Digital channels open the way for Viral Loyalty
Loyalty Magazine reports from two of the industry’s big events – Technology for Marketing & Advertising in London, and Mobile Payments 2008 in Barcelona. If you want to see what is happening in loyalty and marketing technology today you go to TfMA. If you want to know what is happening tomorrow you go to Mobile Commerce World.
TfMA covers how marketers are communicating with their customers now including digital, data and CRM solutions. The major message emerging for loyalty professionals at this year’s TfMA event is the increasing potential of digital channels such as the internet and online games to achieve ‘viral loyalty’ – getting customers to promote your products and to turn their friends into loyal customers.
Cadbury’s gorilla sets benchmark for multimedia ads
A major trend at TfMA was how digital advertising channels such as the internet are increasingly important to the way brands market to their existing customers and acquire new ones.
A number of recent campaigns have shown the potential of using multiple digital media to achieve rapid mass consumer acquisition and interaction.
YouTube was instrumental in boosting the profile of the recent Cadbury’s Dairy Milk advert which featured a gorilla playing drums to the music of Phil Collins. The advert has so far had ten million views on YouTube (at no cost to Cadbury’s of course).
“This has set the benchmark for quality use of the internet,” says Neil Hughston of Saatchi & Saatchi. “Lots of people have done their own ‘mash-ups’ of the ad on YouTube.”
Another recent hugely effective multimedia campiagn was conducted by the Danish surfing equipment company Quicksilver and has become a worldwide youthful phenomenon, generating ten million hits on YouTube in a few days and still growing.
The 80-second ad was filmed on deliberately de-graded footage to make it look like a mobile video – leading to rumours over whether it was fake or real. It features a surfer who throws a stick of dynamite into a lake, creating a giant wave so that his friend can surf on it. All the young actors appearing in the advert were wearing Quicksilver clothes.
The ad appears on several other video sharing sites, such as MySpace. It has spread rapidly around the international surfing community and provoked a huge response, with some posters even claiming to have copied the stunt.
The commercial has hardly been shown on TV, and its fame has been predominantly been driven by its youthful target demographic spreading it virally amongst themselves on digital channels. The makers say such ads can swiftly become hugely successful, but can also be dead and buried within 24 hours if they don’t catch on.
Another digital channel, interactive online gaming, is also using the viral effect to get customer buy-in. A campaign for UK telco T-Mobile is aimed at promoting the new MyFaves tariff for its large group of customers who spend most of their time talking to five or less people. The campaign uses online games to promote product sharing.
In the specially created MyFaves game from US company SMERC, the player rushes around New York searching for the five MyFaves he has lost. As he finds his friends and family members, they join together to create a human ball enabling them to roll faster and faster before time runs out. Along the way the player searches for energy boosts and extra time.
Anyone who plays the game around the world has their scores added to a giant online high scores table and they are automatically entered into a prize draw.
The game has been virally seeded by Go Viral and is available on the T-Mobile MyFaves website at www.t-mobile.co.uk/myfaves.
Even politicians are now getting in on the viral loyalty and digital marketing act. Excerpts from speeches by US presidential candidate Barack Obama have been put into a song by ex-Black Eyed Peas member Will.i.am.
The video of the song (directed by Bob Dylan’s son Jesse and featuring celebrities such as Scarlet Johansson) was premiered at the start of Februry on the ABC News channel. By February 8th some 5.5 million people had seen it on internet video sites, and Obama’s campaign is now using it for viral marketing.
When marketing to a youthful demographic, digital channels such as online gaming and internet video sites are increasingly at the centre of brand strategies alongside the traditional print and TV outlets.
“The internet is really just another channel,” says Saaatchi & Saatchi’s Neil Hughston. “But one that is easy to measure.”
He adds that, when measuring the response to interactive digital branding activities, one of the new buzz marketing acronyms is ROI – “return on involvement” as opposed to return on investment.
“As a brand, if you have people who interact with you on a regular basis it has to be a good thing.”
Companies feeling the influence of social networks
The increasing power of social networking websites such has been illustrated with two high profile brands recently taking major commercial decisions after campaigns on the Facebook website.
HSBC abandoned its decision to scrap interest-free overdrafts for university graduates after bad publicity generated when nearly 5,000 graduates joined the Facebook group Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off!
On a more positive note Cadbury has decided to relaunch its discontinued Wispa chocolate bar after another online campaign.
“When Cadbury’s revived Wispa thanks to the Facebook campaign, that was the first time something like this had happened,” says Neil Hughston, new business director of ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi, speaking at this week’s Technology for Marketing & Advertising event in London. “It was an example of utilising a social network effectively.”
Paul Nadin of www.reviewcentre.com, which claims to be the biggest consumer review website in the UK, says online product reviewers put pressure on companies to meet their demands and specifications. Failure to do so can mean heavy criticism on popular websites.
Nadin added that the influence of websites such as Review Centre and social networking sites like Facebook have shown companies how consumers can affect industry changes. A negative review online can cause major damage to a product or brand, harming its sales and reputation. Such sites can just as likely work in the favour of companies though, with 40% of comments on products being very positive.
All this illustrates the pitfalls of digital channels for companies. Messages can spread across different channels in a way that’s difficult to control. The furore over internet bank Egg cancelling the credit cards of 161,000 customers has seen internet messageboards ablaze with irate customers who feel their cards have been withdrawn as they are unprofitable rather than a credit risk.
Video ‘more effective’ than internet banner ads
Online video adverts can be up to four times as effective as a straight banner ad.
That is the claim from YouTube owner Google, which is busily engaged in trying to translate the video sharing website’s huge popularity into a majorly profitable business.
Rob Kiley, an ad relationship manager at Google AdWords, says YouTube users spend a lot of time interacting with the website posting comments and uploading videos.
“You can place targeted video ads on particular YouTube categories such as cars or music,” says Kiley. “It’s a networking site and in the same way as social networks, people can discuss your add on the message boards. There is a viral aspect to it and people will engage with your brand in a much more interactive way than with TV or print advertising.”
The Pot Noodles brand has put video adverts on YouTube, where users can click on the ad and go to their website or sign up for a newsletter.
Google AdWords advertisers select key words to make their video ad appear on relevant websites. They can sign up for placement performance reports that show which websites their ad is on, how many times it showed on that site, and how many click-throughs there were.
Continental Airlines launches digital loyalty platform in UK
Continental Airlines is launching a customer communications software platform to improve its marketing campaigns, win customer loyalty and generate new revenue.
Continental, the world’s fifth biggest airline, will use the Neolane software platform to create one-to-one personalised marketing communications to help it engage with customers, encourage loyalty, web site visits and ticket sales.
The airline will initially use the software to construct detailed profiles of its customers and prospect customers to better understand them, their expectations and requirements.
The software will then enable Continental to create and automate personalised campaigns; serving each individual customer with offers and news relevant to them and also tracking individual campaign results and return on investment.
The campaigns will commence in Spring 2008 and target frequent business and leisure flyers to the United States as well as the travel trade. Continental’s routes from London Heathrow to New York/Newark and Houston commence on 30th March 2008 and will be strongly promoted.
Bremy system offers tools for automated marketing
New Zeland-based electronic media integration company Bremy has launched a new set of automated marketing tools.
The ‘Bremy System’ aims to saves companies a time and money by automating many routine and repetitive marketing activities.
It is targeted at enabling organisations to keep all their marketing collateral, campaign material, images, projects and production work-in-progress in one place, to make it easier to find, use and share information internally and with selected third parties.
It also combines a set of workflow and production tools which enable centralised or localised production of marketing material, point-of-sales material, catalogues, email newsletters, e-commerce web content and professional flash videos.
The system can be accessed from anywhere in the world using a standard web browser and internet access. This aims to let organisations efficiently manage their projects and production against tight deadlines and on tight budgets.
Specific customer group targeting from Hopewiser
Hopewiser, an address software company, has launched a new system that enables companies to highlight messages to particular groups of potential customers.
The Documailer software aims to reduce the scattergun marketing approach, giving greater sharpness and targeting to companies’ marketing communcations.
The software is an online template editor and document production system.designed to let companies streamline their mailings while maintaining key branding and corporate messages.