Our third and final case study we will take a look at this week is Costco. Similar to Wal-Mart, Costco provides a wide range of products for their members. They sell their items in bulk to those who purchase a membership with them to gain access to their warehouse club. Costco has already expanded internationally a variety of areas worldwide, but we just wanted to highlight one interesting marketing strategy that is very effective that Costco implements.
They make a cookbook. Not just any old cookbook, but they distribute it free to their customers. It doesn’t necessarily have advertisements in it, but rather provides simple recipes. Costco hopes to excite their customers each November when they send out their annual cookbook filled with useful recipes. The ingredients in the book are readily available at their locations, so if someone was interested they would know where exactly to find the ingredients: their local Costco. While looking through the book it doesn’t seem like they are trying to sell you anything necessarily, but rather just offer some information that may prove to be helpful to you, their loyal customer. In the cookbook Costco’s vendors are able to showcase their recipes, and how to use their products while cooking a meal. Brands such as Jimmy Dean, Krusteaz, and the Australian Lamb Company can be found within the book as they create and sponsor their own recipes.
Costco not only operates in America, but has also launched stores in Australia, Japan, Mexico, Korea, Canada, the UK and Taiwan. This idea of distributing a free cookbook would also be useful to distribute in these areas as well, but the content would need to be adjusted. Based on the culture and the food in the areas, each area would need a separate cookbook in order for it to be not only relevant, but ultimately useful for Costco to demonstrate their understanding and willingness to cater to the needs of their customers. Even within the United States the content of the cookbook needs to be adjusted based on the ingredients and culture surrounding each store, so this is where regional offices come into play as they offer great insight.
By offering free useful information to their consumers, not pressuring them, and showing an understanding of their needs, Costco effectively has mastered the art of content marketing and strengthened their brand reputation which in turn leads to loyalty from their customers.