I’m guessing Tom’s of Maine has a world-wide cathedral of evangelists (at least in North America, Ireland and the UK). That’s why I’m curious about their lack of a social media footprint? You can “join their community” by signing up for a newsletter; but an enewsletter does not a community make.
It’s sort of like the mud room adjacent to an enormous clubhouse. “Come on in, hand me your coat, take your shoes off, and sit out here while we party inside.”
Why has Tom’s of Maine been so successful with traditional consumer practices? The company bleeds green, from it’s all-natural personal care products to it’s environmentally-friendly manufacturing and distribution. They’ve been this way since 1970, when Tom and Kate Chappell started their enterprise in Kennebunk, Maine.
The 165-person operation manufactures and sells all-natural toothpaste, deodorant, mouthwash, dental floss and soap to the tune of about $25 million in ’07 revenue. You can buy their products through traditional and online retailers. They have legions of product evangelists.
Their website does a great job of reflecting their brand. It features the requisite company history, philosophy, and products, and a host of really well done video clips that capture the people and the essence of the company. I was hoping to include one in my post, but you can’t find them on YouTube, or anywhere online for that matter, except their website. It’s a shame, because their videos are productions other companies could learn from in both green operations and communications, while demonstrating to the faithful that Tom’s of Maine continues its green tradition after nearly 40 years. Here, I’ll give you a static shot of one.
And that’s my point. Tom’s of Maine is missing a terrific opportunity to share its brand leadership with the world and leverage their product evangelists for what appears to be a lack of a social media strategy.
If I’m Tom, here’s just the beginning of what I’d with his green message using social media:
- I’d set up a YouTube channel where I can serve up my excellent video content to anyone who cares.
- My company would absolutely start conversing with my customers through Twitter and Facebook, offering coupons and other added-value goodies (like a new toothbrush with the purchase of my toothpaste) to thank them for being part of my loyal following. I’m guessing the Tom’s of Maine target market is probably the mom’s and dad’s who grew up on the product, which makes them in the 35+ age range. This social media strategy would introduce my product to the younger generation and allow me to converse with them on their terms.
- My online club would also include a mobile marketing strategy that would allow me to deliver coupons to my opted-in customers’ cell phones. They could show their text coupon on their phones at the counter and leave with additional savings on my fine product. Convenient, green, and value-added. All brand attributes of Tom’s of Maine.
- I’d also use these online forums to solicit consumer advice on product advancements, new products, and product line extensions, encouraging our customers to help us be a better company.
- Moreover, I would use my new found social media voice to help propel the entire industry forward into greener pastures. I’d share with my competitors and compatriots how we manufacture and distribute the most environmentally-friendly personal care product line in the world. I’d invite them to adopt these practices where feasible (like reusing the same shipping cardboard boxes over and over again, some for more than 10 years. I’d like to show you this video, but I can’t. You’ll have to click on the above static image).
In addition to helping to educate us all about how to be better stewards of the planet, the online stragey just might lead to an uptick in sales to the tune of 10 – 15%. A nice toss to the bottom line by simply following the same philosophy that built your extraordinary company over the past 40 years, only now with the cheapest and greenest form of sales and marketing there is: social media.