It’s January 1st, and you’ve just committed to eating better and working out more. You have two friends that you can go to for advice:
● Friend #1: Owns a company that teaches group fitness courses. He claims the only way to be healthy is to do his company’s workouts and eat a kale-only diet.
● Friend #2: Also owns her own fitness company. She believes her company’s workout and diet prescriptions are optimal, but she also understands that they aren’t for everyone. She’s happy to make honest recommendations for people who want to try something different.
Friend #1 sounds insane, but Friend #2 seems like a useful resource. And because you know she’s honest and level-headed, she’s going to have an easier time selling you her fitness products.
Businesses should strive to act like Friend #2, not Friend #1.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a unique content marketing strategy from one of the world’s most successful skincare brands, Paula’s Choice.
Paula’s Choice operates Beautypedia, a website that reviews skincare products from a variety of brands. Many Beautypedia reviews are on the first page of Google for popular search terms.
For example, if you enter “drunk elephant reviews” into Google Search (Drunk Elephant is a luxury skincare brand), Beautypedia’s collection of Drunk Elephant product reviews should come up as the #6 result.
Drunk Elephant is one of Paula’s Choice’s biggest competitors. Both brands have the same target customer--a discerning “skincare nerd” who is willing to pay a premium for the most well-formulated products.
The most obvious difference between Drunk Elephant and Paula’s Choice is the price--a typical product from Drunk Elephant costs about twice as much as a typical Paula’s Choice product.
If Paula’s Choice and Beautypedia had a team of average marketers, they would compete with Drunk Elephant in one of two ways:
1. Write negative reviews of Drunk Elephant’s products: “They’re overpriced garbage--buy our stuff instead!”
2. Perhaps if they want to be more subtle, they would write decent reviews of Drunk Elephant’s products, but with strong caveats: “Their products are pretty good, but no one can afford them.”
Yet Beautypedia’s reviews of Drunk Elephant’s products are overwhelmingly positive--only two out of eighteen products have less than a perfect five star rating.
Why would Beautypedia write such positive reviews of a major competitor’s products?
Paula’s Choice’s claims that you can objectively assess the quality of a skincare product based on its ingredients. They even have an ingredient dictionary
: a detailed list of hundreds of common ingredients in skincare products, with a rating of each ingredient.
*Here’s what makes Paula’s Choice different--they only use the highest rated ingredients.*
Most of the time, Drunk Elephant also uses the highest rated ingredients--that’s why they almost always get perfect reviews on Beautypedia.
Here’s why Beautypedia’s positive reviews for Drunk Elephant, and many other brands, are an effective marketing tool for Paula’s Choice:
●They show that Beautypedia (owned by Paula’s Choice) is an honest, objective source of information about skincare products.
●Since people know Beautypedia is honest, they will trust all of their reviews, including reviews of Paula’s Choice products.
Would Beautypedia be a convincing marketing tool for Paula’s Choice if it trashed every competing brand? Probably not.