Valentine’s Day, Zika Virus, & Condom Marketing

As Valentine’s Day approaches this year, both love and mosquitoes are in the air.

We think this truly odd combination of consumer interests represents some really great content marketing opportunities to get updated health information out to the world while building better brand connections for manufacturers of condoms. So, our very own Cat Hood decided to take a moment and investigate the current marketing approaches of the big condom manufacturers to see what they were up to on the marketing front, and this is what she found:


Shockingly, none of the top three brands, mainly Trojan, Lifestyles or Durex had even mentioned the virus in their content marketing channels and, with condom sales up by 25% this close to valentines day, this begs the question: Are protective healthcare brands investing enough in to content marketing?

A deeper dive revealed even more deal breakers.

Let’s start with Trojan.

trojan

Trojan’s page is  easy to navigate and easy to find the product variation that suits your individual tastes. The page is consistent in its layout and simple to navigate, but with no added value content and a content strategy that focuses purely on product, I really feel like I’m not getting a lot of bang for my buck here. On Facebook they’ve got 1M likes. Multiply that by the average number of Facebook friends each of those fans has, approximately 338, and that’s an exponential opportunity to engage with and grow their audience.

On further exploration, there are the beginnings of some great content hiding out in the news feed and in the ‘professional’ tab down at the bottom of the site, which takes you to a healthcare page. But it all appears outdated and unfinished. I’d love to get my hands on Trojan, if for no other reason than to whip their content marketing strategy into shape!

Now let’s take a look at Lifestyles.

lifestyles

Ok now we’re talking. Lifestyles is a fairly young product of Ansell Limited who very recently, in 2002, changed their positioning to focus on protective healthcare products. But despite being a new comer, Lifestyles could teach Trojan a thing or two in this department. Their website presents a clean and simple layout with clear navigation, and covers all the topics you’d expect, from product specs to bedroom inspiration. It even throws in a page on sex ed which provides educational facts about sex, condoms, STIs, and articles on best practices for healthcare educators.

My main consideration for this brand would be around the use of high-res and stock imagery. Yes, we’re all guilty of using images that aren’t quite the quality we need, but in one particular posting there is an image of the product that pixelates, now that’s just sloppy! Stock photography clearly abounds and with very little variation between images, there isn’t a lot to draw the eye to any particular post, so some investment in original imagery would be a wise one.

And finally, Durex.

durex

The Durex website steers away from the traditional navigation bar and opts instead for a three-step questionnaire that directs you to the content that is most relevant to you. This feature is both great and slightly irritating. It delivers content tailored to my needs – great! But in any single visit I may want to explore up to two or three topics, so this navigation system slows the process down. Instead of one click on a tiled page of article topics, I now have to fill in three different sections, multiple times. Once I’ve filled in my questionnaire, the resulting page only loads three articles at any given time and there is no ‘back’ button. So if I want to go back to one that I saw previously, I can’t.

At this point I’m frustrated. So I scroll down to find their social links – small, inconspicuous items at the bottom of the page. I clicked on them and they delivered the biggest surprise yet! I was thrown out of the condom world and into the RB Careers universe. I feel like I’ve just been cheated on. With 10 million likes on Facebook, some rich, Durex branded content would not have gone unread, especially at this time of year. But alas, it was not meant to be.

Innuendos and word play aside, marketers can learn some simple, but valuable lessons from these three brands:

  • Great content also needs great design. Make it as easy as possible for your audience to find what they are looking for by using a layout that is not only easy to navigate, but also requires the least amount of effort to use.
  • Keep your layout consistent. If the right side of the screen is where you highlight two products at a time, keep it that way on every page.
  • Moving from page to page should be a seamless experience. Each page doesn’t have to be identical in layout, but should have some commonalities, making it easy for the user to navigate.
  • Separate content by topic. Have a separate page for added value content such as industry tips and blog content, and a separate page for product. A feature space on the home page is great, but when blog postings, twitter feeds and product all meet in one space, finding what you’re looking for gets difficult and nobody likes difficult.
  • Be social, but original. Every brand under your company’s umbrella has its own voice, and as such should have its own social channels. If you’d like to offer people the chance of a budding career, then a careers tab down at the bottom that links to the company’s careers page is the way to go.
  • Always use high res imagery. I can’t stress this point enough. If your leading image is poor, then people will assume it reflects the quality of the content it represents. If you have a great image and title, people will click on your content, and if you’re worried about the quality of the content itself, then give us a call, we can help!
  • Don’t be afraid to do things differently. Sometimes the best channels for promoting your content are those that are untried and untested. If I were any of these brands I would have created a game for Valentine’s day celebrators that uses several of my products to promote a sexy night in. It doesn’t have to be complicated, it could be a simple, printable version of truth or dare. Tinder would have also been a great platform to create awareness and promote protective healthcare.

I think the big condom manufacturers missed the seasonal boat here to combine great health safety information tied directly to their brands in a way that builds long lasting customer relationships. Marketers need to be on the look out constantly for opportunities like these. Having a specialized content marketing agency like Releventure can help companies spot the opportunities and move quickly to capitalize on the moment.

Do you think Durex and Trojan should have upped their marketing game this season? Share your thoughts below.