When you think about having some exciting fun at home or away, you probably don’t consider popping out the family blender. But one blender company – Blendtec – has topped the charts with more than 60,000 Facebook followers, 34,000 Twitter followers, and 880,000 YouTube subscribers.
That’s a tremendous following – what’s the secret?
In case you haven’t heard of it, “Will It Blend?” is a viral sensation that features inventor Tom Dickson, founder of Blendtec, showing off the prowess of his products by blending various items that you aren’t meant to blend. It’s so popular, it even has its own entry on the Internet Movie Database.
When it comes to content marketing, “Will It Blend?” is an instructive case.
There’s almost nothing of interest about the average blender. In recent years, most brands in the space have tacked in the same direction: Making breathless claims about how their products and their products alone can “unlock the power” of the foods you put inside them.
But Blendtec went in a completely different direction – using a unique idea and presentation that has, in effect, almost nothing to do with the typical blender selling points. Yet, by most content marketing metrics, Blendtec is the most successful company of its kind.
First of All: Did It Work? Does it Matter?
The average content marketing campaign has an advantage of being able to prove ROI through conversion tracking and traffic attribution. From the outside of a campaign, things get murky. Viral traffic doesn’t necessarily lead to sales, so does “Will It Blend?” really work?
According to Tom Dickson, it does.
He’s said the campaign “took off almost instantly” and had “an amazing impact” on both commercial success and retail products. Although we can’t diagram the exact results here, we can point out that the “Will It Blend?” channel now has its own brisk merchandise sales.
So, for our purposes, let’s assume that “Will It Blend?” has made Blendtec more successful – a lot more successful – than it might otherwise be.
Let’s likewise assume that if your brand could capture a similar level of viral content marketing clout, you’d find a way to produce great ROI, too.
How do you get there?
Why “Will It Blend?” is a Viral Content Marketing Sensation
If you haven’t checked out the “Will It Blend?” YouTube channel, start out there.
At the time of this writing, the most recent video on the channel celebrates Amazon Prime Day 2018. To commemorate the occasion, Tom applies the power of Blendtec innovation to none other than the Amazon Echo. You’ll have to check it out to see what happens!
If you take the time to look at two or three videos, you’ll notice some things right away.
Each video captures the same formula, but let’s break it down here and see why it works.
1. Each Video is Just a Few Minutes.
When we talk about video content then, for the most part, we’re talking about short-form video. Most people want to click over to a video and be done with it in one sitting, preferably just a few minutes. WIB embraces this and clips along at a brisk pace in a tried and true format.
2. Tom Dickson is Not an Entertainer.
Although Tom is entertaining, he’s not an entertainer. He might look great in goggles and a lab coat, but he clearly doesn’t do a lot of rehearsing for each video. Oddly enough, the rough edges create a sense of authenticity and make him likable, just like live cell phone video.
3. There’s No Video Content Annoyances.
Have you ever looked up your favorite song on YouTube only to wait an agonizing 10 seconds for some dude’s logo to crawl the screen in silence? Tom’s videos get started right away; the branded elements are there, but the content doesn’t lag behind them.
4. There’s no Hard-Selling...
Although a few seconds are dedicated to where you can find the product, this is more a wink and a nod than anything else. Every video starts with a quick intro to what will blended and then moves straight into the action, leaving you to put the pieces together.
5. ...But the Product is the Star of the Show.
Let’s face it: Most smoothies don’t call for a blender that will blend anything you put into it. But you’ll still find yourself cheering for the Little Blender That Could, even if the whole show is a tiny bit impractical. And when it’s time to buy a blender, what will you think of first?
6. You Really Do Wonder “Will It Blend?”
For the most part, it will! The central conceit of the show would collapse if the answer to “Will It Blend?” was no. Yet, there’s still that moment of anticipation. Will it blend? What’s going to happen? What the heck is inside of an Amazon Echo, anyway? The curiosity is infectious.
“Will It Blend?” is a Great Lesson for Content Marketing Experts
When marketers discuss B2B content marketing, they’re usually talking in terms of the three-stage buyer journey. We look for interactions that can drive conversions and move decision-makers from one stage to another. And for the most part, it’s fantastic!
Of course, we all know that there are other aspects to marketing, too.
One of these is brand awareness. For example, Google Ads experts may run brand awareness campaigns by prioritizing display ad placements on sites in their niche. These ads don’t capture a lot of purchase-ready traffic, but they raise awareness of your product.
Another way content marketers might drive brand awareness is through guest blogging. Ideally, guest blogging will ultimately win you some sales: In the short run, however, it’s just as vital for its ability to introduce a whole new audience to your product.
That’s precisely what “Will It Blend?” has achieved with its video marketing.
Most people aren’t out there buying a whole collection of blenders. They aren’t replacing their blenders every year. A blender might last three or five years with regular use, or it might sit in the kitchen for decades if you rarely need it. But when you do need one...
Then you’ll probably end up looking at Blendtec products.
And it goes a step further, too.
You might never have come into contact with “Will It Blend?” without this article.
Heck, even I didn’t know anything about WIB or Blendtec until this post idea came down the pike. Now, I’m checking out Amazon and trying to figure out exactly which model dismantled an Echo in less than 30 seconds. I’m imagining how much easier it’ll be to put together a nice smoothie in the morning with my own “Will It Blend?” blender.
With its cheeky, friendly, low stress attitude, the “Will It Blend?” campaign created a need.
Now, of course, Blendtec sits firmly in the B2C world. If you want this kind of trust and rapport with B2B buyers, you’ll have to think creatively about how to bring your solutions out there into the world. But there is a way. You just have to figure out what it is.
Think outside the blender... and you might just create the next viral marketing sensation.