launch a new set of mobile apps that help users locate clean restrooms in 10 countries.
Content is provided by app users, who rate and review public restrooms for cleanliness. The name comes from a thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating, with “sit” designation meaning the bathroom is clean enough to use.
The app has more than 100,000 Android downloads and more than 1,000 positive reviews in the Google Play store. Charmin reported that the total number of searches across all versions of the app were more than 7.2 million.
4. Undertaking LA Funeral Service
Finally, there’s probably no industry less exciting to the mass-market consumer than the funeral service industry. Like toilet paper, this is a niche that most people don’t like to think about too much, no matter how important it may be.
The mortuary industry isn’t known for its advertising, in fact, a lot of people still make business choices based on word of mouth recommendations. However, Undertaking LA, a funeral service in Los Angeles, has managed to earn national press coverage for the company, its founder, and the funeral industry — all through strong and unboring content marketing.
Caitlin Doughty first began creating content about death and dying in 2011, with a website, the Order of the Good Death. Billed as a “death acceptance collective,” the site was covered in major press outlets, like NPR, the BBC, and the LA Times. A YouTube channel launched around the same time, Ask a Mortician, focused on content that appealed more to industry participants and influencers. This allowed Doughty to publish her first book in 2014 and open Undertaking LA in 2015. Doughty’s content marketing efforts continue to bring recognition to her industry, her thought leadership, and her business.
Hopefully, you’re now convinced that there is truly no such thing as a boring company or a boring industry. If toilet paper, funerals, and mattresses can be the basis of interesting and effective content marketing, so can your product or service. All it takes is a little creativity to get started.