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Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: Bass Pro Shop

Brick and mortar retailers have a hard time competing to stay profitable with the increase and ease of online shopping. Stores that are took an even harder hit are local, specialty stores that closed because of online and big box competition. While Bass Pro is certainly a big box specialty store, they still struggle to capitalize on in-person sales. They have an experiential marketing atmosphere for Bass Pro Outdoor World that most companies cannot compete with, but even with the in-store hunting, fishing and boating simulations, they still were not seeing return on their marketing efforts.

bass-pro-shopAbout five years ago, Bass Pro identified the challenge that local markets were still highly influential when driving not only in-store sales, but online purchases as well. They invested in a website update, but still didn’t have the web traffic they had projected. In an Oracle case study they outlined several items to accomplish:

  • Create a deeper connection with each store’s local market
  • Produce content quickly, easily and locally
  • Allow each store to manage its own web pages and accounts

With hefty competition from big names such as Gander Mountain, Cabela’s, Field and Stream, Dick’s and of course Walmart, they had to make their online content stand out. If Google’s Zero Moment of Truth is accurate and “10 good pieces of content are consumed before a purchasing decision is made,” Bass Pro needed to create relevant content and do it better than their competitors at a local level.

In order to do this, each location needed to appeal to local customers. One way Bass Pro accomplished this was by having their employees, who were local outdoor enthusiasts, share their experiences about what they do in their free time. Whereas fly fishing may be relevant to the customers in Denver, offshore fishing is more appropriate for customers in Miami. People who live in those markets and participate in those activities know the topic the best.

Not only did Bass Pro capitalize on local employees and enthusiasts, they kept it simple. The old adage of less is more holds true in this case as well. For instance, footage from a helicopter following a 31-foot, center console Sea Hunt heading out of Miami at sunrise is cool. But what value does that give a customer who’s looking to buy the right saltwater fishing pole for catching Mahi Mahi in the Gulf of Mexico?  The former is expensive, takes time, and doesn’t communicate with the customer.

Instead of the elaborate helicopter commercial, Bass Pro employees shared personal tips about fishing and hunting in their areas. By doing so, Bass Pro created almost 200 videos per month with almost no budget. It was scalable and repeatable. Then they allowed each store to manage its own local web page and combined for 920,000 visitors and a 15% click through rate in 2012. They have continued this with the 1Source blog which houses a wealth of fishing, hunting, camping, boating and even racing information.

That’s the thing about content marketing – it doesn’t need to be elaborate or flashy to improve your bottom line. Do you want to be a one-hit wonder? Or do you want to have a sustainable marketing strategy? Overthinking situations and your customers’ needs leads you down a slippery path. At the same time, you want to make sure the invested time and effort reaps the reward of increased web traffic and sales. Bass Pro executed this very well. With thousands of indexed landing pages from their competitors on the same topics, Bass Pro beat their competition by providing relevant content that applies to customers during each part of their buying journey.

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