Sam’s Club’s Content Marketing Push

Brands are increasingly relying on content marketing to build a better, long-term relationship with consumers. Sam’s Club is no exception.

The company has just rolled out its new Pet Central content hub to provide pet owners with an interactive shopping experience that helps them learn about how to properly care for their pets. At the same time, Sam’s Club is using the hub to create a direct path to purchase via recommending products that can be bought at Sam’s Club. The retailer is using a variety of channels to promote the effort.

Digiday interviewed Dawn Deal, senior director of online marketing at Sam’s Club, on Sam’s Club’s mobile and social strategy and the notion of brands as publishers.

There’s an industry-wide trend of brands becoming like publishers. Can you talk about the opportunities with this generally and how it pertains particularly to Sam’s Club?
Brands and retailers have increasingly provided more content in response to a more savvy consumer that is doing more research on all types of products, including consumables. Sam’s Club wants to provide our members with expert advice and relevant, usable content especially in highly researched product categories like pet health and wellness.

What’s unique about what Sam’s Club is doing with its Pet Central experience?
Sam’s Club partners with experts in their fields to help bring accurate, relevant and helpful content to our digital experiences. For Pet Central, we have partnered with Dr. Louise Murray to help provide the expertise and solution-based content needed for our members to care for their pets in all facets. The content is updated seasonally to continue to showcase the most relevant information to the time period and is showcased in engaging environments like video and member Q&A.

Can you talk about how you’ll be promoting it?
The SamsClub.com/PetCentral experience is an on-going, online resource for our members who want to learn more about pet care, the latest products for their pet and seasonal pet health tips. We will promote the experience throughout the website, especially within categories relevant to pet owners, as well as through methods such as targeted emails and QR codes from our in-club experience.

Can you talk about your approach to mobile?
Mobile is an increasingly important medium for our members to interact with the Sam’s Club brand through shopping, membership services, item research and reviews and much more. In November 2011, Sam’s Club became the only warehouse club to offer a shop-on-the-go mobile and iPad app for both online and in-club items. Our members are very active smartphone and tablet users, so creating relevant, convenient experiences for the various devices is an integral part of our mobile strategy.

How is Sam’s Club approach to social media unique?
At Sam’s Club, we are not just pursuing social media channels because they are the next “shiny object” for marketers. We are trying to understand our members and how they want to engage with our brand and each other through each social media channel. We also understand that the social sharing nature of commerce, especially for heavily researched or inspirational purchases, is increasingly important. A great example of this is the increased popularity in sites like Pinterest, which Sam’s Club has been using as a way to engage our members and entice non-members to learn more about our great products, meal solutions and our overall brand. Understanding that social channels are a vital arm of member service excellence, Sam’s Club monitors our platforms to ensure a 98 percent response rate to members in need.