Coolblue is an online retailer in the Netherlands and Belgium. They started in 1999 and now have 332 specialized webshops and 7 physical shops in the Benelux. This makes Coolblue one of Netherlands biggest webshops. And they are doing quite good when looking at their awards: Best webshop in the Netherlands in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and second place in 2014. Looking at their social media platforms they are performing well with an online fan base of more than 204.000 fans. In 2013, Coolblue was the highest entering company in the Best Social Media Award with a 3th place. In 2014 they even came closer with becoming NL’s best social media with a second place. On social media they perform outstanding, having great word of mouth marketing and looking at their growth in revenue with last year growth of 45% a TV campaign is an interesting step. In January 2015, Coolblue launched their first TV campaign. But why does Coolblue need a TV campaign while they have such good functioning social media platforms and became huge with word of mouth marketing?
In today’s world it is almost impossible to think about living without social media. Everybody knows or at least has some vague idea about what social media are, and at the same time almost everybody is involved in it daily. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on are examples that will most likely ring a bell for practically everybody. If we look at Coolblue, they use their Facebook page in such a way that we can all watch and follow the company. Mostly it is used at keeping customers up to date and informed about new product, but they also use it to amuse their audience with entertaining content. With people who liked Coolblue’s social media content they want to use e-Word of mouth marketing to create more brand recognition. Brand recognition is a problem for Coolblue, which they can’t solve with word of mouth behavior only. Coolblue’s CEO Pieter said:’’ Untill now we have been growing for years with word of mouth marketing, but now it’s time to grow even faster with our new tv campaign. Then they can experience our service and products, and most of the time our customers are so impressed word of mouth behavior will follow automatically.’’ Also when we take a look at Google trend with Coolblue (blue) and their biggest competitors, Bol.com (red) & Wehkamp (yellow), we see that Coolblue is still way less popular.
If we look at their social media strategy nowadays their focus on social media platforms are on (professional) fans, and sometimes even a focus group within this fan base (Example: People who love cats). These fans are people who know Coolblue, already bought a product at Coolblue and experienced their service & delivery propositions. These fans show word of mouth behavior, but clearly it is not enough to become as big as their competitors if we look at brand recognition. Looking at this Coolblue case, word of mouth marketing (online & offline combined) can grow a company with cheap marketing. But if you want to become de biggest, you still have to invest in old fashioned marketing to increase brand recognition at the mass.