When you're standing in the store or searching online for a new blender, one company hopes you'll ask yourself "will it blend?". Their web video series has proven that their blenders have the strength to blend just about anything. Whether or not you really want to blend your iPhone, golf balls or glow sticks, it's nice to know that in a pinch you could... Right? Of course!
The Blendtec Total Blender and company serves a group of people that don't think the average blender sold on Wal-Mart's shelves will do. Instead, they created a blender with plenty of power and sharp blades to cut through just about anything they throw at it. I don't own one of these blenders and I don't have any experience with them, but they've got me convinced that they're probably the best blenders around. In fact, I've never seen an ad on TV for one or one on a store shelf, but Blendtec is a brand that stuck for me several years ago entirely becaused of their web-based marketing efforts. The Will it Blend YouTube video series and website of the same name allowed them to share videos based around the simple idea of blending basically anything in their blenders. It's like a late night TV ad gone awry... but it works.
The company was relatively early to the game. They came up with a good idea and have stayed focused on content updates to Will it Blend? since 2006. The concept was good and even though the videos are distributed entirely on YouTube, they have a solid reputation. To be fair, I have no idea what kind of conversion rate they have from people that watch the videos to people that actually buy the product, but what can't be denied is that they've built strong brand recognition with hardly any money spent. As of writing this, they have 213,124 subscribers on their YouTube channel and videos with views from hundreds of thousands to millions on some of their videos. That's quite an audience and lots of eyeballs all because of a simple concept. Too often, people get caught up concerning themselves with doing something that's too tech heavy for an Internet-based marketing campaign or just too much of a traditional advertising model. Companies also try too hard to be one of the cool kids and say "me too", but everyone sees right through those supposed "viral" productions.
The keys for a good web-based marketing effort seem to be the following:
1) Keep it Simple. The KISS principle is almost always the best thing to keep in mind when doing anything. It also helps to keep your costs low. It's easy to over-complicate a good idea or a good product. Apple has proven that having a simple product focused on solving one specific problem can have a much better impact than something trying to do it all. The Will it Blend videos never try to do too much and you shouldn't either. Three steps is all they needed for success. 1. Show blender. 2. Show something go into blender. 3. Show dust come out.
2) Rinse and Repeat as needed. It's just like the instructions on a bottle of shampoo. Once you have a good concept, don't do it once and stop. That's like starting a corporate blog and posting once. Sequels happen for a reason and once you have something people are responding to, you shouldn't stop. It's also important to listen to your audience. When you've jumped the shark, you'll know it and you may want to try something different.
3) Be unexpected. The "Will it Blend?" series would not have gotten as much attention if they had just blended food. Not everyone needs to do something completely ridiculous like this, but taking steps to stand out from the crowd is important. Almost everyone has a competitor in one form or another and having a differentiating factor is important. However, having one that wouldn't be expected is even better.
Will you be able to blend these three principles together into a successful web-based marketing effort?