The REAL Reason NATIVE Deodorant Got So Popular (The Truth About Native Deodorant That Bloggers Might Not Want You To Know…) How NATIVE Deodorant Sells When It’s SO Expensive
The REAL Reason NATIVE Deodorant Got So Popular...
How a $12 stick of deodorant made it into Walmart
NATIVE deodorant is arguably the best known natural deodorant in the United States. Just walk into any Walmart or Target, and they are not only sold, but likely have their own end cap or free-standing product display (those square shelves you have to walk around). But NATIVE deodorant is expensive. REALLY expensive. As I write this in July 2020, Native is $11.99 per deodorant at Target and $11.97 at Walmart. So how did a deodorant that is THIS expensive become popularized enough to hit the shelves of these major retailers? The answer will probably shock some of you, impress others, and possibly disgust some. So let’s dig into the REAL reason NATIVE Deodorant took off, and why an extremely similar competitor trails far behind in terms of brand recognition. I’ve got personal “receipts” (emails and newsletters) that I’ll be sharing from my experience inside the world of the NATIVE deodorant affiliate program. If you heard of Native deodorant online or on social media, then you need to read this. Then, I’ll give you a few takeaways to help you make informed decisions on other purchases. Consider this a mini case study on the branding strategy of NATIVE deodorant and its affiliate marketing strategy.
Quick Disclaimer: the following is for both informational and entertainment purposes. Images shown are attributed and fall under the Fair Use Act. There are affiliate links in this post. Any speculation will be called out as such. For anyone who asks, “Why do I Care?” it’s because this happened while I was working towards my MBA and I’ve seen so many shady business practices ever since. In a time where information is widely available, I believe consumers deserve to make informed purchasing decisions.
Bloggers Weren't Lying, But They Probably Left This Out....
It’s important to note that your favorite blogger/influencers weren’t lying about the effectiveness of the product. This is not meant to be an attack on anyone’s character. When they said it was great and they loved it etc, that was all true. But most consumers probably had no clue just how big the commission was when the program began. The rate affiliate commission rate until July 2018 was 50%. That is $6 PER stick of deodorant. That’s more than most standard deodorants cost, and nearly as expensive as each stick of Schmidt’s deodorant! Schmidt’s is another excellent natural deodorant that is very similar to NATIVE (in feel, ingredients, even packaging), but Schmidt’s retails for $6.99 at Target, and $6.97 at Walmart (again, NATIVE is $11.99 and $11.97 respectively). I’ve used both and like both, but choose Schmidt’s for the cost.
So Why NATIVE but Not Schmidt's?..... Money.
Okay let’s circle back to why Native deodorant rose so quickly in popularity, and then let’s compare to Schmidt’s.
What this comes down to is the effectiveness of the NATIVE Deodorant affiliate program (and specifically how much this one paid out). If you aren’t aware, an affiliate program is basically a sales commission. Bloggers/influencers will send web traffic consumers to a specific site or link, then earn a commission off of the sale. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this. There are many retailers that give commission to their retail sales team. It is an FTC (Federal Trade Commission) law that affiliate links/relationships are disclosed. Now back in 2017-2018 there were fewer laws surrounding social media, and it was (and still is) wildly unmonitored. So there’s a very high chance that you were viewing undisclosed ads, but that is technically speculation since I don’t have proof like my emails. Instagram and Facebook specifically have taken steps to ensure that users note paid promotions and affiliate links, but it wasn’t the case during this time of crazy high commissions.
Currently, anyone who signs up on Share-a-Sale’s Native Deodorant affiliate program gets 18% commission off sales. That’s already an excellent rate, but it used to be much higher. Back in 2017-2018 the commission was 50% (see photo near the top)…., but I can confirm in NATIVE’s own promotions that the affiliate revenue was 25% in Spring 2019 thanks to this Spring 2019 Affiliate Newsletter by NATIVE Deodorant team. This was emailed to me because again, I’m technically an affiliate. This is page 3 of the this pdf, and comes before they even highlight the product itself, they tell you that you can make money. GOOD money.
So backing up to 2017-2018……if you have a following, and you post about NATIVE deodorant, and 1000 people trust you enough and want to switch to a natural deodorant but don’t know where to start……and that affiliate just made $6000 in affiliate revenue (in 2017-2018). Keep in mind that affililiate links on blogs and YouTube (more “evergreen” platforms than an Instagram feed) tend to build more affiliate income over time (see my post about How My Websites Earn Me More Passive Income Than A Rental House for some more info). The email I showed at the beginning shows the commission changes, and these effect old ads. So the same people who made 50% in 2017-2018 would only be making the 18% now on the same links unless they have negotiated outside of Share-a-Sale. So the exact same ad today with 1000 sales would earn $2,158.20 in comission at that 18% comission.
A lot bloggers in the parenting, fitness, sustainability, beauty. and health food spaces all JUMPED onto the NATIVE Deodorant Affiliate program because it aligned enough with their content and ethos, and also stood to make them a lot per sale. Especially when it was 50%.
Let’s compare this to Schmidt’s….they have NO affiliate program. That means NO benefit to bloggers & influencers in the spaces previously mentioned. So there’s NO business benefit for any of them to mention Schmidt’s….and they don’t. The only way to earn affiliate revenue on Schmidt’s is to gain affiliate earnings on Amazon, Walmart, Target or other retailers. These retailers give commission in the 1-10% range. NOWHERE near the 50% shown above or the current 18% offer on Share-a-Sale. So let’s go back to the 1000 people purchasing the product. If that same blogger mentioned Schmidt’s and generated 1000 sales, at a 5% rate of $6.99, they’d earn just under $350………$350 or $6000, and both products work equally well…..what would you do? There isn’t a wrong answer, just what makes sense for your business and how you relate to your audience. Also keep in mind that many bloggers/influencers have management teams, and a “good” management team would likely choose the $6000 option for their client.
I’ll probably do a follow-up post on Schmidt’s because their lack of affiliate program is NOT the only issue in their Marketing Strategy.
Why "When it was 50%" Matters....
You might be wondering why I keep bringing up that the commission was 50%. It’s 18% now, so why does it matter? Because that insanely high commission caused massive promotion, and brought NATIVE Deodorant enough attention and brand recognition to get into the Target and Walmarts in the U.S. NATIVE built that commission into their pricing, and it’s directly serving them well in big retail too. The company is okay to lose some commission because it’s built into their pricing structure. This next line is complete opinion, but I believe that NATIVE Deodorant would not have made it into retail without this commission structure. A $12 stick of deodorant still sounds insane, yet people buy them, so it isn’t.
How Do I Know This? I *Almost* Advertised Native
Yep, I *almost* advertised Native deodorant. Technically I’m in their affiliate program, but haven’t generated any sales for them. We’ll see if this post effects my status….anyways Back in 2018 I was accepted into their affiliate program on Share-a-Sale, which is a popular affiliate network where bloggers can find brands to promote. Since I started this blog as a way to share how to live physically and financially healthy, using a natural deodorant fit perfectly into this. I do try to purchase natural options for our home (though you will NOT find me use the words “chemical free,” yikes. That’s another topic for another day). But I simply couldn’t justify recommending a product that was this expensive. I wouldn’t pay $12 for a deodorant, so how could I reasonably promote that to my audience? Especially when my “target audience” was supposed to be people on a budget? Even a “debt free journey,” ? That was a huge disconnect, and why you never saw me raving about Native deodorant. I have tried it. Native deodorant IS good. But so is Schmidt’s, and that’s what I buy and recommend to anyone who asks about natural deodorants. So while I knew I’d make literally pennies on the dollar in affiliate income compared to NATIVE, I chose to only talk about Schmidt’s.
(note: I’m not under any contract with Schmidts, and have no affiliate relation besides the retailers affiliate programs mentioned in this article)
Now here is why you shouldn’t upset with other bloggers….their target market is likely in a higher spending category than mine was. They didn’t put emphasis on affordability in ANY of their content, so why start now? As far as a business move, promoting NATIVE deodorant over Schmidt’s was a way to earn dramatically more revenue, and the product DOES work.
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Does the Name "NATIVE" Have Significance to the NATIVE Deodorant Marketing Strategy? I Think So!
This portion is based on speculation, but seems entirely possible based on how amazing the Marketing and Branding of Native deodorant is. Now, why would the name “Native” have significance to the success of an affiliate program? After all, the name is NOT based on any cultural significance that is openly shared by the brand. My speculation is that the brand name native was chosen because of the term “native ad,” which is a description of a type of ad that can run on a website. There are SO many articles and types of native ads that if any normal consumer decided to search the term, “Native ad” they wouldn’t see anything about Native deodorant at all. In fact, the photos below show that what comes up is the definition of what the term “native ad” means. So even someone questioning if Native was doing a ton of ads may not know that they’d need to search the term “native deodorant ad” to find anything about what they are looking for. So this overwhelming amount of information actually would protect NATIVE Deodorant from a lot of internet searches, therefore reassuring even questioning consumers. It’s genius. It’s also a bit shady (in my opinion).
So now we’ve got a brand with an easily identifiable name, the strong support of bloggers & influencers, and the shelter of search engines for anyone questioning if there are any ulterior motives. Combine those things and you have an internet firestorm that grew with such popularity that the brand now succeeds in retail.
What Does This Mean? What's the Big Takeaway?
There are a few takeaways from Native Deodorant.
1. Marketing Strategy can make or break a brand. It made Native Deodorant and “broke” Schmidts.
2. Price does not always equal value.
3. If you see a product mentioned by an influencer/blogger, do the quick research yourself to see if they have a huge monetary gain from this. If you see a LOT of people promoting a product, especially across industries, then really think about looking into it!
4. SHARE This, because there’s a good chance if you were surprised by this information, so are other people you know.
Truly, I hope this helps you to be better informed when it comes to affiliate marketing and how to look beyond the surface of a brand or product.
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Share-a-Sale is a platform used by both brands and affiliates to help affiliates earn more revenue on their blogs, and the brands to earn more sales of their product and increase their reach.
Hi, my name is Rachel Smith. I’m a personal finance nerd, Aldi connoissuer, book lover, yoga enthusiast, and budgeting wiz. I was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska but currently call Michigan home. I want to help people with their finances and eating healthy on a tight budget (no matter what your cost-of-living area is!)