By Joe Pulizzi published September 23, 2007

Content Marketing Lessons from LEGO

LEGO pieces are literally all over our house. We have the traditional sets, like the airport and fire station, the Star Wars series, LEGO Creators, and just about all the Bionicles. If you have boys (or girls) of any age up to 14, you probably know what I am talking about.

LEGOs are small building toys for kids anywhere from four years old on up. If you are asking how they relate to content marketing, read no further. LEGO is perhaps one of the elite companies in the world at attracting and retaining customers through the use of valuable and relevant content. But, before I mention any specifics, I need to tell you a quick story.
My son, Joshua, recently celebrated his sixth birthday.  At the party, he received a card from his Aunt welcoming him to the LEGO Brickmaster Club. With his new club membership he receives LEGO Builder sets and an issue of Brickmaster every two months. This is over and above what he already receives as a member of LEGO club. It goes without saying that Joshua was VERY excited to receive his new LEGO membership.

So let’s dissect this for a second. Joshua (the customer) is excited to receive content from LEGO that, in essence, is a piece of LEGO sales collateral. Do your customers get excited when you send them your sales material?

I’ve discussed this during speeches and with marketers before. Most of the time, I get a very defensive reaction from marketers when I ask them this question.  Marketers usually say something like, “We don’t sell LEGOs, we sell (widgets). Our customers aren’t going to get excited about receiving a magazine about (widgets).” My answer is always the following:

If you have a product or service that helps an individual solve a problem, and your product helps them do their job better, makes their life easier, or entertains them in some way, it is possible to get customers excited about your product through the use of content.

Let’s look specifically at what LEGO does to deliver information to customers that creates a true LEGO experience.

  • LEGO has been delivering consistent content to customers in the form of a print magazine. They have been doing this at usually a 6x per year frequency for over 20 years (I used to get the original Brick Kicks in the 80s). The content has always revolved about how target consumers can take their products to the furthest level of their imaginations.
  • LEGO puts on targeted roadshows around the country for LEGO fans to meet with other fans and see LEGO creations, as well as contest opportunities.
  • LEGO promotes user-generated content EVERYWHERE. You’ll see this in the magazine and all over the Web site.
  • LEGO integrates their magazine content with helpful online content for power builders.
  • LEGO understands the end-user, but also understands the role of key influencers and other decision makers. To bring those decision makers into the fold, LEGO promotes family events and content specifically for parents (i.e., they target C-level executives).
  • LEGO leverages user case studies whenever possible.
  • LEGO segments their customer base with different types of content. While LEGO magazine is great for many of their customers, a good portion of their customer base, which I would consider the “high-spenders,” need more attention and have more advanced content needs. Thus, Brickmaster was born.
  • LEGO created a user discussion forum so that builders could connect with other builders. They also provide a social networking function where customers can personalize their pages and showcase their designs. Some companies outside of LEGO are now dedicated to enhance the LEGO experience (i.e., BrickJournal.com).
  • LEGO is a licensing king and has created non-traditional content channels such as gaming (LEGO Star Wars), movies (Bionicle and Exo-Force) and hundreds of book titles.

This is just some of the great content that LEGO is distributing consistently and frequently to their customers. And, it’s not just good content, it’s great content that mixes interesting stories with eye-catching design to create a true user experience.

Question is, where would LEGO be without this content?  Would they be one of the most recognized brands in the world? Frankly, it wouldn’t be close. Great products such as LEGO aren’t enough to create a great brand and differentiate your brand from the competition. Communications and content is today’s true brand differentiator.

Each of us have the communication tools at our fingertips to create a true community around our products and services. Each of us have the power to create great content that focuses purely on the needs of our customers and prospects.

Still not a believer?  Just ask Megabloks.

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Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi is the Founder of Content Marketing Institute, a UBM company, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World. Joe is the winner of the 2014 John Caldwell Lifetime Achievement Award from the Content Council. Joe’s the author of five books, including his latest, Killing Marketing. His third book, Epic Content Marketing was named one of “Five Must Read Business Books of 2013” by Fortune Magazine. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange. Follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Mike Horgan

    Joe,
    Excellent example of an integrated content strategy. Yet, I’ll ask what just about every B2B marketer out there is thinking…do you have any examples from the B2B world? And, how about measurement…do you have examples from companies that have embraced the content marketing revolution that have been able to measure the success of integrated content strategies? NOW THAT is the $64 million question!
    Mike

  • http://blog.junta42.com Joe Pulizzi

    Hi Mike…you are correct, there seem to be many more examples of consumer content marketing success stories out there. That said, you’ll be able to find a few solid case studies here (http://www.junta42.com/category/B2B_Case_Studies/).
    Try the ABM Custom Media experience eBook, the eZine program from PTC and Security Focus by Symantec. We are also working on about 10 b2b case studies for our book called Get Content. Get Customers. coming out at the beginning of 2008.
    It seems from most of our research that companies are doing a lot of content marketing, but aren’t necessarily measuring it or integrating it (for the most part). It’s pretty easy to see what marketers need to focus on in regards to their content initiatives. MEASUREMENT!

  • http://blog.junta42.com/content_marketing_blog/2008/06/were-going-to-l.html Junta42 blog

    We’re Going to LEGOLAND! How Custom Print Magazines Drive Behavior

    We have decided to take a family vacation this year to LEGOLAND in San Diego (Carlsbad, CA actually) and it has everything to do with LEGO’s custom magazine. I’ve discussed LEGO magazine before, and it never ceases to amaze me

  • http://uBobnBalloons.com Roy Lee

    Is uBobn content at uBobnBalloons.com on track to be a great example of content marketing?