Blue Apron Marketing Strategy 2024: A Case Study

Blue Apron, a leading player in the online meal delivery services, has strategically positioned itself in the highly competitive meal kit industry through its innovative marketing strategies. By adopting a direct-to-consumer marketing approach, Blue Apron has successfully attracted customers with its convenient and personalized food subscription service. In this case study, we will delve into Blue Apron’s comprehensive digital marketing tactics, brand positioning, and advertising strategy, as well as conduct a thorough market analysis to gain insights into the company’s growth and challenges.

Key Takeaways:

  • Blue Apron has utilized a direct-to-consumer marketing approach to acquire a significant customer base in the meal kit industry.
  • The company has implemented various digital marketing tactics to enhance brand visibility and attract new customers.
  • Blue Apron’s referral program, podcast advertising, and YouTube sponsorships have been instrumental in its customer acquisition efforts.
  • The combination of online and offline marketing channels has allowed Blue Apron to reach a diverse audience and maximize brand exposure.
  • Despite its success in customer acquisition, Blue Apron faces challenges in profitability and competition within the market.

The $35 Million Referral Program

Blue Apron has implemented a highly successful referral program, investing a staggering $35 million in customer referrals in 2016 alone. This initiative allows existing customers to invite others to experience Blue Apron’s exceptional meal delivery service, and as a result, a significant percentage of new customers are acquired through these referrals.

The concept behind Blue Apron’s referral program is rooted in the idea that satisfied customers are more likely to recommend the service to others. By incentivizing these referrals with the offer of free meals, Blue Apron has created a strong motivator for potential customers to try the service. This approach not only enhances customer acquisition but also contributes to long-term customer retention and increased revenue for the company.

Through the referral program, Blue Apron has effectively tapped into the power of word-of-mouth marketing, leveraging the advocacy of its existing customers to acquire new ones. This strategy has proven to be highly effective, resulting in substantial growth for the company and further solidifying its position in the meal delivery industry.

To illustrate the success of Blue Apron’s referral program, here is a breakdown of the key aspects and outcomes:

Key Aspects Outcomes
Investment in referral program $35 million
Percentage of new customers acquired through referrals Significant
Customer value Increased long-term retention and revenue

This table demonstrates the substantial investment Blue Apron has made in its referral program, highlighting its commitment to customer acquisition. The company’s focus on acquiring new customers through satisfied customer referrals has proven to be a successful strategy, leading to enhanced customer value and overall business growth.

Blue Apron’s Podcast Advertising

Blue Apron recognized the potential of podcast advertising early on and strategically incorporated it into their marketing mix. Leveraging the power of podcasts, Blue Apron effectively reaches a highly engaged audience through host-read ads that seamlessly blend with the content. This form of advertising allows Blue Apron to promote their service in an authentic and compelling manner.

Podcast advertising has proven to be a cost-effective marketing channel for Blue Apron. With high response rates and relatively low costs, it offers a significant return on investment. By capitalizing on the growing popularity of podcasts, Blue Apron has expanded its advertising efforts across various categories to ensure wide coverage and maximum brand exposure.

By tapping into the enthusiasm and trust established by podcast hosts, Blue Apron successfully engages listeners and enhances brand awareness. The immersive nature of podcasts allows for a more intimate connection with the audience, increasing the likelihood of customer engagement and loyalty.

The Advantages of Blue Apron’s Podcast Advertising:

  • Cost-effective marketing channel with high response rates
  • Seamless integration within the podcast content
  • Enhances brand awareness and customer engagement
  • Expands reach across various podcast categories
  • Establishes trust and credibility through host-read ads

Blue Apron’s podcast advertising has proven to be a strategic and effective approach to reach a highly engaged audience. With its unique blend of authenticity, convenience, and affordability, Blue Apron continues to position itself as a leader in the meal kit industry.

Blue Apron Sponsoring YouTube Channels

In addition to podcast advertising, Blue Apron has recognized the immense potential of influencer marketing by sponsoring YouTube channels. By collaborating with popular YouTubers, Blue Apron can tap into their established audience and create engaging content that showcases the brand’s recipes and convenience.

This form of advertising not only increases brand awareness but also provides valuable video content that can be repurposed for other marketing channels. The partnership between Blue Apron and YouTube personalities allows for the creation of authentic content that resonates with the target audience.

Furthermore, influencer marketing enables Blue Apron to leverage the trust and credibility built by these YouTubers, fostering a deeper connection with potential customers. By working with influencers who align with Blue Apron’s values and target demographics, the brand can effectively reach and engage with a wider audience.

While managing partnerships with YouTube personalities can be challenging, agencies specializing in influencer marketing can assist in handling these collaborations and ensuring a successful marketing campaign. Their expertise in managing brand partnerships and negotiating terms can alleviate the complexities associated with influencer marketing.

This strategy not only drives brand awareness but also generates organic content that resonates with viewers, ultimately increasing Blue Apron’s online visibility and expanding its customer base.

By incorporating YouTube sponsorships into its marketing mix, Blue Apron demonstrates its commitment to innovative advertising techniques, leveraging the power of video content and influencer partnerships to further establish its brand in the competitive meal kit industry.

Influencer Marketing: An Effective Strategy

Influencer marketing has gained significant traction in recent years as a highly effective approach for brands to connect with their target audience. By collaborating with influencers who have a genuine connection and influence over their followers, brands can tap into the trust and credibility these influencers have built, promoting their products or services in an authentic way.

YouTube, in particular, has emerged as a powerful platform for influencer marketing due to its vast user base and high engagement levels. The popularity and reach of YouTube personalities enable brands like Blue Apron to amplify their message and showcase their offerings to a wide and diverse audience.

The combination of video content and influencer marketing creates a dynamic and engaging experience for viewers. By partnering with YouTube channels that align with their brand values, Blue Apron can reach potential customers in an effective and relatable manner, driving higher engagement and conversion rates.

Benefits of Blue Apron Sponsoring YouTube Channels Challenges of Blue Apron Sponsoring YouTube Channels
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Greater reach and exposure
  • Creation of valuable video content
  • Authentic and relatable promotion
  • Opportunity for audience engagement and interaction
  • Finding the right influencers for brand alignment
  • Negotiating partnership terms and compensation
  • Ensuring compliance with FTC regulations
  • Maintaining consistency in messaging across channels

TV Advertising, Radio Ads, and Direct Mail

Blue Apron recognizes the importance of traditional advertising channels in reaching a broader audience and establishing brand recognition beyond the digital realm. As part of its comprehensive marketing strategy, Blue Apron has invested in TV advertising, radio ads, and direct mail campaigns. These offline marketing tactics complement the company’s online efforts and ensure maximum exposure and brand visibility across multiple platforms.

TV advertising allows Blue Apron to showcase its meal delivery service to a wide audience through engaging visual content. By leveraging the power of television, Blue Apron can effectively communicate its value proposition and unique offerings to potential customers. The use of compelling visuals combined with persuasive messaging helps capture the attention of viewers and encourages them to consider trying Blue Apron.

Radio ads provide another avenue for Blue Apron to reach a diverse range of listeners. By strategically placing ads on popular radio stations that align with their target audience, Blue Apron can effectively communicate its brand message and create brand awareness. The use of catchy jingles, memorable slogans, or testimonials from satisfied customers can leave a lasting impression on listeners, ultimately influencing their decision to try Blue Apron’s meal kit service.

Direct mail campaigns serve as a tangible way for Blue Apron to connect with potential customers. By sending out well-crafted direct mail pieces, such as brochures or promotional offers, Blue Apron can capture the attention of individuals who may not have been reached through digital marketing efforts. The physical presence of these mailers allows for a more personal and interactive experience, giving recipients the opportunity to consider and engage with Blue Apron’s offerings.

By incorporating TV advertising, radio ads, and direct mail campaigns into its marketing mix, Blue Apron ensures a comprehensive and integrated approach to both online and offline channels. This multi-channel strategy maximizes brand exposure and enables Blue Apron to reach a wider audience, ultimately driving customer acquisition and brand growth.

A Deeper Look at the Metrics

In order to evaluate the effectiveness of its marketing channels, Blue Apron closely monitors key metrics. By analyzing metrics such as customer acquisition cost, cancellations, and lifetime value, the company is able to assess the success of each advertising channel and make data-driven decisions to optimize its marketing efforts.

Customer Acquisition Cost

Customer acquisition cost is a crucial metric that Blue Apron analyzes to determine the cost of acquiring new customers. By calculating the expenses involved in attracting and converting customers, the company can evaluate the profitability and efficiency of its marketing channels. This enables Blue Apron to allocate resources effectively and invest more in channels that yield a higher return on investment.


Cancellations play a significant role in measuring the effectiveness of Blue Apron’s marketing channels. By monitoring cancellation rates, the company can identify any issues that may be contributing to customer dissatisfaction or churn. This allows Blue Apron to take proactive measures to improve the customer experience and reduce cancellations, ultimately increasing customer retention and lifetime value.

Lifetime Value

Lifetime value is a key metric that Blue Apron carefully analyzes to understand the long-term revenue potential of its customers. By calculating the average value a customer brings to the company over their lifetime, Blue Apron can determine the profitability of its customer base and prioritize efforts to maximize customer lifetime value. This includes strategies to encourage repeat purchases, increase customer loyalty, and enhance overall customer satisfaction.

Through the analysis of these key metrics, Blue Apron gains valuable insights into the performance of its marketing channels. This data-driven approach allows the company to make informed decisions, optimize its advertising spend, and maximize the return on investment for its marketing efforts. By constantly evaluating and adjusting its strategies based on these metrics, Blue Apron aims to continuously improve its customer acquisition, retention, and overall business performance.

The Big Picture

Blue Apron’s marketing strategy is built upon a comprehensive approach that utilizes diverse marketing channels to attract new customers. The company understands the importance of reaching audiences through various platforms and employs a customer-centric approach to ensure success.

By measuring the cost of acquiring customers and analyzing the lifetime value for each marketing channel, Blue Apron can make data-driven decisions and allocate resources effectively. This allows them to optimize their marketing efforts and drive sustainable growth in the highly competitive meal kit industry.

Blue Apron’s commitment to continuous analysis and optimization sets them apart as a leader in the market. They understand that effective marketing requires staying ahead of the competition and constantly adapting to changing consumer trends and preferences.

A Diverse Range of Marketing Channels

Blue Apron’s marketing strategy is characterized by a diverse mix of channels, both online and offline. This ensures maximum reach and allows them to connect with potential customers wherever they are.

Online channels such as podcast advertising, YouTube sponsorships, and digital marketing tactics are leveraged to engage with a highly targeted audience. These channels enable Blue Apron to showcase their offerings and capture the attention of consumers who are actively seeking convenient and healthy meal options.

Offline channels such as TV advertising, radio ads, and direct mail campaigns are also important components of Blue Apron’s marketing strategy. These traditional channels help build brand recognition and reach a broader audience, complementing their online initiatives.

A Customer-Centric Approach

At the core of Blue Apron’s marketing strategy is a customer-centric approach. By putting their customers at the center of their decision-making process, they ensure that their marketing efforts resonate with their target audience.

Blue Apron understands the importance of delivering value to their customers. Through data-driven analysis, they identify the most effective marketing channels for customer acquisition and focus their efforts on delivering an exceptional customer experience.

They continuously assess the cost of acquiring customers and the lifetime value of those customers for each marketing channel. This enables them to optimize their marketing spend and allocate resources to the channels that generate the highest return on investment.

The Power of Data-Driven Decision-Making

Data-driven decision-making is a fundamental aspect of Blue Apron’s marketing strategy. By analyzing key metrics and customer data, they gain valuable insights that guide their marketing initiatives.

Blue Apron leverages data to evaluate the performance of each marketing channel and make informed decisions about resource allocation. This ensures that they are investing in channels that are driving customer acquisition and delivering a positive return on investment.

Their data-driven approach allows them to stay agile in a rapidly evolving market, adapt their strategies based on consumer trends, and capitalize on opportunities for growth.

Blue Apron’s Financial Performance and Challenges

Despite its success in customer acquisition, Blue Apron faces significant challenges when it comes to profitability. The company has made substantial investments in marketing, resulting in a considerable increase in its marketing budget over the years. However, the meal kit industry is highly competitive, and Blue Apron faces intense competition from other players in the market. Additionally, the recent acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon has further intensified the competition in the meal kit industry.

To gain a deeper understanding of Blue Apron’s financial performance, let’s take a look at the company’s financial ratios and performance metrics:

Financial Ratio/Metric Analysis
Profitability Blue Apron’s profitability is a major concern. Despite its marketing efforts, the company has struggled to generate consistent profits.
Marketing Budget Blue Apron’s marketing budget has increased significantly, reflecting the importance the company places on customer acquisition and brand promotion.
Competition The meal kit industry is crowded, and Blue Apron faces stiff competition from both established players and new entrants. This competition puts pressure on Blue Apron to continuously innovate and differentiate its offerings.
Market Challenges Blue Apron’s financial performance is influenced by various market challenges, such as evolving consumer preferences, fluctuating ingredient costs, and supply chain complexities. Overcoming these challenges requires adaptability and strategic decision-making.

Despite the challenges, Blue Apron is taking steps to address its financial concerns and enhance its overall stability. The company is focusing on optimizing its marketing efforts, exploring new market opportunities, and streamlining operations to improve profitability.


Blue Apron’s marketing strategy has been instrumental in driving its growth and success in the highly competitive meal kit industry. The company’s innovative tactics, such as its referral program and podcast advertising, have proven effective in acquiring a significant customer base. However, challenges remain, particularly in terms of profitability and competition from rival meal kit companies.

Despite these challenges, Blue Apron is making a comeback with a renewed focus on marketing and brand growth. By carefully analyzing key metrics and optimizing its marketing channels, the company aims to improve its market position and enhance profitability. Blue Apron’s commitment to data-driven decision-making enables it to allocate resources effectively and make informed choices to maximize return on investment.

With a strong emphasis on building a robust brand and attracting loyal customers, Blue Apron is investing in strategies to solidify its position as a leader in the meal kit industry. By continuously refining its marketing approaches and adapting to the ever-evolving landscape, Blue Apron seeks to achieve sustained growth and long-term success in this dynamic market.


What is Blue Apron’s referral program?

Blue Apron’s referral program allows existing customers to invite others to receive a complimentary meal delivery, resulting in a significant percentage of new customers acquired through referrals.

How much did Blue Apron spend on customer referrals?

Blue Apron spent $35 million on customer referrals in 2016 alone.

What is the benefit of Blue Apron’s referral program?

The referral program incentivizes satisfied customers to recommend the service to others, leading to long-term customer retention and increased revenue.

How has Blue Apron utilized podcast advertising?

Blue Apron has used podcast advertising to reach a highly engaged audience, leveraging this medium’s cost-effective nature and high response rates.

What are Blue Apron’s YouTube sponsorships?

Blue Apron collaborates with popular YouTube channels to showcase its recipes and convenience, leveraging the established audience of these YouTubers.

What offline advertising channels has Blue Apron utilized?

Blue Apron has invested in TV advertising, radio ads, and direct mail campaigns to reach a broader audience and build brand recognition.

How does Blue Apron measure the effectiveness of its marketing channels?

Blue Apron closely monitors key metrics such as customer acquisition cost, cancellations, and lifetime value to evaluate the success of each advertising channel.

What is Blue Apron’s marketing strategy overall?

Blue Apron’s marketing strategy involves utilizing a wide range of marketing channels to attract new customers, with a customer-centric approach and data-driven decision-making.

What challenges does Blue Apron face in terms of profitability?

Blue Apron faces profitability challenges due to stiff competition in the meal kit industry and increased market pressure after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods.

What is the goal of Blue Apron’s marketing strategy?

Blue Apron aims to position itself as a leader in the meal kit industry and enhance profitability by continuously optimizing its marketing efforts.

About the author
Editorial Team