Soylent started out as a phenomenon among tech bros and quickly went mainstream as a nutritionally balanced meal replacement.
The brand offers to take the thinking out of your meal planning with plant-based protein, but is their marketing as efficient and effective as their shake-based meals?
We ordered Soylent Cafe, a caffeinated breakfast version of the original Soylent drink, to find out. We followed along from the first marketing touchpoint to post-purchase to learn what’s driving the growth behind this drinkable brand.
✨Want to try Soylent for yourself? We’re giving this box of Soylent Cafe away to one of our subscribers! Sign up now and you could win liquid breakfast for a week.✨
As usual, we created an account, placed our product of choice in the shopping cart, and abandoned it for 48 hours. We wanted to see if Soylent would come up with some marketing magic to encourage us to finish checking out. But we were a bit disappointed by the follow-up.
Soylent only sent out an informational email about the product — very different than a targeted and personalized cart abandonment message. While it’s important to explain the value of the brand, this first email was pretty generic and could have applied to any of their products.
It’s great to see more brands becoming overly communicative about product delivery status. Soylent wasn’t taking any chances, with three separate emails for shipment, out for delivery, and delivery confirmation. Their email copy also got punchier, and they likely segmented us into a separate list so we’d get upselling emails about other products we hadn’t purchased yet.
However, we also received two identical emails within days of each other that asked for our feedback. Repeating the same exact email copy is a big no-no and risks a high unsubscribe rate from the audience. So, definitely a combination of pros and cons in the email nurture strategy.
We got a number of retargeting ads from Soylent after we made the initial purchase. To coincide with the recent release of their newest product, Soylent Bridge, Soylent targeted us with ads on Facebook and Instagram — including a shoppable link in Stories. The choice to target us with a new product is smart; they’re encouraging us to branch out into another product category and try something new.
But while the copy is extremely informative, it’s identical across all of their ads. We also noticed that all of the ads are product-centric, without any human faces included. While Soylent does a great job of included people across organic social media platforms, these ads could’ve used more character.
📦 Wrapping It Up
The taste of Soylent certainly isn’t for everyone…and it turns out their marketing isn’t either. The brand was definitely hit and miss with their outreach throughout our customer journey. We saw lots of promise with some clever retargeting strategies and a consistent email nurturing cadence, but overall, it was a mixed bag.
Hopefully, in the future, Soylent injects their copy with a bit more pizzazz and rethinks how they handle cart abandonment campaigns. With just a few changes, Soylent’s marketing could be as satisfying as their product.
Rating: 🙌🙌🙌 out of 5
Want even more in-depth marketing reviews? Check out these recent episodes of Marketing Unboxed!