The Orabrush story: How a Utah man used YouTube to build a multi-million dollar business

We often hear platitudes about the value of new media tools like Social Media – Facebook, Twitter etc, and other online community applications in building our businesses, but concrete, verifiable case studies aren’t that easy to actually come by. Especially with lessons we can actually relate back to ourselves.

So, it’s great to see this example drawn from Google’s blog recently, discussing a new product, the Orabrush, which its inventor Dr. Bob Wagstaff had nearly given up on selling via traditional channels. Despite spending tens of thousands of dollars and countless man hours on advertising, the product just wasn’t moving.

Finally, just before giving up, Dr Bob took the advice of a local college marketing student, Jeffrey Harmon, and together they designed a YouTube campaign, with a budget of just $500.

The video went viral, drawing more than 16 million views, and became the basis for the company’s entire market development strategy. The essentials steps they took were:

  • Designing a relevant and executable online strategy
  • Choosing the appropriate channel for the product’s message
  • Presenting the message in an effective and engaging tone
  • Leveraging the success of the initial commercial to build a community of interest around the product and message through consistent and related online marketing activities
  • Converting this community interest to sales through carefully targeted ads placed inside the ongoing video series
  • Building on the online sales to gain widespread physical distribution for the product.

In just 2 years since the first video, more than 1 million Orabrushes have been sold online, Walmart have begun carrying the Orabrush tongue cleaners in its 3,500+ stores across the United States, and this week CVS/pharmacy has added the Orabrush tongue cleaner to more than 7,000 stores across the country.

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