Spiral Marketing: The More You Know, The More You Can Know

February 4, 2009

Wisconsin Cheese Cupid – Very Nice Effort, But . . .

I came across the Wisconsin Cheese Cupid site, produced by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (So what? I’m a cheesehead – that’s what!).  How did I come to find this site?  I did the unthinkable for me – I clicked through on a Facebook ad.  Studies show that social network display ad click-throughs are only 40% of the click-through rates seen across the broader internet – 10 in 10,000 impressions click-through for the broader internet; only 4 in 10,000 for social networking sites.

Even more remarkable is that I noticed this display ad – I don’t generally buy into the Social Network as Billboard metaphor any more than I buy into the SEO / SEM hammers out there trying to prove that their nail is the Internet as Yellow Pages metaphor.  But this ad worked because it is focused on such a targeted niche, with such a seductive message – I caught that phrase out of the corner of my eye – “Wisconsin Cheese Cupid” – and it spoke to my absolute love of cheese.

Imagine my pleasant surprise when I clicked through, and they didn’t talk about cheese – they talked about enjoying cheese with a good bottle of wine or a great beer (Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board – WMMB – does NOT condone or endorse drinking or the promotion of alcoholic beverages).  The flash-based site is very elegant, it ties together nicely, and it isn’t annoying or overly pleased with itself as so many flash-based sites are.  And it talks about enjoying cheese in the broader context of a nice relaxing evening after a hard day of work or play . . .

But I’m not a web designer (or food critic, for that matter), and that is not the topic of this blog; our topic is Social Marketing, and this is where WMMB really missed a golden opportunity.  They got me!  Nobody gets me to look, much less click-through: my perceptual filters and resistance to marketing “noise” is as developed as anyone else’s out there.  But once they got me on the hook, they couldn’t get me to do something that I really wanted to do: share this great site with my friends – many cheeseheads among them.  Why?  Simple – they never gave me the opportunity.  They could have had an easy 20 of my friends, by having gotten me – the holy grail of social marketing – but for one small problem: I had no way of easily referring my friends to this great site; and the kicker is I really looked for that opportunity.  I thought about emailing, but I guess I am drinking the social network kool-aid, and I just couldn’t be bothered to create an email and type in 20 email addresses.  Perhaps I will remember tomorrow – more likely I won’t.

So at the end of the day, while WMMB did a very creative, elegant site that was exactly what I expected and wanted it to be, they didn’t provide me an opportunity to spread the news.  That’s the key to social marketing – not getting the new eyes-on strictly from mass market acquisition, but getting the follow-on looks from a good product introduced through a trusted referral from a friend.

There is clearly a lot of talent with this group, and they truly understand their product and their mission, so I don’t think they are done yet.  I look forward to the day when I can log into my Facebook account, get a new cheese fondue recipe, or just find that perfect accent to a nice nut brown ale at the end of a long day – I think they’ll get there.

By the way – for those of you salivating at the thought of a nice gruyere with a brown . . . http://tinyurl.com/5jfmsu

You’re quite welcome . . .


  1. Thank you for your kind words, we’re glad you appreciate all the work we put into the Cheese Cupid website, and the Facebook ad campaign.

    We wanted to let you know that the site that you reviewed did contain a feature that allowed a user to e-mail a friend. It was however, located on the final individual cheese cards.

    That said, we have launched an updated version of the site where the e-mail a friend feature is now located on the bottom of every page of the website.

    You’ll also see on the updated website that we have added a link to the Wisconsin Cheese Cupid fan page on Facebook and that we have launched a Wisconsin Cheese Cupid iPhone application, now available for free in the iTunes app store.

    Thank you again for your thoughtful review of our efforts.



    Comment by Patrick Geoghegan — February 10, 2009 @ 7:48 pm | Reply

    • Patrick – again, congratulations on a terrific site, and thanks for the clarification on the email links.

      I think, though, that I was making a different point, and it really is at the core of this shift from “old” technologies – I believe the first internet application was Email – toward emerging social media technologies. When we originally started building websites in the mid-90s, we talked about 7 seconds (amount of time to engage a visitor) and 3 clicks (ease of conducting business). The key to these social media technologies, and the real power they will have in the future, is to simultaneously inform visitors, while enabling them to share that experience immediately.

      The difficulty with email is that, when I see your great site, I have to switch to my email client, type in some number of email addresses (my 3 email addresses are 22, 22 and 32 characters each), write a subject line – common courtesy – and perhaps write an intro and embed your link. That’s a lot of effort, and even if I go to that effort, I am adding another email that someone needs to attend to or ignore, and eventually clear out of their inbox.

      Contrast this with social media – I was very engaged with your site, and wanted to tell my friends. From your fan page, not only was I able to view the Wisconsin Cheese Cupid page itself, but, critically to me, I could with just a few mouse clicks share it with lots of friends.

      I did say that you needed a fan page, which you, in fact, already had. While there is some Facebook aesthetic baggage you need to deal with there – which is the antithesis of your beatiful design – the ease for fans like me to deliver the message may trump design considerations. It bears noting that virtually everyone I invited – THROUGH FACEBOOK – became a fan.

      That’s the power of social media.

      Keep up the great work – everyone I’ve talked to loves the site.


      Comment by kboulas — February 11, 2009 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

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