10 Companies Doing Online Marketing Right

There’s a lot of misinformation and poorly executed digital marketing strategies out there, so every so often – when we see a company doing online marketing well – we just have to point them out.

So, without further ado, check out ten of the best-executed online marketing campaigns we’ve seen recently, as well as the lessons that can be inferred from each example:

1 – Coca Cola

Coca Cola isn’t just paying lip service to the power of content marketing – they’re throwing some serious resources behind their new “Content 2020” campaign, which aims to double the company’s sales by the year 2020 through the use of effective content marketing campaigns.

For more details on how exactly the already-enormous beverage giant plans to carry out this Herculean task, you’ll definitely want to watch Parts One and Two of the campaign description videos found on Youtube:

Lesson: Content marketing is the way of the future, but it must be managed appropriately to be effective.  Online content marketing campaigns should strive to produce measurable results in proportion to the resources committed to them.

2 – AMEX

Plenty of companies talk a big game about “the communities” they’re creating online and the inherent value of the “online conversation.”  Far from being all talk and no game, American Express puts its money where its mouth is by leveraging the value provided by industry experts on its Open Forum website.

Open Forum is a collaborative website, on which American Express invites guest authors from a variety of sectors to share their business knowledge and wisdom.  The result is a content rich mega-site that’s popular with the search engines – all created without American Express needing to shell out cash to content contributors.

Lesson: Good content marketing strategies draw on a range of user-generated sources to both grow online communities and minimize financial investment.

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3 – Mint

Entering the crowded personal finance niche is a daunting task for any new startup, but the approach taken by financial tracking tool Mint proves that it’s possible to stand out in a crowd through well-executed online marketing strategies.

Although the company was a relative unknown amongst its more popular predecessors, Mint committed to publishing hundreds of high quality content pieces – from informative blog posts to viral attention-grabbing infographics.  As the result of its digital marketing efforts, the tool gained a massive online following before being sold to Intuit for a whopping $170 million.

Lesson: Investing in content marketing often requires significant amounts of time and money, but committing to content production and high quality standards can build substantial market attention in a short period of time.

4 – Zappos

Zappos sets the gold standard for online customer care, providing both a full 365-day money back guarantee and free shipping both ways, should consumers decide to return or exchange products purchased on the site.

As a result, Zappos doesn’t have to work hard to market its online presence – its policies are so appealing to consumers that shoppers are eager to sing the company’s praises to one another in a completely viral fashion.  (Of course, Zappos does still invest heavily in online marketing, and its social media campaigns shouldn’t be missed!)

Lesson: When it comes to online marketing, there’s nothing better than viral recommendations.  To encourage this type of promotion, emphasize policies or features that go beyond the norm in order to demonstrate your company’s care for its customers.

5 – Laika Entertainment

Laika Entertainment – the production company behind Halloween hit, Paranorman – revealed a tremendous amount of online marketing savvy recently by reaching out to internet thought leaders with a somewhat unusual promotion…

As posted on The Bloggess, blogger Jenny Larson (internet hero to the weird, the quirky and the taxidermy-loving) received an anonymously-delivered, nearly 30-pound coffin that – when opened – revealed a figurine promoting the company’s movie.  The title of her post on the subject pretty much sums it up – “This is how you do PR.”

Lesson: Connect with thought leaders in order to disseminate your company’s messages, but look for unique ways to capture attention and build rapport beyond simply emailing for help.

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6 – CREE Lighting

Despite being a small company selling LED and energy-efficient lighting solutions to B2B customers, CREE’s social media savvy is undeniable.  Balancing a presence across multiple Twitter handles, Facebook accounts, internal blog posts and Youtube videos, the company manages to maintain a consistent voice around the web that’s highly compelling to target customers.

One thing that the company does extremely well is to draw on online follower bases to power real-world events, like the company’s ongoing “Lighting the Revolution” tour.  By maximizing its social media marketing efforts, CREE is able to generate interest in its off-line events, increasing attendance beyond what would be possible with traditional marketing methods alone.

Lesson: Commit to online marketing activities, but don’t forget to tie them back to real-world events (as applicable).  Doing so is one powerful way to cash in on the online good will generated by social media marketing.

7 – General Electric

Of all the brands you’d expect to find on social media darling Pinterest, General Electric probably isn’t the first to spring to mind.

But unexpectedly, the company is killing it on Pinterest, through the use of engaging pin boards like the “Badass Machines” board and the “Hey Girl” board, which ties the popular “feminist Ryan Gosling” meme to some of GE’s most popular innovations.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid of alternative online marketing venues like Pinterest or Instagram, even if they aren’t yet well known or don’t immediately appear to suit your target demographics.  Experiment with unusual types of online connections and measure the impact they have on your overall bottom line.

8 – Old Spice

Old Spice gets viral marketing, as the meteoric success of the company’s recent “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” campaign demonstrates.

But Old Spice’s savvy doesn’t just extend to TV advertising spots.  The company is also doing a great job maximizing the potential of Facebook’s recent Timeline update by making use of customized apps, full-layout featured promotions and frequent, engaging status updates.  Considering how much the company commits to this social networking site, it isn’t surprising to see an average of 1,000-2,000 “Likes” on every new update the company puts up!

Lesson: Don’t just set up your company’s Facebook fan page and call it a day.  Use this unique opportunity to connect with your audience in a fun, informal way by taking advantage of all the different features made available by the Timeline update.

9 – JetBlue

One of the biggest mistakes we see companies making when it comes to online marketing strategies is the tendency to post self-promotional materials only.  And really, nobody wants to follow a company that can’t stop talking about itself long enough to post something of real value!

JetBlue – the popular discount airline – is one company that gets it.  Instead of using Twitter to post fare discounts and special offers, the company uses its handles to provide fast and easy customer service.  In fact, the effect is so profound that nearly all the messages in the company’s feed include @ replies, which is highly unusual in the world of social media marketing for businesses.

Lesson: Make it a priority to balance self-promotional materials with information followers can actually use, and respond to users whenever they interact with your web profiles in order to boost rapport and consumer confidence.

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10 – Blendtec (Have fun on Youtube)

Blendtec’s popular “Will it Blend?” series of Youtube videos is often recognized as a great example of video marketing done well – and with good reason!

Really, it’s no surprise that the consumer goods manufacturer’s Youtube channel has nearly 200 million video views.  The company’s videos feature a fun concept, memorable characters and – best of all – an innovative way of proving their products’ quality claims.

Lesson: Don’t be afraid to have fun!  Online marketing doesn’t have to be all about measuring metrics and determining campaign ROI.  At the end of the day, what’s most important is that you’re engaging your customers in a fun and exciting way – leading to brand loyalty that will pay off for your company over time.

Have you seen any other interesting online marketing campaigns recently?  If so, we’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments section below.

Image: GollyGforce

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