One of the best ways to learn how to build an effective e-commerce marketing strategy is to analyze effective campaigns from other brands. In fact, learning by example is an effective approach to gain understanding and transferrable knowledge in any business field.
In this article, we explore four of the most inspiring e-commerce marketing campaigns we’ve encountered. We’ll take a look at the ideas underpinning them, initial goals, target audiences and the results.
1. Marc Jacobs – #castmemarc
In 2014, Marc by Marc Jacobs (a “diffusion” line by Marc Jacobs that retailed at a lower price compared to the main high-end line) decided to represent itself with fresh faces and fashion-forward ordinary people instead of supermodels.
Fall 2014 was the beginning of a new direction for Marc by Marc Jacobs. And new directions need new campaigns. The brand decided to use social media to create an open call to all its fans.
Everyone – not just models – could apply directly to the brand by posting a picture with the #castmemarc hashtag, cutting out any agencies.
The open casting was scheduled to run for one week and attracted models and fashionistas alike. There was a lot of buzz and the time-limitation boosted participation by fostering urgency.
It was an excellent way for Marc by Marc Jacob’s audience to participate and feel connected to the brand, while also getting excited about how the final results might manifest on the runway and social media.
The campaign targeted both fashion-lovers and aspiring models. By sharing pictures with a branded hashtag, social media users spread the message to other like-minded people. Marc by Marc Jacob’s target audience consists mostly of fashionistas and aspiring models.
The brand’s representatives deemed the campaign a staggering success, especially since it generated more than 70,000 posts.
Moreover, the brand was promoted through User Generated Content (UGC), in keeping with its tone and values. The initiative attracted attention from the media and helped to build a new audience that was eager to watch ads with relatable “non-models”.
2. REI – #οptoutside
REI’s ongoing #optoutside campaign seemed counter-intuitive when it was launched. But it went on to become a huge success.
REI stands for exploration and adventure. The core idea of the #optoutside campaign was to trump the rampant consumerism of Black Friday. REI made the decision to keep stores closed, reflecting the brand’s mission and values, and urge people to #optoutside.
In this way, REI made a social stand and encouraged others to support this initiative across social media by sharing experiences.
The goal of the marketing campaign was to boost the brand’s authority by taking a stand on a social matter, possibly even turning #optoutside into a movement.
REI’s target audience is made up of people who love the outdoors and are enthusiastic about social change.
REI included employees in its target audience, urging them to share the company’s values by showcasing what they did on their Black Friday day off and using the branded hashtag.
Twitter and Instagram were the main outlets of the #optoutside campaign. And to date, more than fourteen-million people have used the hashtag.
REI created a campaign-specific microsite, experienced a 7,000% increase in social activity, and received nearly three billion media impressions. The campaign also won nine Cannes Lions.
3. Reebok – PureMove Bra
After launching the PureMove Bra, Reebok put together a social media campaign to promote its new product.
The PureMove Bra was an exciting product in need of an e-commerce campaign that was equally innovative.
Most people had never experienced a sports bra that includes motion-sensor technology and is designed to adapt to the body’s movement. Since the product offers the wearer customized support, the basic idea was to show the benefits of a truly personalized sports bra.
The goal was to establish Reebok as the ultimate sports brand and the PureMove Bra as the best sports bra on the market.
This goal was achieved by sending interactive ads to target customers. These ads prompted viewers to jump five times and used their phone’s motion sensors to track movement. Participants thus become aware of how uncomfortable their bras were.
The audience was every woman in need of a sports bra: gym-goers, joggers, athletes, dancers and so on.
The campaign was a resounding success. Reebok’s ads reached over two million users, achieving a 2.55% click-through-rate and an eight-second interaction time.
4. Dollar Shave Club – “Our blades are F**king Great.”
Perhaps one of the funniest, most relatable, and downright effective ecommerce campaigns was Dollar Shave Club’s (DSC) “Our Blades Are F**king Great”.
Dollar Shave Club needed an innovative idea to compete in a market dominated by giants like Gilette. They also wanted to stand apart in an industry that had become dull and stale.
The basic idea was to push a subscription-based product to a younger audience in a way that was fresh and innovative. The strategy? Create a viral video and a landing page to collect emails.
The goal was to create something fun that would promote DSC’s core products: subscription-based plans for men and women’s grooming products.
This was something almost nobody was familiar with at the time. And investing in a landing page and a relatable video was a straightforward, cost-effective and testable strategy.
The Target Audience
The narrative aspect of DSC’s explainer video was enough to entice much of its target audience: teenagers and young adults. The tone of the video and broader e-commerce campaign was fun and relatable.
The numbers clearly demonstrate DSC’s success. The company generated 3.2 million subscribers by the end of 2016 and 12,000 new customers in the first forty-eight hours of the video’s release.
The landing page and e-commerce campaign were so inspiring that DSC was eventually acquired by Unilever in 2015 for one billion dollars.
Good e-commerce campaigns do more than generate sales. Building brand awareness and buzz are just as important. And truly great campaigns can even facilitate positive social change.
Any e-commerce company can create a campaign equal in quality to the examples outlined in this post. It just takes creativity, rigorous market research and a willingness to engage with data. Oh, and don’t forget to come up with a #coolhashtag.
Understand E-Commerce and Learn to Lead
At EU Business School we believe that experiential learning is the key to gaining the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a business setting. Learning through case studies, business simulations, interactive group projects and inspiring talks and visits with globally renowned leaders, supports EU students to go on to achieve remarkable success in their careers.