Case Study: Dreamfields Pasta — live from Word of Mouth Supergenius

4:40 — Bergen Anderson introduces ExactTarget‘s Jeff Rohrs.

4:41 — Jeff says Dreamfields has a very unique selling problem that social media and word of mouth helped solve. The main goal of a seller of pasta is to have shelf space. The problem is that it’s a crowded shelf space, and Dreamfields price point is slightly higher than their competitors. Despite that fact, Dreamfields is doubling their sales numbers.

4:42 — Dreamfields knows their customers. Their customers are diabetic and their pasta doesn’t raise blood sugar levels. Dreamfields know who they are — that’s a tough struggle that not all companies know.

4:43 — Dreamfields’ is based out of North Dakota, with a patent pending technology that has a fraction of the marketing budget that their competitors do. Their initial strategy: a coupon with an email opt-in.

4:44 — Jeff says it doesn’t stop there, and that this strategy was pre-Facebook. Dreamfields began surveying their customers and allowed them to give direct feedback — they began to be bombarded by incredible testimonials from their customers. Their customers were able to eat pasta, despite having diabetes.

4:45 — Dreamfields pasta tasted great, so they knew they had to get their prospective clients tasting their pasta because it wasn’t just, “another pasta.”

4:47 — They also discovered that doctors were their top talkers who recommended Dreamfields to their patients. Dreamfields decided to send out a huge sample box that went out to nutritionists and doctors. It came at a very high risk, but it cost a fraction of a print ad, and it also contained health information about living with diabetes and how their pasta didn’t raise blood sugar.

4:48 — Their samples went out to 40,000+ doctors/nutritionists via direct mail. 70% of their pieces of mail were converted on and their prospective customers requested further samples to give to their friends/family/patients.

4:49 — Dreamfields got on Rachel Ray. They pulled Facebook into their homepage. Their email campaign has since evolved to have a “share this,” video, Twitter, and they pushed their fans into other environments where they could participate in the conversation and sharing. It gave their fans the options to participate in other communities.

4:50 — Through various communities, Dreamfields, “loyalists” have single-handedly shipped the pasta to markets where the pasta was unavailable as well as lobbied to get Dreamfields more shelf space.

4:51 — For a brand like Dreamfields, a coupon does not diminish their brand. The description of the Facebook fan page and Twitter page for Dreamfields has a link to a coupon.

4:53 — Jeff says that Dreamfields has also added a new product based on customers’ feedback. Fans, followers, and email subscribers are all subscribers in some way. Subscribers rule!

4:54 — Jeff explains that most importantly you need to serve individuals. Your biggest, “preachers of the gospel” are the ones you have to identify, and treat as though they are special.

4:55 — Honor their preferences. Communication, content, frequency & channel.

Q&A

Q: Do you think it makes sense to offer a giveaway for a set of Superbowl party pass tickets for our clients even though it may not be their particular interest?

A: If you can somehow tie it in to your customers either regionally, or by team, you may have a better chance at getting closer to the nuances of your brand.

Q: When you have to put your email in for coupons, is it only one coupon per email? Do you keep subscribers separate based on their choice of network or point of contact? Facebook vs. Email?

A: Initially it’s one coupon per email for your one-time sign up, but they do give more coupons for subscribers during the year. You want to have your subscribers participate from the network of their choice, but you want to be able to segment them based on their email. You want them on your email list. The key is to not overwhelm people in any particular channel. Email is one of those channels that people are weary of. Email is still the highest form of conversion among those mediums.

Q: What did Dreamfields’ competition do to compete? Also, is it risky that Dreamfields brand is dependent on a particular ailment?

A: Because it is patent-pending, no one else can duplicate, so as a side-by-side comparison they will always win. They’ve seen their competitors try to emulate their look (actually on the shelves). To your second part, Dreamfields doesn’t need to worry about that because their advocates defend the brand and give the full experience before and after eating. Healthy eaters are also huge advocates of Dreamfields because of its low amount of carbs so they aren’t completely dependent on diabetes.

Q: How frequently are you sending out emails? What is too frequent?

A: There is a welcome campaign, as well as a monthly email. There really is no right answer to the frequency, but Dreamfields is constantly testing. It totally depends on the client’s subscribers. It’s a good idea to do a re-initiation campaign of some sort once per year to make sure your users are still interested that may have not been as active.

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  1. Live coverage recap from yesterday's Word of Mouth Supergenius - December 17, 2009

    […] Dreamfields Pasta — with ExactTarget’s Jeff Rohrs […]

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