Digital Marketing is more than just posting your traditional marketing campaigns on the Internet. Companies who succeed in separating themselves from the glut of online marketing messages are those who connect with their audience emotionally and inspire them to take action. The campaigns for these successful companies have three things in common; a desired and measurable outcome; a story that emotionally connects the desired outcome to their target audience; and a well structured plan to regularly convey that story through multiple channels using a variety of creative content.


Understand Your Desired Outcome –The backbone of any successful marketing campaign is the desired outcome. It focuses the development of creative content on achieving a specific end result and is a measurable, obtainable goal.


In 2014, brand executives recognized that people’s eating habits have changed in the last 50 years but their perception of A.1. Steak Sauce had remained the same. A marketing campaign was developed to shift perception that the sauce was good only with steak and instead could be used with a variety of foods.


“Eating habits have undergone a big transformation and A.1. is changing with them,” said Cindy Halvorsen, Brand Manager, A.1. Sauce, Kraft Foods.  “Our fans are saucing a variety of foods besides steak, so we wanted the brand name and campaign to reflect our wide-ranging appeal.”


Although A.1.’s desired outcome of a shift in perception is not one that can be measured directly, an indirect measurement of success would be an increase in sales of the sauce.


Build an Emotive Story – Marketing campaigns that tell an emotive story are those that are remembered long after the campaign has ended. A successful story communicates the desired outcome of the campaign in ways that speak to the values of the target audience, connecting to their emotions, and capturing their attention. The best stories are those that create a memorable link between the message of the campaign and the brand it represents.


A.1. made some basic changes to their packaging as they laid the foundation for their new campaign. They dropped the word “Steak” from the label and replaced it with “Original”, and a new tagline was attached (“For Almost Everything. Almost.”).

The message that A.1. compliments all kinds of foods was then communicated in a story depicting the fading relationship between A.1. Sauce and Steak as A.1. decides to make new food friends.


A Facebook timeline video was released that showed A.1. initially in a relationship with Steak, but this relationship gets complicated when A.1. suddenly begins getting friend requests from other foods.  The compilation of music and imagery in the video portrays a modern romance gone wrong as one partner moves on. There is a sadness and sense of loss as A.1. Sauce friends other foods, leaving Steak feeling hurt and alone. And there is a sense of completion and moving forward as over time the two learn to remain friends. The connection to viewer emotions is evident as the video went viral and to date has over 1.3 million shares on YouTube and over 1600 on Facebook.



Plan your Multi-channel Execution – Like a joke, a story is only as good as its delivery. Stories are best told by engaging the audience visually, using appealing color and design; with sound, creating videos or recordings of the story’s main idea; and with language, using words that are interesting to read and easy to understand. Communicating the same story using different techniques increases the likelihood that your story will be remembered by your audience and shared by them with their peers, expanding your reach.


Additional content in the A.1. campaign included posts on the A.1. Original Sauce Facebook page that creatively introduced new foods to eat with A.1. and a Pinterest page with boards of recipes matching A.1. with a variety of foods. Humorous television commercials supported the theme by depicting people enjoying their A.1. sauce on foods other than steak.



A well thought out plan to distribute your content online ensures your intended audience it. Determine the best locations to post your content on the Internet and then update your content regularly to keep it fresh. Cross-pollination of content will also allow you to reuse content in several places over a period of time.  A.1. posted their breakup video on YouTube and then shared it on Facebook, obtaining more likes for their page each time it was shared. The television commercials were repurposed, as well, posted to the A.1. YouTube and Facebook pages (embed example).



Successful digital marketing engages the consumer; connecting with them emotionally and inviting them take action. To create a successful digital presence in 2015, ask yourself:


  1. What is the outcome I want in the mind of my target audience?
  2. How can I connect with their emotions through a compelling story?
  3. Where do I need to tell the story so that my target audience will see it?


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