Bob’s Red Mill has been producing stone-ground grains and cereals for decades, long before it became a leading name in the health food industry. If you’re familiar with the brand, you’ll recognize two things from every product’s package: Founder Bob Moore’s face and the recipe.
Bob may be the literal face of the company, but the recipes represent its digital marketing program. In this episode of The Commerce Marketer Podcast, Cassidy Stockton and Kevin Irish of Bob’s Red Mill discuss how they grew customer loyalty and engagement by focusing on the customer experience. And, for an ingredients company, that experience comes in the form of recipes shared across channels.
It all started in-store, with recipes on the back of the packaging that Bob’s wife picked from her personal collection — now, three bakers, a pastry chef, and a nutritionist craft their recipes in a test kitchen.
“The recipe on the package is our pinnacle, tested recipe,” said ecommerce sales manager Kevin Irish. “People look to us to be experts on our product, and it’s amazing how many of our customers actually make what’s on the package.”
The team realized early on that most of their web traffic was from customers looking for more recipes. They recognized that different customers used their products in different ways, and they believed sharing new recipes with product recommendations would lead to customers using a larger quantity and variety of products..
“It’s content that supports the brand, tells the brand story, or inspires use of the product,” said digital communications manager Cassidy Stockton. “We give them inspiration to purchase and share new ways to use that bag of flour. And they won’t get the same recipe email twice.”
It seemed a natural progression to share recipes that performed well on the site in their email workflows, “very spoke and wheel”, using dynamic content to make sure they were relevant to the customers and different each time. Customers indicate what type of diet or interest brought them to the site in a welcome series, and in turn they receive recipes tailored to what they’d recently purchased or viewed on the site.
Similarly, recipes feature in their social media marketing. Bob’s Red Mill maintains relationships with about fifty influencers, and their test kitchen works with them to create and share new recipes.
“Food influencers are a big player in this space,” Stockton said, noting that while blog posts have “evergreen SEO” value, Instagram fits the food industry. “It’s really evolved, the way Instagram has brought this surge of influencers. I spend a lot of my time building authentic relationships with the people who have that influence.”
They have a variety of ways to measure “influence” and its ROI, but at the end of the day it comes down to intuition.
“Some people seem like they’re getting into the game to make money,” she said, explaining that the best influencers are the ones who fit in organically with your brand. “Does this person seem authentic? Do they genuinely love the brand? Were they talking about us before we became involved with them, and how do we build that natural fit of our brand into their content?”
In the end, Stockton said, if you want to grow an omnichannel marketing program organically and from the ground up — like many of Bob’s Red Mill’s 400-plus products — it’s all about creating a consistent brand experience.
“Whether it’s email, your site, social or the store, make sure it all fits together and tells the same story,” Stockton advised. “And the results will be there.”Listen to the full episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Play, CastBox, Stitcher, TuneIn, or YouTube. Don’t forget to rate, review, and subscribe.