Marketing ecommerce when you're on The Block

Founding director of The Block Shop shares how she's utilising digital and social to keep the TV show's companion ecommerce site relevant

Emma Garland
Emma Garland

Many business owners are familiar with seasonally-driven demand. But for Emma Garland, peak seasons lasts only three months of the year, and there is never any guarantee it will ever come again.

Garland is a founding director of The Block Shop, an ecommerce site she launched in 2013 as a companion store for furnishings and decorations featured in Channel Nine’s reality home makeover program, The Block.

“It is a very seasonal business because of the brand association,” Garland says. “And of course, all the fun happens when the show is on air. It is brilliant to be involved in and watch numbers go up.”

Garland had deep experience with The Block prior to starting The Block Shop, having been its social media manager at Channel Nine since 2009. She continues to work closely with Nine’s social media team.

“When viewers are seeing whatever it is on the screen, we are part of their digital offering,” she says. “We always make sure we are on message and delivering what the consumer wants to see, and as a result we work really closely with those guys.”

While Garland and her team might be frantic during the show’s seasons, things change quickly when it leaves the airwaves.

“That is when the hard work really happens in a way, because I have to sustain a business and pay my employees and make sure we can keep afloat during those off-air times,” Garland says. “I have to manage it carefully, but we are getting a lot better at being sustainable.

“It is interesting as a marketer to watch if people want to be engaged with the brand once the show’s finished. There is always a period after the show when people switch off, and our messaging needs to be much more around interior styling and new product.

“Then there comes a point where people are searching for it again. So we start to talk about previous couples who have been on the show, and start to rebuild that excitement. And once the new marketing starts to hit the airwaves, our numbers start to go up organically. And then when the show hits, we hit the ground running because the public is well and truly ready.”

New lease on life

Ensuring a life for The Block Shop between seasons has seen Garland invest heavily in SEO, and in finding new brands and products to keep the site fresh, to attract an audience that might be looking for furnishings without having any interest in the program itself.

Another key tool is email, which she recently moved across to Bronto’s platform. Now what used to take half a day to put together takes only 30 minutes, with an added sense of professionalism.

“We’ve work very hard for a long time to punch above our weight,” Garland says. “We are a very small team, but Bronto allows us to look a big business. It integrates beautifully with our site, and I don’t need to have a technical head to be able to use it.”

The tool is also delivering results, including an automated cart recovery service is converting at 33 times that of standard emails. Whereas standard email has been delivering a conversion rate of 0.44 per cent, the cart recovery reminder email is delivering conversion of 15 per cent. That result saw The Block Shop win a Golden Bronto award for Best Abandoned Cart Campaign at the company’s annual Summit in Las Vegas earlier this year.

Garland says The Block Shop is also becoming more targeted in its segmentation.

In the cutthroat world of commercial television, Garland is deeply aware The Block’s future is only guaranteed so long as it continues to rate – something she has minimal control over. But having worked so hard to build The Block Shop, she is also investigating strategies to ensure it can live on regardless of the viewing habits of the general public, such as the launch of a new blog called Insider Style.

“That is our first step in building a brand that is not necessarily driven by The Block brand,” Garland says. “The Insider Style website will look at interior designs, styles, talk to past couples about projects they are going, and talk about DIY.

“We have worked hard for what we have achieved. And that’s part of our safety planning, making sure that we would be OK.”

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia, or check us out on Google+:google.com/+CmoAu

 

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Creating the ultimate customer-centric environment in 2018

All businesses today that are serious about being successful have adopted a customer-centric environment.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Embrace customer obsession to transform marketing into a catalyst for growth

In 2018, Forrester believes 20 per cent of CEOs globally will fail to act on digital transformation and put their firms at risk.

Michael Barnes

VP research director, Forrester

How challenger brands can win at biddable media

Challenger brands, especially in highly competitive markets, generally can’t match established players for media spend.

Chris Pittham

Managing director, Jaywing

While a lot has been said about AI and machine learning, I don't see it put to extensive use as yet. I will be happy to have it help the ...

Atul Dhakappa

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

Wowww! What A Awsome Blog! Thanks for this wonderful post I really got many valuable information through it. As a learner it's not so eas...

Mia Joseph

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

What you have said about AI, machine learning and voice activation is very true. Some of the other things we are already observing is the...

Atul Dhakappa

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

Yes, Digital Marketing now getting growth at the higher level. we can't predict today trends in the digital world. Nice stuff! Thanks for...

lorenso

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

I believe Digital Marketing is moving more toward social media and influential marketing. People are trying to grow their influence as in...

Rachel Kieran

Predictions: 8 digital marketing trends for 2018

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in