Facebook Adds Deals in Effort to Make Places App Relevant

Looking for ways to increase their penetration in Location Based Services (LBS), Facebook announced yesterday that they’ve added an application called Deals to their platform. Currently only 4% of online adult Americans use LBS applications to let their friends know where they are throughout the day. As an incentive, Facebook has teamed with 21 businesses (so far) to offer deals to users who check-in to certain locations around their cities; Gap is offeringĀ  a free pair of blue jeans to the first 10,000 people who check-in at a Gap location on November 5, 2010; Macy’s is giving shoppers 20% off for checking in; REI, Starbucks and 24 Hour Fitness are all offering to donate money to various charities for every check-in at their locations. These rewards are clearly more pragmatic and meaningful than the badges and titles that users on Gowalla and Foursquare have competed for up to now, and should provide greater incentive for the general public to at least start considering the use of LBS. Ultimately, Facebook needs to remove as many barriers-to-use of this LBS functionality as possible; the most powerful delivery method of these rewards will be the user simply collecting and storing their credits in a digital wallet, as opposed to “proving” that they’ve checked in to a store clerk before they can claim their discount at the point of sale. The user could then simply check-in at various locations and the store would instantly recognize their account and provide discounts automatically. What do you think about Location Based Services? Do you use them currently? Would you check-in for a free pair of Gap blue jeans?

Share

Share on Facebook

Posted in Advertising, Social Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

7-Eleven Road Trip Rally Connects Brands, Retail and Social Media

This past May, 7-Eleven launched a social media campaign called The 7-Eleven Road Trip Rally, which featured 2 teams racing across the United States for 3 weeks to the Indy 500. They were only allowed to make pit stops at 7-Elevens, and the webisodes all featured challenges that highlighted the brands and goods sold at their stores nationwide. 7-Eleven hired Blip.tv to essentially put together the entire project, and they in turn outsourced the creative content and production of the short films to Happy Little Guillotine Films. Viewers were able to watch up to 5 new webisodes per week, as well as track the teams in real-time on their trips across the country.

By combining reality TV content with social media, 7-Eleven and their partner brands were able to post entertaining videos with their products and services cleverly layered into the content. The next step in the process of engaging viewers with this creative new form of advertisement is making the reality-based webisodes more interactive for everyone watching at home; allow everyone to vote for their favorite team on Facebook and give the winning team extra money to spend during their pit stops; poll viewers on Twitter to decide what they want the next challenge to be; enable everyone watching to “recommend” products for the racers to try at their next stop and reward the people at home with free products/promotional offers from those brands. This hybrid platform of social media and reality TV has virtually limitless potential for brands and retailers interested in product placement – the only question is who will take the next step?

Share

Share on Facebook

Posted in Advertising, Social Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

How to Build a Corporate Presence on Facebook

With social media now “fast becoming more popular than e-mail on mobile devices and more convenient for news consumption than the daily paper”, companies and organizations across all industries are competing for social media market share, whether they’re aware of it or not. Brands and Retailers are now able to post hi-resolution images on their pages, which can be very useful for a company looking to engage consumers; Travelocity has already taken advantage of the opportunity and appears to be getting very good feedback from its “Fans”.

Consumer Review/Event Groups and Live Chat Forums are also now possible on Facebook, thanks to the site’s “New Groups” feature. This functionality is practically begging to be leveraged by companies looking to survey, communicate and/or engage their fans. Facebook Questions also falls into this category as a way for companies to talk with consumers at a very base, one-to-one level.

The Golden State Warriors NBA team are a perfect case study in how to turn pedestrian email campaigns into powerful, social media events. Kyle Spencer, the team’s Marketing Director, sent out emails offering fans free tickets to preseason games if they’d log into their Facebook accounts and simply “Like” the team. In total, they sent out 2 emails and increased their visibility in social media by 20% (15k additional Facebook followers). These are some truly impressive results for a minimal capital outlay; with the enhancements being made to the site recently, the only thing standing between a company’s social media marketing efforts and success is its own creativity.

Share

Share on Facebook

Posted in Advertising, Social Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Social Media Teams With Search Engines


Bing and Facebook have announced a partnership to augment normal search engine results with social media data; the intention is to make search results more personalized and relevant by by combining individual preferences with information pulled from Facebook “friends”. From the consumer side, this technology should be very useful in deciding which movie to see or where to go for dinner.

However, the risks of the Bing/Facebook search and recommendation engine run straight to the heart of growing privacy concerns. Facebook has a record of sharing user information without permission: the Wall Street Journal recently reported that of the top 10 Facebook apps, all 10 had moved user data over to ad companies, and some were even capturing and monetizing information about the friends of those users. This means that combining Bing’s search capability with friend activity could potentially make the social media site even more invasive than ever.

The Facebook experience may be instructive for retailers; as retailers acquire and use customer data with greater frequency, the pressure from third parties to help monetize that data in new ways will increase as well. What’s your take on all of this? Does the addition of friend activity to search via Bing add incremental value to the user experience, or have Facebook and Bing really gone too far? Give us your thoughts!

Share

Share on Facebook

Posted in Social Media | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Bi-Lo Text Message Campaign Wins Big

Last weekend Bi-Lo sent out a College Football-themed text message promotion to 6,000 shoppers in Columbia, SC, prompting them with ways to throw a great tailgate or house party before the big University of South Carolina vs. University of Alabama game. Incredibly, these text messages were opened by 38% of the recipients, all of whom had opted into the mailing list, without offering any coupons or material discounts in their stores. It would be very interesting to look at what the great response in people reading the texts translated to in terms of promotion-related sales dollars, but the number of people who read the message highlights the power of relevant and timely interaction; when retailers can provide their customers with useful information, exactly when they need it, those customers are exponentially more likely to listen and react.

Share

Share on Facebook

Posted in Advertising, Mobile | Tagged , | Leave a comment

iPhone Organizes Customer Loyalty Cards with scanaroo App

iPhone owners with $.99 can now consolidate all of their loyalty, membership and insurance cards in one place – their smartphones. Scanaroo is available in the iTunes Store and lets users shed the majority of the plastic cards in their wallets and on their keychains with the goal of making life easier and simpler. The next step is aggregating purchasing history data and then allowing complimentary companies to reward customers simultaneously via social media; a member of Gold’s Gym buys a double cheeseburger at McDonalds and gets a Facebook message addressed from their personal trainer offering them a month of free membership if they sign up for a new pilates class; a family rents a movie on Netflix and are instantly offered a special on 2 large pizzas and a 2 liter soda from their local Little Caesars.

Share

Share on Facebook

Posted in Mobile, Tech News | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Is Brand Loyalty Evaporating Forever?

According to a recent study by Deloitte, consumers across the country have changed their buying habits and are now more focused on “cutting spending and saving money” than on shopping as a hobby or loyalty to their favorite brands. This trend has led several major corporations like AT&T and ING Direct to acknowledge the paradigm shift and implement new campaigns based around Customer Experience Management (CEM). One example of a CEM initiative at AT&T is customer service reps now answering calls with the phrase “How can I make you feel like a valued customer today?”, while ING Direct has “opened seven cafes around the country” where their financial brokers will whip up double-shot mochas and cappuccinos while servicing your portfolio; all of this is an attempt by companies to connect with their customers at a more meaningful, personal level. As these CEM programs evolve, it will be very interesting to see how consumer purchase histories and individual profiles are integrated into the process of personalized connections between shopper and brand.

Share

Share on Facebook

Posted in Advertising | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment