Today, we’re going to talk about something very near and dear to our hearts here at Level343, marketing done right, as well as share a few marketing campaign examples and branding tips. As marketers for marketers and publishers, we see a lot of campaigns that never make it to the production floor because they’re sorely lacking in some major points. -But most marketing campaigns, if they fail, only do so by a margin, and it’s often due to losing the message.
Occasionally, we come across a marketing campaign that is awe inspiring. The teams on these campaigns are fantastically on point. These campaigns should be written up as training guides for marketers everywhere. -And that’s how we come to Big Blanket Co, a genuine marketing experience, and a fantastic example of marketing done right.
The Lesson #1: Your sales don’t always come through straight lines. Prepare for convoluted user journeys.
I had heard about a blanket made of beaver. Oh, I wasn’t going to buy one, but I was curious if it was as expensive as I thought it’d be. So, I put in the name of the company and “blanket”. Things progressed as I thought they might. I looked at the company, looked at the blanket, saw it was even more expensive than I thought it’d be.
I backed out of the site back to search and there, sitting right above the first result in a PPC marketing campaign via Google Ads, I saw:
“The Big Blanket – 10′ x 10′ Premium Oversized Throw…
I thought, “Wow, 10 foot wide by 10 foot long? That’s a big blanket!”
As someone who is 5’10”, I’m not towering above the rest, but I’m also not looking up everyone’s noses. A 100 square feet of blanket, especially one that looks so soft, is enticing. I saw the price, but it was one of the last things I looked at. I saw the image, then the “10′ x 10′”, then the five stars from sixty-three people.
You may not know this, but it is insanely hard to get reviews. Most people, if it’s a pleasant experience, just enjoy the experience and move on. -But sixty-three people thought Big Blanket Co did their job well enough to take the time to rate them.
Now, let me repeat, I wasn’t actually looking to buy a blanket. I was just sight seeing. “Surfing the web.” However, Big Blanket Co’s marketing team isn’t taking any chances. They were at the right place, at the right time, with the right trigger points: product image, important sale point, top ratings and special offer. The whole ad suggests that you can get this wonderfully large, premium blanket that so many people love for a special price.
Lesson #2: When you know where your target audience is, don’t skimp on marketing costs.
When you look at the search term “big blankets”, they fill the page with ads and organic. It doesn’t get any better than that. People searching for “big blankets” are definitely their target audience, and the marketing team knows it.
I’m not suggesting that you go out and buy all the ad spots for your key marketing terms. However, I am saying, don’t be afraid to go all in when you’ve done the research and you know where your market is. While some degree of caution is smart when talking about your marketing budget, there is such a thing as being too cautious.
Lesson #3: Walk your marketing talk.
We have an article that Gabriella wrote back in the day, “SEO Techniques: 10 Building Blocks of Great Meta Tags“, in which she addresses comments about search titles and meta descriptions. Someone had said, basically, that since Google didn’t look at meta data, there was no use working with it. Just leave it alone. Here’s her reply:
You don’t care about the only thing potential visitors will see when putting in a search query because the search engines don’t use them as a ranking factor? So “about” is an acceptable title for you as a way to introduce your company? Not even “about company”, but just “about”?
And you’re okay with the search engines picking anything out of your content to use as a description for your company, right? You think, “All materials contained on this site are protected by United States copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed…” is going to give potential visitors an inviting, warm, fuzzy feeling?
People, when you’re running an online business, the rules change. Everything you put out there is a representation of your company. Your meta information, your content, the images you use, the comment you made on XYZ blog – everything.
Level343, SEO Techniques: 10 Building Blocks of Great Meta Tags, Gabriella Sannino, January 2011
The marketing team with Big Blanket Co definitely knows this, as these marketing campaign examples show. Their search snippet starts the journey, and I’d like you to really pay attention to how they start branding themselves from the jump:
Notice the tone? Not only do they talk about the comfort of the blanket, but they even went so far as to incorporate that “comfortable” tone into their copy. “The best blanket you’ll own and the only blanket you’ll need.” Wow. The words are even snuggly. This is branding, people, and they carry it through from beginning to end.
Lesson #4: Products are often bought as a matter of emotion and values.
So, I went to the site, screwing up their user journey tracking. I know ads cost so, even though I actually first saw them in a Google Ad, I clicked on the organic version.
Now, you can look through the site yourself, but what do you see? The first picture for me is a happy couple, snuggled under a Big Blanket. They’re obviously comfortable, and the image stays on brand. -But as you scroll down, magic happens.
“Get cozy,” suggests the little button that will take you to the next panel – a panel of smiling happy people (and dog) who are doing just that. You can’t help but smile back. -And the images have captions like “The world’s happiest Sumo wrestler” or “More like blanket castles.”
Big Blanket Co is peddling in perfect pictures, people. The images suggest that, together or alone, animal or human, this is the blanket to have.
What are you learning here as a potential buyer with these examples? What are they suggesting with these images, this marketing campaign? Because at this point, they aren’t selling the blanket (although the blanket is part of it); they’re selling an idea. At this point, they aren’t talking about the blanket anymore. They’re talking about comfort and happiness; your comfort and happiness.
Somewhere in the back of your mind, there’s a brain cell cogitating on just how big and comfortable that blanket really is. It’s processing the smiles and obvious enjoyment of the subjects and calculating the possibility of whether the product will give you that same joy. -And it’s whispering to other brain cells that the possibility is highly likely.
Lesson #5: Be transparent.
Not to harp on a point, but man, they really got it with the brand delivery. Everything about the site is easy. It’s simple. It’s comfortable.
On every page, the brand shines bright. Every product description (and granted, there aren’t many) keeps to the same script. “It’s cool; we got this.” -And in case you can’t figure out which blanket to get, Big Blanket Co suggests that each blanket is perfect to pair with comfort activities. In this case, it’s Netflix marathons, cozy campfires and ultimate blanket forts. Wow – fun, cozy (can you count how many times they say that on the site?), and family-friendly activities.
Transparency is big in today’s modern marketing world, and Big Blanket Co does it right. For example, no hunting for shipping information; it’s right there in the description of every product. Do they guarantee their product? Look no further than the same page for that answer. Right where you’re going to buy the product and put your money down, they give you the answers to important questions.
Still not convinced to buy the blanket? Scroll down for some more marketing awesomeness, where they’re more than happy to share that the specifics of these wonderful blankets, as well as another reminder in a different format (first in a list, then in a bullet list) of their guarantee of your enjoyment.
And lest you think that all this comfort, cozy, kumbaya stuff is a bunch of bull, they drop the Instagram feed for their branded hashtag and share pictures of real customers. They also share their reviews directly on the site. You know what others think about it, and see their smiling faces.
Lesson #6: Price is important, but a coupon is more so.
Well, they got me. Not only did I buy one, but I bought two. Why? Because they hooked me with all the smiling people and images of comfort. Then, they set the hook at an important point in the sales cycle. I added it to my cart and immediately saw a price reduction:
So, I get all this blanket, the promised snuggles and happiness, the premium comfort, free shipping and now $30.00 off the price. But wait, there’s more!
I no longer get the introductory offer, but when I went to check out, I got another bonus. I could, they kindly notified me in large print, purchase another one for $60.00 off. And again with the free shipping.
At this point, I’m totally invested. I want the whole thing – the Big Blanket (stretch), it’s secondary companion, the free shipping – the lot of it. If you can’t afford it all at once, they offer to let me pay it off in four increments. It’s like Lay Away, but you get to take your product home!
Although I spent quite a bit, I actually spent $81 less than I might have, thanks to those specials. Showing those price reductions right on the shopping cart when it first came up was an actual shock. -And although price wasn’t even my initial consideration since I wasn’t actually shopping for a blanket, it was my final selling point. After all was said and done, not counting shipping, I saved about 25%, and I saw the cost drop in front of my eyes. Well played, Big Blanket Co. Well played.
Lesson #7: Go for the big game.
Once I pay, I think that’s it. Just the order confirmation. Here is where most companies epically fail and Big Blanket Co did a bang up job.
Because I’d paid, right? The sale was made and, from a marketer’s stand point, the deed is done – no need to keep pushing, yeah? Not BB Co. No, this is where they upped the anti and stepped (in my mind) into marketing stardom.
Because BB Co’s marketing team isn’t going for just one blanket sale. They want blanket warriors: brand advocates that talk about what a great company they are. They want to hear, “I’ll always buy Big Blankets!”, which is what they got, and shared, and responded to:
Lesson #8: Branding is a process with no finish line.
There should never come a point where you step out of brand in your company. Marketing campaigns fail all the time because of going off message. And I think this is the biggest take away of all.
From beginning to end, Big Blanket Co stays on message. was genuinely excited to see my Big Blanket Co boxes; even the unboxing was fun. They want you to buy their product, enjoy it to the fullness, talk about it and buy some more.
BB Co is up against big competitors and cheaper blankets, and they know it. They obviously came with their A game; from optimization and PPC to copy and branding, their messaging is on point. It never deviates, and it doesn’t stop just because your customer has pushed the “Pay now” button.
How Does Your Brand Compare?
What does your brand look like? What about your marketing campaigns? It’s time to take an unbiased look at your website, brand and marketing campaigns compared to these marketing campaign examples. Because there are brands out there like Big Blanket Co that want to take your clientele. Sure, they’re a niche company. They deal in blankets. But there’s plenty of room for expanding their products and target market.
The eight lessons above should be a good ruler for which to measure your company up against. If your brand and marketing messages aren’t on point, you need to rectify that. Because there are hungry young brands standing behind you with an army of blanket forts and sumo wrestlers, waiting to take over.