A standard component of any marketing mix is offering either discounts, offers or rewards to loyal customers. Print and direct marketing has been the king of coupons and vouchers. We know that email marketing also is a key component in offering rewards though by adding a social media component the potential for sharing among users and friends rises dramatically. My clients have been using Twitter, Instagram and Facebook extensively for flash deals and rewards. The latest trend is to use applications that assist the marketer with implementing these programs. In the case I outline below, I used YUPIQ, a Victoria BC based technology firm.
Update: August 30, 2015 Facebook changed its promotion rules and no longer requires the use of an application to run contests. As a result, Yupiq did a market pivot and now does member referrals. See Referral SaaSquatch and contact Will Fraser – good guys and he “gets it.” However, the context of the reward for mentions still holds true regardless of whether or not a web application is used.
I try all the new applications myself – I am naturally curious and always on the lookout for new marketing tools. So when I was approached by YUPIQ – I jumped on board to test their product. YUPIQ provides software to assist in giving rewards to those product champions who share your information with their friends. It allows the marketer to target their brand advocates and build word of mouth and business through specific, targeted campaigns. That got my attention right away. Network marketing is a huge opportunity in social media but can it work?
The ESTC Demonstration Reward
I was a speaker on a panel session called “Stretching Your Marketing Budget – Green Marketing & PR for Tourism” at the Ecotourism and Sustainable Tourism Conference or ESTC. What better way to try paperless rewarding but at an eco-tourism conference? Since the session was late on the last day of the conference, we wanted the ESTC attendees to benefit from all the marketing and PR wisdom my fellow panel members and I were going to provide. I spoke with the panel chair and , tourism PR guru Deirdre Campbell of the Tartan Group who jumped on board and graciously offered to provide the reward: a local alcoholic concoction called a FireFly. Delegates didn’t actually have to go to the session – the reward was just for spreading the word !
How it worked
I wanted the ESTC delegates to share the information about the session. I sent out an email linking to the ESTC Stretch your Marketing Dollar Session Reward to panel leader Deirdre Campbell, the conference organizer Ayako Ezaki of TIES and my fellow panel members PR gal, Vicky Hastings of Maxwell PR and SEO guy, Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media and ask them to share with ESTC delegates. And then I watch the stats. The first few people sharde on facebook, twitter or by email. When ESTC attendees accepted the information – both parties got a code that they could redeem for a Firefly at the opening night (Sunday) reception. The offer was limited to the first 25 people.
What we need to know
The purpose of this reward was to demonstrate the software and get delegates thinking about how they could use this and other applications in their business. Though the purpose was also gather feedback on whether the reward is worth it! Would delegates be hesitant to share? If so, why? Would they find it annoying or intriguing? Would it work? What unanticipated issues will come up? So many questions! We gave out 35 drinks that night…which I considered a wild success because I got to speak to many people who didn’t know me. And we had a great time. More importantly, the late day session was well attended and offered value to attendees, regardless of the drinks offered. I don’t know if this new method of paperless rewarding will be successful in the long run but I am sure interested in finding out what happens! Let me know your thoughts on this contesting and rewards.
What the heck is Terry Rachwalski, a management and business consultant for technology firms doing speaking at a tourism conference? Terry is a certified management consultant CMC who partnered up with the Tartan Group to provide digital services to their tourism clients. Terry has run multiple successful integrated communications campaigns including public relations, advertising and social media …and a few not so successful. But she knows why. BTW – ESTC is run by The International Tourism Society or TIES.