At the Digital Food & Beverage conference in Austin, Texas, this summer, Conner explained that when Soylent decided to make the move from selling primarily on its own website to other online and offline channels, it discovered its most valuable asset was its dedicated and highly engaged consumer base.
“Using your heaviest user is an incredible strategy. It is your biggest asset,” she said, explaining that dedicated consumers often are willing to share data about themselves, their habits and their needs that a brand can then use to determine what to distribute where and how.
Dedicate fans also are invaluable advocates and can be much more effective than other marketing efforts, Conner said.
“Listen to your consumers. They are the advocates for the brand and they are going to share. You are much more likely, if your friend tells you to go try Soylent than if I put a billboard on a highway and you see a Soylent bottle,” she said. “For us, it is really using that consumer to market and work with us and we try to … put that at the heart of everything we are doing.”
Similarly, loyal consumers also can help bridge the information gap between online and offline marketing, which can be a major stumbling block as companies move into traditional retail where they have fewer opportunities to communicate with potential new consumers.
Conner explained that online marketing is a much richer experience with multiple ways of educating consumers, but in stores most of this heavy lifting falls to packaging, a shelf talker or a neck hanger. So again, as Soylent moved into physical stores it relied on dedicated users to educate their friends and other potential consumers about Soylent’s value proposition.