How Aldi is dominating the internet through marketing

We have all seen those tweets and memes come up about Aldi’s latest tweet. Remember the debate over #FreeCuthbert after a lawsuit was filed by Marks & Spencer’s. Since then Aldi has been drawing attention to itself almost daily through giving opinions on Love Island to attending Glastonbury or targeting competitors. Within this blog we will review the ‘Aldi’ method, cover if this strategy would benefit other companies, why this method should be studied, what the takeaway could be for other brands. 

What is the ‘Aldi’ method?

Before we get into how Aldi is making marketing waves, let’s go over their history. This German-owned discount store made its appearance here in the UK in the 90s, when it opened its store in Stechford. It didn’t have great success at first however it slowly won consumers over; so by 2017 it was the UK’s fifth-largest retailer according to HOW ALDI BECAME BRITAIN’S FUNNIEST SUPERMARKET

Aldi uses two forms of promotion: above-the-line and below-the-line promotions. ‘Above-the-line promotions are paid-for advertising aimed at a mass audience. These include the media such as television, radio, magazines, and newspapers that reach a large number of people,’ as mentioned in the Creating value through the marketing mix An Aldi case study. While below-the-line targets customers in a different way. ‘Below-the-line promotion…can be more easily targeted to specific audiences than above-the-line methods. They offer organisations a greater level of control over their communications. Aldi uses a range of below-the-line methods. These include social media, targeted emails to customers, 3rd party endorsement and awards, and public relations and media relations,’ as mentioned in the case study. 

Their marketing started to improve when they brought on McCann UK in 2014. The Free Cuthbert campaign, as mentioned in Aldi steps up defence of Cuthbert cake with viral Twitter campaign, started after Marks & Spencer began legal action against the company for alleged intellectual property by making a cake similar to their Colin the caterpillar. When the lawsuit came out Aldi’s marketing team saw an opportunity. It started tweeting out ‘Just Colin our lawyers. #FreeCuthbert’ or ‘Cuthbert has been found GUILTY…of being delicious. #FreeCuthbert’ These posts had the nation loving the row between the two stores. 

During these exchanges, Aldi managed to pull in other relevant news that brought even more attention to the debate and called out other stores that had similar caterpillar-style cakes. This PR stunt of amusing tweets drove impressions and engagement up with Aldi receiving 75K likes, according to Battle of the brands – Aldi vs Lidl

Why this method should be studied?

Aldi showed us a new way of marketing businesses. ‘Having tweets that mirror how people interact with their friends, family and wider communities on social media, enable the brand to bring itself down to the level of the customer,’ as mentioned in Battle of the brands – Aldi vs Lidl. Aldi took social media marketing to a new level. 

The method that Aldi used was approaching the marketing by personifying the brand and ultimately connecting with the customer; utilizing other trending events that the brand could use to make a splash and gain more engagement by creating funny content; capitalising on hashtags as a way to build engagement; be bold and make a statement you are providing something to the customer, however, you are also providing them with a feeling.  

A case study concluded that ‘the campaigns have increased Aldi’s sales per store by +100% over 3 years through creating more loyal customers. Its multi-channel promotional activity is engaging consumers and creating positive feedback,’ Creating value through the marketing mix An Aldi case study. Aldi took what may have been damaging to the company and turned it into a social media marketing masterclass. The Aldi marketing team showed and continues to show how the brand is relevant. As mentioned in This Isn’t Just Social Media Marketing, It’s Aldi Social Media Marketing ‘Relevancy is absolutely key. Being reactive. Knowing your audience….’ If Aldi wasn’t on point with its relevant posts about topics, they wouldn’t receive the number of likes that they do. 

In effect what Aldi does is show how irrelevant and outdated some brands are on social media. Through studying their method we have learned that ‘it’s time we threw traditional PR and social media rulebooks out the window. Get creative! As long as you know your audience, you really don’t have much to lose,’ as mentioned in This Isn’t Just Social Media Marketing, It’s Aldi Social Media Marketing.

Will this strategy benefit other companies?

Aldi’s social media marketing strategy is to be relevant and reactive. The question is this a method viable for all businesses? Not likely. As a brand, it is critical to know your audience and the audience you are trying to approach as well. The Aldi strategy is aimed at a younger generation. Millennials and Gen Z as these generations are used to seeing these feuds. They grew up when it was common to see singers in a PR stunt to raise the popularity of each other’s songs or celebrities in feuds with each other. 

This method isn’t viable for all businesses. It depends on the demographics of your audience. It is key to understand that data before trying this method. On that note, it is still key to be relevant, however, it’s about being relevant to your audience. 

The takeaways for other brands

The takeaways are knowing the demographics of your audience and be relevant to those followers. There is no generic plan that fits every business and brand, it’s about taking your brand and creating a connection with your audience. 

At Gotta!Be Marketing we tailor campaigns to suit each brand and what their needs are. We are part of the solution for your marketing struggles. Contact the team today!