4 Marketing Lessons from Peeps

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PEEPS-CANDY

When most people think of Peeps, they don’t think about marketing strategies and business practices, but when Easter rolls around, about 1.5 billion of the fluffy marshmallow chicks are sold. Over the past sixty-five years, Peeps has garnered a strong following in large part due to the attention parent company Just Born pays to their consumers. It is the dream of every business to possess the power of brand-name recognition and the freely given support of its consumers, but few manage to capitalize on the opportunities they are given.Luckily, when it comes to capitalizing on seasonal trends and maintaining a strong market presence, Peeps is there to set an example.

Pay Attention to Reality

Consumers have a tendency to find uses for certain products that weren’t initially intended by the producers. Just as Kleenex tissues were once only marketed as makeup wipes, Just Born’s executives were quick to notice that people were using Peeps for art projects and dioramas almost as much as they were eating them. Instead of ignoring this trend, they embraced it as part of the identity of the Peeps product. Just Born didn’t start the Peeps diorama contests they are now famous for, but having embraced the concept, there are now over sixty such contests every year.

Peeps uses its diorama contests to cross-promote across multiple niches, from local art councils to law magazines, securing widespread recognition at minimal cost. By embracing what fans want from a product, a business can engage and even reward consumers in a way that actually interests them.

Stay Fresh

Getting a business moving is hard enough work that its very tempting to simply sit back and reap the rewards once it takes off, but that is the equivalent of market suicide. People are attracted to new things and fresh ideas, even if the changes aren’t profound. This is another area where the Peeps brand stands out. Rather than rely on their yearly Easter rollout, Just Born has introduced a variety of different colors, shapes, and flavors over the years to become a fixture in other holidays and year round.

Without making too dramatic of changes, Peeps have rolled out 4th of July, Valentines Day, and Christmas themed variations of their existing products, and in 2014, Just Born began selling Peeps Minis, with the classic Peeps remaining an Easter release. In doing so, Just Born diversified the Peeps brand without diminishing its special, once a year tradition, showing that there are plenty of ways to expand a brand without compromising its true identity.

Use Awareness to Build Awareness

Developing a strong product is like making an investment: money is spent so that more can be made. The popularity of one product itself can be used as an investment for another brand. Just Born has used the popularity of Peeps in the past to help build their other products, Mike & Ike and Hot Tamales.

So long as a new brand can live up to the expectations of the old, it can survive and even flourish without all the legwork that went into the first. Once a company is established, its only limitation is imagination. If it can build something new, it almost always should.

Listen to Consumers

Imagination isn’t always necessary if enough people are telling a company what it wants. If there’s a demand a business can supply, it should try to before someone else does. Having established itself long ago as a once a year brand, Peeps has had plenty of voices to listen to throughout its existence, and has shown flexibility in adapting to those most prevalent.

A single customer isn’t always right, but the combined voice of many customers usually is. Businesses thrive on consumer satisfaction. If a company wants to keep its popularity at the ground level, keeping its supporters happy is the way to do it, and they’ll reward the business in turn by generating a buzz about any new goods and services.
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