In the past few years, social media has gone from adored marketing darling to an apparent powerhouse to the proclaimed way of the future. Yet, at the end of the day, digital media is in some ways just a new conduit for tried and true strategies. Viral marketing existed as word of mouth before it came in the form of video. Compared to television, Twitter blurbs are an optimal and more economical way of announcing sales and promotions while communicating a company’s brand.
While many businesses have abandoned brick-and-mortar stores in favor of digital real estate, promotions – and promotional giveaways - can still play a key role in marketing. Used in conjunction with social media, giving away promo items can be the tactic to take advertising strategies to the next level.
Spreading the word
Viral campaigns in the digital age seem easier than ever, thanks to the ability to share content online with the click of a button. If they don’t seem much different than commercials, that’s because often they aren’t. Some of the most easily memorable viral videos have come from Old Spice, Apple and other major brands, whose televised advertising was simply posted and shared online. Yet, today’s innovative ads seem to take advantage of all that the fast-paced digital world has to offer. Small Business Trends recently examined some of the more popular ad campaigns that went viral in the past few years. Some, such as Blendtec’s deadpan “Will it blend” campaign is simply funny, while others by soccer teams and airlines seem to take marketing and consumer interaction to a new level.
The soccer team Sporting Portugal had probably one of the most startling ads to increase ticket sales. The team set up a site where visitors entered their name and phone number. Afterward, a video would play of the team during a pep talk, at the end of which, the coach calls your cell phone – yes, people would actually get a phone call – and asks why you aren’t at the game yet. According to Small Business Trends, the site received 200,000 page views in a single day. Key to the ad’s success was its interaction with customers.
Other ads weren’t as immersive, but they did implement promotions and deals as a way of attracting customers. The airline Virgin Blue kick started an ad campaign on Twitter for its Australian branch’s ninth anniversary by giving away $9 plane tickets via the micro-blogging site. They gained 33,000 Twitter followers at the cost of 1,000 tickets, instantly amassing a substantial online following. While not featured on Small Business Trends, Canada’s WestJet airlines made waves this past Christmas by having an airport Santa Claus take down actual travelers’ Christmas wishes before their departures. When those passengers landed, WestJet had their dream gifts waiting for them, according to Forbes.
Promotions over loyalty
These campaigns all featured customer interaction, and often involved some sort of giveaway. Such promotional tactics may just be able to hold a candle to the supposed supernova that is brand loyalty. Statistics from Market Track as summarized by Business 2 Community suggest that 80 percent of shoppers are willing to switch brands or stores because of a promotion. Furthermore, shoppers apparently also say that promotions account for 83 percent of unplanned purchases. While social media alone can serve as a form of promotion, an online campaign can be given legs with the added element of promotional items.
Companies may not have enough money in the budget for WestJet’s kind of promotional campaign, but smaller business gifts can still be used in conjunction with a viral campaign to engage consumers in a creative and unexpected way.
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