Marketing lessons from The Dollar Shave Club
Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
The evolution of the men’s shaving razor probably could have stopped with the Mach3. But three blades weren’t enough, were they? Schick needed to add that fourth one so you’d really feel ready to start your day fresh. And then when Gillette decided to squeeze number five in there, we found ourselves staring straight into the eyes of innovation.
So where could things go from here? Maybe a wishbone-shaped handle that shaves both sides of your face at once? Or an all-in-one shaving cream / razor combo that shoots out shaving gel between the blades? OR – what about a razor with a Facebook button on the handle that let’s you automatically post how far along you are in your shave?!
While the R&D guys at Gillette and Schick continue slaving away on their next mind-blowing innovation, take a look at this company:
Ever heard of them? They’re small and serve a niche market, so most likely not.
Someone sent me a link to their site recently because it was funny. I couldn’t help spending 10 minutes on the site reading about it. And their minute and thirty second promo video pretty much says it all:
So these guys took an ultra-simple, indistinguishable product– the razor blade – that every man (other than James Harden of the OKC Thunder) needs, offered it up in new way and used pure marketing to make it look awesome.
You can certainly argue that they’re distinguished because of their business model. You subscribe to their service and they send you new blades in the mail each month. But let’s be realistic here. I can grab new razor blades any time I’m at the grocery store, or pop in to any of the eight Walgreens locations within a mile radius of my home once a month and choose from a wide selection of blades. In other words, The Dollar Shave Club isn’t selling you convenience or a better razor blade. They’re selling you the feeling of being part of something fun, kind of ridiculous, and best of all – something that makes for a great topic of conversation.
Now on to the big question
Did they win my business? Well, no. I’ll admit that I’ve stuck with my Mach 3. But guess what? I wrote this article about them. And from a little bit of research, it’s clear that I’m far from the only one who’s done that. I’ve emailed their site to a ton of people, Tweeted links to it and posted it in other social networks. And as for that video? Almost five million views on Youtube. These little guys have created some serious buzz – about razor blades! I have trouble believing that Gillette could pull that off when they add blades number seven and eight.
Your product or service offering might seem nondescript or boring, but you’re in business because someone needs it. If you can deliver it in a unique way with smart marketing, you might find you’re more interesting than you thought possible.
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