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Case Study

The Case for Content: Yakima Racks Case Study

Summer Henderson
Brand Director, Yakima

“We’ve planted our flag in storytelling that our community of current and potential customers will find useful and entertaining”

For 35 years, Yakima Products has supplied people with the best-designed car racks on the market. Thanks to that commitment to excellence, the brand has grown into a household name.
Challenges: Shifting Attention, Challenging Product Category

As consumers have shifted their attention to digital, and as platforms have enabled brands to function as publishers, Yakima’s marketing team has made innovative investments in storytelling to engage customers with both the brand’s ethos and the product’s technological superiority.

“Content marketing, unlike PR–which is spike-driven—is continuous. It’s always on, always providing informational and inspirational value to our target consumer.”
Summer Henderson, Brand Director, Yakima

Yakima faces two unique challenges in marketing their brand:

  • First, the product they sell is not necessarily the most exciting thing to talk about. Last I checked, no one is summiting Everest with 48″ crossbars or a two-bike hitch mount! While roof racks and cargo boxes enable experiences, they aren’t interesting in themselves.
  • Second, the product itself lasts a very long time, so even happy customers might go years before needing an additional product. Essentially, they’re marketing to consumers who only need a new item when they are purchasing a new vehicle or getting into a new outdoor activity.

“Let’s face it,” says Henderson; “We sell car racks, and car racks are about the least sexy product in the outdoor industry.”

“Engaging new customers and staying relevant with current users of our products is a fascinating marketing challenge when you’re selling an industrially-designed rack system that lasts as long as a brand new car.”

Yakima needed a partner to affordably scale their production of local and national content and ensure that content drove ROI. The challenge was a familiar one: they didn’t have the internal resources to create high-quality content continuously and distribute it to the places that matter.

Solution: Content Marketing from a Trusted Partner

Matthias Patzuda

The Yakima team chose Matcha to produce, manage and distribute their content marketing program. We put together a content calendar and plan that included the following:

Custom content and editorial management. We began by creating articles about the specific sports that correlate with Yakima’s rack products, like mountain biking and skiing. We also created a series of National Parks articles which coordinated with Yakima’s existing marketing calendar.

Licensed content via our marketplace. In addition to the custom content, we set Yakima up with access to syndicate existing pieces from our content library and helped with curating an appropriate selection. This gave their team the ability to draw upon a broad pool of articles their customer base would find relevant, both region-specific and national. These pieces were published on Yakima’s own blog, and linked directly from product pages on their website.

Paid social distribution and analytics. Our proven, proprietary approach to distribution makes sure that both custom and licensed pieces are seen by Yakima’s customers in the platforms they prefer to explore content. Our analytics and reporting help prove the ROI of these investments, along with providing actionable data to help refine content topics and editorial strategies going forward.

Tim Foster

For Yakima, the content frequency and speed here is key. We delivered a batch of articles curated by our team to match up with their brand, and delivered all recommendations for the month in one batch. We were able to minimize the time commitment for their busy marketing team.

Results: Very Low CPC, CPM, and High Engagement

Over the course of the two-month period upon which we’re basing this case study, Yakima experienced a $0.07 CPC and $2.46 CPM on our content distribution, with 28.5k site visitors on 813k impressions.

For most brands, this combination of content and paid social is the most efficient way to grow their customer base—especially in a case where the timeline between purchase considerations is so long. Below are some typical metrics comparing the effect of a $2,000 spend in different channels. The “Content + Paid Social” column extrapolates Yakima’s results with an even $2,000 budget.

While we would never advocate concentrating all of your ad budget into one type of program, it is compelling to see how much inexpensive traffic you can drive using paid social paired with great content. In fact, the Matcha approach of layering content into ads to drive web traffic wins on every metric. Now it’s up to the brand to drive toward the on-site engagement metric of choice–usually email acquisition first, then eventual conversion to a sale.

Yakima’s results compared with other common advertising formats. –

“Content + Paid Social” column uses Matcha’s actual results with this Yakima campaign from 03/01/16-05/31/16, normalized to show an even $2,000 spend. Full data for the period: $2,479 spent, 1M impressions, 33,600 visits, 3.34% CTR, $2.46 CPM, $0.07 CPC.

Print column is a hypothetical example assuming a full-page ad with premium positioning (inside cover for example) in a narrowly-focused local magazine targeted to outdoor enthusiasts, based on our experience working with clients.

Digital Display Ads column uses Google’s “Display Benchmarks Tool” for CTR based on US data for all verticals, placements, and sizes for the entire year of 2015. For CPM, good data is difficult to find, but we’ve used MonitizePros’ slightly dated but well-reasoned $2.80 estimate, which aligns with our experience.

Google Search Ads column uses CTR rate of 1.91% and CPC of $2.32 from WordStream’s analysis of client averages.


For Yakima racks, experiential content marketing is the answer, and Matcha’s content marketing platform and services allow the kind of long-term branding and engagement they need to keep customers coming back, however, slow the purchase timeline.

We can help clients with licensing for print and any other marketing channels. Yakima even ended up including Matcha content in their print catalogs (photo above).

“We’ve planted our flag in storytelling that our community of current and potential customers will find useful and entertaining,” says Henderson. “At the end of the day, our tagline says it all, and our marketing team is focused on creating stories that help people create memories and ‘Take More Friends’.”

Ready to plan your own flag in the world of e-commerce storytelling? Schedule a demo of Matcha today.

Featured image provided by John Gough

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