I have to admit that I wasn’t familiar with the mattress market until a few months ago. I came across Koala Mattress (or Koala Living) story by chance. I was amazed by their success, so I looked closer to find how they did it. To my surprise, their marketing strategies have been impressive. I think we can learn a thing or two from their story.
I was surprised because I didn’t know much about the mattress industry. The last mattress I bought was 4 years ago. I thought it was a dull, transactional thing to do – buying a mattress. You have to go to a showroom, talk to a salesperson, go to another store to ensure you get a good deal, etc. At the end of the day, who would buy a mattress often, right? Yep, I was wrong. That is what the Koala founder – Dany Milham – tried to change. He is an IT guy who wanted to use his IT skill to ‘disrupt’ an industry. He and his business partner stumbled upon the mattress industry and thought woah this industry hadn’t been disrupted for so long, let start here.
These are 5 marketing strategies I learn from their story.
1. You need a sellable product.
When I say ‘sellable’ I didn’t mean sell-able. It’s not about sales. It’s about designing or searching for a product with benefits that you can sell. Confused? I don’t blame you. What I meant is you have a mattress, right? Anyone could have a mattress, and anyone can sell a mattress. But to make a business, a sustainable one out of it, you have to think deeper than that. You need to find the key attributes of the mattress and turn those into benefits. For Danny, he found a special foam that set his mattresses apart. He then created stories from the benefits of how his mattresses could help his customers.
Key takeaway – You have to look beyond product features and try to find what benefits could change someone’s life (could be in a big or small way). Don’t talk about the foam in the mattress. Talk about how it could solve the insomnia problem.
2. You must have a great offer.
Having a great product is critically important.
Having an amazing offer is NEEDED to get the product in as many people’s hands as possible.
And Koala nails it.
What do I mean by a great offer? Granted, every mattress player in the market is doing this now. But 5 years ago, this strategy was pretty new. When you try to sell something like mattresses online, you must be able to inject trust in the process. Customers must feel at ease that if they make a wrong decision, everything would be ok. They could get a refund and/or they could exchange a product etc. Below are Koala Mattress’s offer:
Key takeaway – Online sales is about confidence building. You have to make customers feel that they would be taken care of if they make a mistake in a buying process. It could be in forms of a full refund, free return or exchange, or a satisfaction guarantee. At the end of the day, if you have a great product, you should be confident to put a guarantee behind it.
3. A sign-off from other customers always helps.
All marketers know that a sign-off from other customers in the form of customer reviews is gold. When I worked at a hospitality company, a monthly routine was to search for customer testimonials. We knew that positive reviews were valuable. However, we somehow couldn’t create a habit to collect, show, and make the most out of it. Koala Mattress knew this and integrated customer reviews as an integral part of their online marketing strategies. Every mattress has a star system and a major testimonial next to it. We all know why it there, right?
Key takeaway – Don’t make the same mistake like I did. You should create a marketing habit to encourage customers to give you testimonials or reviews. Then, integrating those testimonials in every communication to new customers. It’s a confidence-building necessity.
4. A nurturing process could go a long way.
Customer nurturing was something I tried (very hard) to introduce to the company I worked for. Unfortunately, it was a sales-driven company, meaning quantity was more important than quality. If you work in the same environment i.e. sales-driven, my suggestion is – don’t bother unless your CEO commits to do something differently. Going for quality takes time. But once the engine starts working, it becomes a routine. Having said that, nurturing customers doesn’t need to be time-consuming. What you need to understand is that you have to respect your customers. They wouldn’t buy anything from you on the first date. They need more time so you should give them that.
You could do something similar to what Koala Mattress does. They have a series of emails to people who sign up for their newsletter. They are 5 or 6 emails being sent in the course of 3 weeks. The first few emails are about getting to know your emails. The last 2 emails are a closing email with a coupon and a discount.
Key takeaway – Is it reasonable to give your customers a few weeks to learn and like your brand and products? I think it is. A few weeks are not a long time. I suggest that you design a nurturing communication series to welcome new customers. It’s about building rapport and earning trust. It doesn’t need to take months.
5. You need the put-you-on-the-map content.
One of the main activities that helped put Koala Mattress on the map is the below video. It’s brilliant for 2 reasons – 1) it reflects the benefit of the product and 2) it is simple and creative. The video gained over 1.6 million views. People know the brand instantly. The good news is you can create something like this for your company too. What you have to do is to find the product benefit that can be used to promote your brand. If you sell pillows, don’t create content about pillows. You should ask yourself – what are the benefits of great pillows? The answer to this question is the main hero in your story.
Key takeaway – Creating interesting content that could put your brand on the map is possible and feasible. The first step is to list your product’s key benefits and how they could change your customer lives. As an example, a good mattress helps customers to sleep better. What are the key benefits of having a good night sleep? It could help with improving memory. Then, you create content around this benefit.
What Koala Mattress has done is good (not annoying) marketing. They balance both outbound and inbound philosophy well. The outbound part plays a crucial role in speeding up a purchasing decision process. The inbound part is making customers wanting to talk to them through creative content marketing. The above marketing strategies can be done with some discipline and commitment from the top. But you have to drive it.
Strategy in Bytes helps businesses create differentiation marketing strategies to drive growth and increase profitability.