Having your first child can be an overwhelming and life-changing experience. Not only are parents’ lives changing in ways they likely never predicted, they’re faced with a bewildering array of baby-related products and gadgets for the very first time.
First-time parents are a unique market in a critical way: they don’t know what they need. Enter Baby Box Canada, which acts as a trusted broker between parents and baby-product suppliers.
The idea behind this non-profit startup was to help parents figure out what they need, and ensure marketers can deliver products that meet that need – in exchange for invaluable consumer feedback.
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“The program has gone from a community outreach dream into a marketing platform,” explains Edward Walker, who co-founded the organization with his wife Romi. “We help brands engage with parents in a symbiotic relationship which is quite different from what we would normally see this type of relationship.”
Tapping into a new segment
“Marketers now have the opportunity to engage directly with parents to provide them with useful products, and in a good hearted, goodwill sort of relationship, the parents provide feedback to the brands on their experiences and insight into their shopping habits.”
The rock-solid relationship that Baby Box Canada has forged with new and expectant parents has changed the way companies market their brands to them. Rather than running limited-time campaigns, marketers that partner with Baby Box are in it for the long run with the 100,000 subscribers.
The power of moments
Walker asserts the company isn’t only about getting useful products into the hands of first-time parents; it’s in the “moments” business. Tapping into life’s milestones is an opportunity for Baby Box Canada and its partners to provide what Walker calls a “a solution to a need that they’re facing at that moment.”
By having a presence in parents’ homes at critical child-rearing moments (an infant’s first fever, for example), marketers forge lasting bonds with their customers, Walker observes.
Other companies are also successfully engaging Canadians in moments when they’re seeking advice, solutions or specific products. True North Delivery Co. delivers specialty boxes of iconic Canadian snacks and sweets for the homesick traveller or ex-pat. Dollar Shave Club brings fresh razors to your doorstep every month, and Ellebox eliminates late-night convenience store runs by offering subscribers organic feminine products. Companies like these prove there’s appetite in catering to moments ranging from minor to major. By building a positive association with those moments in a customer’s mind, a brand has the potential to increase the likelihood of repeat business.
Building brand loyalty early
Often, expectant parents register for the Baby Box Canada program even before telling family and friends of their pregnancy. It puts marketers in a beneficial position to create a relationship with would-be parents earlier than ever before.
This early start affords them the unique opportunity to shift their focus from limited-time campaigns to engaging parents in the right environment at the right time, based on their specific needs.
The interdependent relationship of the subscriber and the brand leads to a feeling of mutual respect. Parents appreciate the brand for helping them in their times of need and the brand collects valuable feedback from their target market.
Recognizing where physical media is appropriate
The success of Baby Box Canada relies heavily on the sense of touch which only comes with getting products directly into a consumer’s hands. “There’s still that demand for the physical. There’s something different about receiving something by email versus when you receive a box at your door, or a package or gift.”
Recent research shows there’s a 20% higher motivation response to direct mail than digital media.
The impact of a physical, tactile experience presents even more opportunities when considered alongside “moments” like the arrival of a new baby or a bout of homesickness. To have the product you need within reach, and to have that product proactively sent to you, builds a relationship. According to Walker, in the case of Baby Box Canada, “There’s an environment of goodwill and trust that [families] feel they owe to the brands, and that the brands owe them.”
Baby Box Canada’s stunning success has lessons for e-commerce companies. “When you look at something on your phone or your computer, you see it and it’s gone. With direct mail, it is something that comes to your mailbox, and that gives you the chance to bring that item into the home, and that is something unique about our program. We allow people to bring something into their home.”
Marketers are discovering the rewards of merging digital with physical experiences. For more insight into how audiences respond to this convergence, read how World Vision Canada increased donor engagement by adopting an integrated approach to their communications.
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