The dish on Juicy Marbles’ marketing strategy to launch in Canada

The (mis)fortune of being vegan and living in Canada is that we just don’t have as much access to vegan products manufactured in the USA, UK, or abroad. That means when we DO get access, it can be a big deal.

The first time I tried a Beyond Meat burger patty was at A&W, which was the first restaurant to make it available in Canada. A&W flew vegan influencers to Toronto for its launch. The first time I tried Impossible Foods‘ burger was at David Chang’s Momofuku in New York City in 2017. The easiest way to bring a product to Canada is to put it on restaurant menus, BUT the next best way is to put it in grocery stores and let people know it’s there.

Now let’s talk about Juicy Marbles. Headquartered in Delaware, I’ve been following this brand’s content, which is all around videos of that same fatty sizzle on a hot grill that you get from a beef burger or steak. I remember vegan influencer and activist Jamie Logan sharing about it in an Instagram Story.

As a Canadian, I never expect products made outside of Canada to make it here unless I order it on an ecommerce site. So I got really excited when I saw this Instagram carousel by Vegan Supply:

Vegan Supply also posted the same 3 images on Facebook.

VS posted on both accounts on December 4 last year with the call to sign up for the waitlist to receive a link to order the products on Dec 11, a week later. I did this immediately, and hen forgot about it.

One thing I didn’t notice in both posts is that referring someone to sign up to the waitlist got you a 10% off discount code and if you were in the top 10 referrers, you would get a free Juicy Marble Bundle (1x Loin, 2x Filets, and 1x Ribs, which would not be released on the 11th). I do not remember there being an option to refer someone upon signing up for the waitlist, nor did I receive a discount code, so if I’m correct, I have no idea how they would track referrers to dish out the discount and choose the bundle winners.

Regardless, sure enough, I got my email on Monday, December 11:

I love the simplicity of it. Most emails I get require at least two scrolls, and then I immediately remembered I signed up. I especially love the last line: “Thank you again for supporting our Canadian invasion debut. It really means a lot <3″. Canadian invasion indeed!

So I clicked on the link and went to Vegan Supply’s Juicy Marbles purchase page, which looks a lot different from their usual ecommerce product page. They really wanted to “beef” it up, and they did.

It’s really a thing of beauty. More copy and images showing how you can serve up the product was also necessary for folks who didn’t see the launch posts on social media and who might have stumbled across this page while browsing VS’s site.

Now, since I’m in Vancouver, I could get these products in-store, but if you don’t live in Vancouver or Surrey where there are physical retail stores, ordering online would be the better option for you. At C$29.99 for two 113g “thick cut filets” or $79.99 for a 756g “whole cut loin,” these are premium products.

 

Breaking down the launch campaign

There are several things I thought were brilliant about this campaign. First, Juicy Marbles was virtually unknown in Canada, unless you’re a vegan brand nerd like me. So the partnership with a well-known Canadian physical/ecommerce store, Vegan Supply, was brilliant.

Juicy Marbles didn’t have to do much legwork to get Canadians to follow their content and then eventually buy on their site. I have little data on how much Canadians order frozen or refrigerated products from abroad, but I can’t imagine it’s nearly the same as shelf-stable products.

Partnering with Vegan Supply to carry and launch the products was a smart move, as VS already has a dedicated audience and customer base in Canada.

December 4, VS posted on social media with the call to action to sign up via email and created the product page online, which I assume went live on the 11th or perhaps the night of the 10th. Juicy Marbles hosted the signup page and then sent out the email on December 11. Pretty simple, right?

Now, because of the partnership, Juicy Marbles may not have gotten as many followers as they would, but they got something even better IMO: emails! Even if people who signed up DID NOT buy the product (like me), they’ve still got our attention for as long as we stay on their email list.

And those who bought the product and love it might follow them on social media and become repeat buyers.

I asked Audrey Chisholm, Retail Operations Manager for VS, how the partnership was conceived and if she could share the results of the campaign. While she couldn’t share any data on how many people signed up or bought, she did say this about the JM partnership: “Over the years, Vegan Supply has been a launching pad for many vegan products/brands, being the first place to stock products on the shelves in our brick and mortar stores as well as offer them on ecommerce. We’ve also been the first and even sometimes exclusive distributors of new to market products.

Keeping within that vein, we approached Juicy Marbles as we saw them as a great fit for us to be able to do this again. We knew it was a game-changing product and wanted to explore how to get it into Canada. Of course, at that time, they were just getting into the US and had many sell out drops there and there were a lot of moving parts to getting to where we are now. Fast forward a year and a half, we’ve been able to successfully partner with them to launch their product in Canada.

The pre-order has had a lot of hype and many vegans in Canada have been patiently waiting to have access to this brand and we are thrilled to be able to be a part of making that happen.” Bravo!

 

What else Juicy Marbles could have done

In terms of what could have been improved or done in addition, I think scrapping the whole referral sign-up part and making it a contest where all email subscribers would be entered to win one of 10 free bundles might have been more simple. But, I get that it’s better if you can get consumers to do work for you.

And, because you need to ultimately get food in peoples’ mouths for them to buy from you (the Costco method), partnering with a local vegan food truck and doing an exclusive menu for a couple of hours on launch day might have had people lined up down the block to try it and then buy the actual product at VS. Depending on how much product VS could stock, they might have sold out pretty quickly in combination with the ecommerce sales.

Just as I was publishing this blog, Yo Egg in the US announced they were selling at Vegan Supply too!

I haven’t yet tried either product, but now I gotta get my ass to Vegan Supply to try both. Keep you posted!

 

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