Monday, September 26

Making It Up: Orabrush Marketing

About a year ago, the Orabrush success story was all about social media and YouTube — the opportunity for a small company and marketing student to reach millions of people, one person at a time. But its latest success has nothing to do with the millions of viral views that resulted in one million sales.

Their latest success, recently profiled by AdAge, was turning a $28 Facebook advertising purchase into one order of 735,000. The $28 ad purchase, reaching only a few targeted Walmart employees who lived near their corporate headquarters, proved more effective than a previous $20,000 or more spent on retail trade print advertisements. Even the message was targeted.

"Walmart employees have bad breath. Walmart needs to carry Orabrush. It will sell better than anything in your store."

According to the article, the vice president of purchasing for Walmart had seen the Facebook ad and believed it was reaching employees nationwide. A buyer called within 48 hours to let them know they had seen the advertisement and they could stop running it.

Afterward, Orabrush sent a customized DVD and sales kits, and placed the 735,000 unit order. The order expands Orabrush's retail space from 20 Walmart stores to 3,500 nationwide. Listen to the story.

With Walmart distribution in place, the company attracted the attention of CVS. Other major retailers will likely follow suit. It had already been accepted by retail outlets in Canada, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

The story remains a remarkable one, especially because the company has never run consumer-targeted advertising trough traditional print and broadcast media. And yet, its success has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and ABC's Nightline, not because of a formal public relations pitch, but because they are making news.

All the followers in the world cannot duplicate the success caused by a few hundred. 

Marketing success, especially online, is not contingent on numbers or influencers. It's contingent on finding the right people to produce a specific outcome. And each marketing effort might even have different outcomes.

For Orabrush, their entertaining YouTube videos have always been about about the truth — that 90 percent of all bad breath is caused by the tongue — that people feel compelled to share. Conversely, their $28 ad buy on Facebook (and sales presentation) was all about being distributed nationwide.

Both methods outproduced commonly clever advertisements that can be funny or viral, but never sell a single product. And why didn't those advertisements sell any product?

In some cases, the advertisements never gave people a reason to buy even if most loved the advertisement. In other cases, people worked hard to reach millions that have no interest in or intention of buying the product. Or worse, marketers pandered to "influencers" all for a sound bite that might have even distorted their message. And that's fine, especially for the marketers who know better.
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