Normally, the hiring of a social media team by a company employing almost half a million people in over 60 countries worldwide might not be considered newsworthy. But Thermomix parent company Vorwerk has always done things a little differently.
In the past
From the time it was founded in 1883, until relatively recently (2001) Vorwerk abstained from traditional advertising, relying instead on its success with the direct-selling model. Print ads were discouraged and in the early years of the internet, Vorwerk pages were noticeably lacking. Enthusiastic home-based sales consultants were instructed to refrain from maintaining web sites relating to Thermomix and from promoting themselves via online channels.
But genuine enthusiasm is a social force that is hard to subdue. In 2009 people around the world (especially Australians!) were talking amongst themselves and word began to spread about an almost mythical super kitchen machine that couldn’t be bought online. People grew hungry to know more, and alongside a handful of earlier intrepid sites this “unofficial fan blog” (SuperKitchenMachine) was created to help fill the void of online information. (In four years this blog has helped more than 50,000 people to own Thermomix by connecting them with local distributors in other countries.)
Times are changing…
The past two years have delivered some welcome changes to the Thermomix landscape, both offline and online. Now there are Thermomix ’boutiques’ in some cities, Vorwerk sanctioned recipe communities, a shiny new YouTube channel, fan-driven Facebook pages, consultant-owned blogs and even more to come.
As I see it, Thermomix is coming of age. It’s been watching from the shadows and decided to join the party. To say that social media is a “dream come true” vehicle for a global direct selling company with the sales force of Vorwerk would be an understatement. This we know from recent job posting on the Vorwerk website.
Openings for “International Social Media Manager“, “International Online Manager“, and “Junior Intern of Online Projects” offer a peek at changes to come. (These positions are now filled.)
Serious responsibilities: only gurus need apply
The job descriptions on the Vorwerk website reveal a fascinating set of goals to be met by the new Thermomix social media team. They cover a vast scope. Think about Thermomix International facebook pages, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, and who knows what else. There is much to be done, and more people to be trained. Does all this sound easy to you?
Think you have what it takes?
Qualifications for the social media manager include:
In-depth understanding of social marketing dynamics
BA/BS or university degree in Marketing, Communications, IT or related field
Social marketing professional, experienced in international projects
Ability to effectively communicate information and ideas in written and audio-visual format
Technical understanding, experience with WordPress, knowledge of SEO
Excellent project management skills, experience in managing small teams
Excels at building & maintaining relationships (online and off)
Competent English skills (oral and written) + one more European language
See full job description and requirements here
As junior online intern you will be required to:
Manage and coordinate the launch of Thermomix foreign distributors online tools, including a website based on WordPress, an e-shop and email newsletter.
Support distributors with site requirements and specificities. Brief the distributors and the agency.
Coordinate the roll out of the launches with the distributors, the web agency, the Export team and Thermomix Marketing.
Quality content check and the design compliance for the launch of 12-15 sites over 6 months and approval & Go live process
The big question: “What does a Thermomix International social media presence mean for consultants and fans around the world?”
Let’s be clear. I am a fan of this wonderful kitchen machine. I don’t sell it, but I love it enough to immerse myself in its online world. Via this medium we can observe how the machine is enjoyed by cooks who are both novice and expert. I love to see how it changes the way people use their kitchens, shop for ingredients, and how they eat. A machine that influences how people choose to cook, eat and feed their families is a powerful tool.
Thermomix International’s online presence is a catapult ready to launch. I think that by having an official online presence in social media networks Thermomix will achieve the following:
1) Thermomix will win with increased sales — no question, they will sell more machines. A lot more.
2) Consultants will win with easier ways to support their customers via an expanded support system online
3) Customers will win with easier access to info, support, and sales offices.
Can we read further changes between the lines?
From reading the job descriptions above it looks like Thermomix will be making changes to its online presence, marketing methods, and support networks. Does this mean change for sales methods too? Will Thermomix opt to enter the US now… targeting new markets with fresh online strategies? Since there are no established Thermomix consultants in USA, there would be no resistance for changes to the sales model. With an international social media platform, and a clear slate in the USA perhaps the time is ripe for test-marketing a paradigm shift.
What do you think? (fyi, Thermomix International reads this blog and your comments below.)