May 2021

3 Subscription-Based Brands Killing the Marketing Game

A Pittsburgh marketing agency dives into a few of the best marketing tactics for subscription-based products.

Advertising a subscription-based model varies from other marketing for many reasons, but it can give you the opportunity to use social media and digital marketing to bring your brand to the top. At our Pittsburgh marketing agency, our team has found subscription services in 3 different industries that are killing the marketing game. See what is working for them and considering applying it to your brand’s strategy. 

3 Subscription-Based Brands That Show Successful Marketing Tactics

Expert Pittsburgh marketing agency reveals the marketing secrets for subscription services in multiple industries. 

  1. Boxycharm
Boxycharm products
Image courtesy of Southern Mom Loves.

Boxycharm quickly turned into a multi-million dollar company by offering full-size beauty products in their monthly boxes. With products from makeup and beauty tools to skincare and color cosmetics, each box values over $175 but is sold for only $25 a month. Product loyalty is extremely high with these kinds of products, so it can be a challenge to convince potential customers to try out new products. 

Boxycharm has marketed their service to their target audience in various ways to become as successful as they have in less than 10 years. As a Pittsburgh marketing agency, we have dug around to find out how the Boxycharm team advertises its subscription service.

Boxycharm Marketing Tactics

Yosef “Joe” Martin, CEO of the company, quickly recognized that the subscription box market was highly competitive and took the chance to get directly involved in the marketing of the brand. He is well-known to the customers because of the Instagram lives he holds every month to showcase new products. 

Boxycharm works with influencers to increase brand awareness and to take advantage of the opportunities on social media—but their influencers don’t have to have 5,000 followers or more to help Boxycharm advertise. They’ve put together a referral program for all members to feel incentivized to speak up about Boxycharm. 

While social media is a large portion of their marketing campaign, so is word of mouth. It’s common for multiple boxes to be shipped to the same address every month. The team sees boxes shipped to homes and offices, where moms, daughters, and coworkers are sharing their favorite products. Yosef has claimed that if they shut down all their marketing efforts, Boxycharm would still be growing by word of mouth. 

  1. HelloFresh
Hello Fresh box
Image courtesy of The Guardian

HelloFresh is a meal subscription service where customers can sign up for healthy, quick, and easy ingredients sent directly to their front doors. Each customer chooses how many meals they would like to receive, advise HelloFresh of any dietary restrictions, and can change the meals whenever they want. The brand is also extremely sustainable because ingredients are only sent with the specific portions needed and their carbon footprint is 25% less than meals made with store-bought groceries. 

HelloFresh Marketing Tactics

Just like Boxycharm, HelloFresh utilizes influencer marketing and customer participation. The brand searches on social channels to discover what its target audience is finding the most exciting to eat and cook. They focus on two-way conversation, which can sometimes be lost between a brand’s social media page and its followers. Even the commercials they shoot incorporate legitimate customers and families! Include these genuine people with real stories has made their commercials and brand deals feel extremely genuine to viewers -- which has worked incredibly well for them. 

  1. BarkBox
dog with Bark Box
Image courtesy of Alex Dougherty

What’s something that people are bound to splurge on? Their dogs. BarkBox embraces the “crazy dog people” with silly puns, exciting dog toys and treats, and even a Tinder for dogs. BarkBuddy is the Tinder for a man’s best friend -- aka an app for you to find adoptable dogs that need a home. BarkBox is a customized box filled with toys and treats for your pup with a different theme every single month. The BarkBox team gets creative with their products, which makes it simple to point out from the hundreds of toys every other brand is offering. 

BarkBox Marketing Tactics

It’s easy to notice that BarkBox embraces outside-of-the-box ideas—and it doesn’t stop when it comes to their marketing efforts. The content creators take advantage of the story inside every box and design social memes and videos for their platforms. Yet again, real stories are the star of their successful advertising campaigns. BarkBox has taken your dog and made him/her the focus of their call-to-actions. For example, they built The Invasion of the Space Squirrels box and claimed that “only YOUR DOG can save us!” 

The team conceptualizes by thinking “would it be cool if…?” and running with the ideas they come up with. This makes the storytelling fun and engaging, which is the perfect mix when selling a box to the crazy dog people of the world. 

The Takeaways

What marketing actually works for subscription-based services?

woman holding Boxycharm box
Image courtesy of Boxycharm.

In any industry, there are probably going to be subscription-based services that every brand has to compete with. Here is how you can be ahead of the curve in your marketing strategy: 

  • Use honest stories from existing customers
  • Take advantage of micro-influencers and the power of word of mouth
  • Create a two-way conversation with customers
  • Build your social media channels to have engaging content specifically branded for your target audience 
  • Find out where your target audience is and connect with them there (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Television, etc.) 


Subscription services have become increasingly popular which is great for the consumer but can be a challenge for brands. Standing out from the crowd with your marketing efforts can skyrocket your sales, but where do you start? We can guide you on the right path for your brand to grow through digital marketing. As a Pittsburgh marketing agency with experience in numerous different industries, we can find a solution for you. Contact us today to get started!

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