Case Study: Costco

3:50 — Cale Johnson introduces Costco‘s Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, Robin Ross.

3:51 — Trick question: Have you seen the new Costco commercial? They don’t exist. Costco runs on a business model that is fueled on Word Of Mouth Marketing.

3:52 — We are getting a brief history of Costco.

5:53 — Why WOM? It’s about bringing delight to your members and an excited conversation about your brand.

3:56 —When people think about Costco, they think about buying in bulk. He shows us a picture of a Toberlone the size of a small child.

3:57 — Wait, did you know that you can buy a wedding gown at Costco? Unexpected surprises at Costco spurs conversation about the brand.

3:59 — Oh my. Costco’s online inventory of caskets are on the screen. Costco really takes care of the customer from cradle to grave…

4:02 — Costco does not measure Net Promoter Score (NPS).

4:04 — “Our members are the key to success.”

4:05 — References the Costco Craze on CNBC. The network reached out to them to cover Costco.

4:06 — Costco did not start their Facebook fan page; it was created by the fans. When it reached 83,000 fans, Facebook reached out to them to tell them they were going to shut it down if they didn’t take over.

4:09 — Q&A

Is it intentional to make everything impossible to find at Costco?

There is a treasure hunt aspect to shopping at the store. Costco wants to you walk around and browse. It’s a unique experience.

What do you do to engage your members social channels?

Costco tries to maintain an element of surprise; they offer quirky items in their inventory. Ex: A $3,000 toilet and a million dollar engagement ring. Costco gives the members something to talk about.

What is your strategy for mobile devices?

Costco is still working to leverage new technologies. A smart phone app is in the works. Mobile coupons are being considered. According to Ross, they understand that their demographic trends older and have a strategy to resonate with the younger market.

Does the “treasure hunt” aspect of Costco have a negative impact with regards to the amount of money that people end up spending when they leave the store?

Costco is very transparent and open-book with their customers; The treasure hunt is something that makes their in-store experience unique.

What separates you from Sams Club?

They are a formidable competitor. Ross encourages people to see for themselves and compare prices and in-store experience on their own.

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About Yola Blake

Yola Blake is the lead social strategist at Get Page One, a search-marketing agency in Austin. Her current role includes full-service community management, corporate and small business social strategy, social profile optimization for SEO and editorial project management. Yola is also a contributing author for the Social Media Club's global editorial team and the Austin chapter’s web chair.

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