Creative Cage Match: Birchbox vs. Johnny Cupcakes
There’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond.
So, once a month I’m going to select two marketers and toss them into a Creative Cage Match. I’ll be looking at everything ranging from email to direct mail, website to mobile site. It’ll be a mix of objective and subjective, and each time a marketer will walk out of the ring triumphantly.
Again we dive into my personal inbox (I swear, you're getting to know me too well). This month's cage match goes a step further to throw in the hot topic of content marketing. Does one marketer do it better than the other, more creatively than the other? We shall see!
In this corner, we have the beauty products monthly subscription box the ladies love to love, Birchbox. Started in 2010 by two Harvard Business School graduates, Katia Beauchamp and Hayley Barna as an online startup, it has since grown to be a company worth $485 million, maintains relationships with over 800 brand partners and has more than 1 million subscribers. Wowza.
Across the ring, we have the cupcake-obsessed apparel company Johnny Cupcakes. This retailer has bakery-themed brick and mortar locations, as well as an online presence. Founded in 2001 by Johnny Earle, he was named one of the "Best Entrepreneurs 25 and Under" by BusinessWeek in 2008. Sounds delicious.
Content Marketing vs. Content Marketing
I know, I know ... a little different than my previous cage matches, but I wanted to address the relevance and creativity of these marketers' content marketing. Because if you're going to do it, you better be doing it right.
First up is Birchbox with the subject line, "How to Use Your Eyeko Liquid Liner." The subject line, by the way, is customized for me because I selected the eyeliner as a sample choice for my January subscription box. There was no question I was going to open this email (especially because I used to be a liquid eyeliner novice ... though not anymore!)
Birchbox gets right to the point with copy reading big and boldy, "Squiggles No More." Below is quick copy indicating that there's a video tutorial to watch via the clickthrough over to the content page on Birchbox's site. And honestly, nothing else really needs to be said. Take me to the video!
Below the video, Birchbox includes step-by-step text instructions to complement the video, as well as text and a link to its popular Beauty Essentials series, which covers beauty routine how-tos, ranging from basic to advanced.
So we have content in multiple forms, and notification of said content, customized for me, delivered to my inbox.
Birchbox, I like the cut of your jib.
Next up is Johnny Cupcakes and the company's biweekly (approximately) "Tuesday Tips" email. The subject line piques my interest with "Tuesday Tip: Takeout Pizza!" Okay, I love pizza, tell me more.
Aside from the usual social media sites to clickthrough to, as well as the main site, what you see is what you get when it comes to the content. I can appreciate the quick delivery of the content, and out of the many I've seen the past year or so, the tips are a nice mix of quirky, creative and useful.
How the tips tie in to the Johnny Cupcakes brand, however, does leave me a little stumped. And while I do open these emails (because, hey, I like tips), I spend a few seconds on them, then hit delete.
So, who won for content marketing? It's pretty clear that it's Birchbox. The message is on brand, it's targeted to me, the customer and it taught me something. As Wil Reynolds said, "Content levels me up." It makes me a better me.
Want to suggest some potential Creative Cage Match marketers, or do you just like snooping in my inbox? Either way, comment below, or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Related story: Stop Kanye'ing Your Audience