Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Smart Snugglie Marketing in a Down Economy

Let’s cut to the chase: A Snuggie is a blanket with sleeves. A blanket with sleeves that we all guffawed and mocked. A blanket with sleeves that sold five million units of just the blue version in the period of a year. A blanket with sleeves that did this in a down economy.


It’s not that Snuggie was an original product. Before it, there was the Slanket. There’s also the Freedom Blanket and the Blankoat (as someone who works from home, I’m very familiar with the blanket-as-clothing options. Let’s just say on a good day, I dress like Mrs. Roper and on a bad day, it’s a towel held up with a banana clip).

It’s also not that Snuggie is the best quality of the bunch. If you do a search for Snuggie vs. Slanket, you’ll see that the Snuggie is actually on the cheapo side, barely a step up from a giant piece of felt.

The difference was marketing.

1. Snuggie ponied up when no one else would. When everyone else was tightening their ad and marketing purse strings, Snuggie was (and is) everywhere. With less demand in the marketplace thanks to everyone else scaling their ad buys back in response to the recession, Snuggie was able to negotiate big chunks of ad time at much lower rates. They flooded TV stations with their product.
2. Snuggie let go of their brand (in a good way). No sooner did Snuggie commercials roll out did people start mocking them. Loads of people made their own parody videos, blogged about Snuggie, made sarcastic Facebook “Snuggie appreciation groups” and so on. And Snuggie laughed right along with it all. You might be surprised how many companies are quick to shut down anyone who tries to use their brand or product in a way they believe is unflattering.
3. Snuggie continued to react. Snuggies should be gone by now as far as memes and pop culture interest goes, so they keep giving more. There’s now Snuggie for Dogs and Designer Snuggies – which were recently launched during New York Fashion Week (for reals).

How does this all translate to you and your business?:

1. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. A changing economy can be scary, but it can also present opportunities. Listen to conventional advise, but realize that’s what everyone else (including your competitors) are doing too. By going against the grain, you can often find prospects and room for negotiation.
2. It takes money to make money. Yes, there are great cost-effective ways to get business – web content marketing being one of them – but some people have even scaled back on these. How do you expect to maintain or grow business by shrivelling your marketing budget? Doing nothing will result in nothing. There is a gamut of marketing services and tactics that range in budgets – find what works for you.
3. Take business seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. No one likes a company that is humorless and uptight. Prove you aren’t with your web content and marketing efforts. Put some personality in your blog, video, web conference and Twitter updates. Do this while still being great at your core business. And what if people are having “fun” with your brand or product (see: mocking it relentlessly)? By loosening the reigns and going with the flow, you might just laugh all the way to the bank.
4. Don’t rest on your laurels. Did you launch a great product, service or message this year? Great! Congratulations! So, what’s next? If you have an audience, listen to them, engage them and find out what they want. Look for ways to improve your original idea, give more options or come out with complimentary products.

Sure, the Snuggie is beyond silly. We’d bet half of the purchases were “ironic” in nature and gag gifts. But the money they’ve made? It’s nothing to laugh at – and it’s something to learn from.


Need help with your marketing? Call RedFire Media 706-951-4608 |



Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Most Important Social Media Strategy for Making Money

As found at

The Most Important Social Media Strategy for Making Money
By Chris Crum - Sun, 07/26/2009 - 08:52

WetPaint CEO Talks Business Social Media Use

Earlier this week, WebProNews reported on a study from WetPaint and the Altimeter Group, which indicated that brands who engaged with customers more through social media performed better financially. Judging from our comments, there is a lot of skepticism about the accuracy of this information, but Wetpaint CEO Ben Elowitz shared some further insight with WebProNews about how companies can most effectively utilize social media.

Elowitz also talk a little bit about the ENGAGEMENTdb site, which was announced along with the study. On the site, businesses can match their own social media efforts up alongside those of successful brands.

WebProNews: What do you think is the most important way for a company to utilize social media to have the biggest impact on revenues?

Ben Elowitz Ben Elowitz: For a company to be effective with social media, it has to actually react to the conversations that take place. If the company does, it validates the consumers they engage with and creates even greater loyalty. Beyond that loyalty, engaged companies tend to have products and services that customers actually want. No wonder – those customers actually played a role in creating them. And when you sell products that closely reflect the desires of the customer, you’re better able to drive premium pricing. Better pricing, better margin, better profitability.

WPN: How important is it for a company to have a dedicated team working on social media efforts on a full time basis?

BE: A full time team is great but it might not be a reality. If a full time team isn’t possible, what needs to happen is a couple people within a company that can serve as evangelists and spread the social media word internally. Often times when social media gets started in a company, people are resistant because it’s viewed as another thing someone has to do in their day-to-day job. However, an evangelist can sell the benefits and keep the momentum going to help transition social media from ‘another daily task’ to something that becomes part of the natural work flow.”

WPN: ON the ENGAGEMENTdb site, companies can rank themselves. Can you tell me a bit about the ranking process?

BE: The "Rank Yourself" feature is a quick 5 question survey asking about a company’s social media efforts. Based on those answers, we correlate it to the data we gathered for the ENGAGEMENTdb report. Based on their particular answers, we’re able to generate a report that compares their efforts to the world’s most valuable brands.

WPN: On average, how are the companies (outside the top 100) ranking?

BE: We're seeing companies rank all along the spectrum from Social Media Mavens to Social Media Wallflowers. Since the results are private, we think the self assessment is a pretty good indicator of what companies are really doing in the social media space.

WPN: How much progress needs to be made?

BE: The social media space is evolving so quickly that it’s pretty easy to say we all have a long way to go. The key thing to remember is that the data we’ve been able to gather suggests that there is a very strong correlation between high social media engagement and better financial results. Companies that experiment now and learn the ropes are going to be so much better off than the ones waiting for just the right moment to get involved with their customers.

Wrapping Up

I'd like to thank Mr. Elowitz for answering my questions, and sharing his thoughts on social media practices for businesses. How do think your own social media efforts stack up to those of the big brands? How about to other smaller brands? Share your thoughts.
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Looking for social media ideas?.... Contact RedFire Media at 706-951-4608 or