What Are You Giving Away?

In early May, a grilled chicken campaign created a frenzy, crashing servers, creating traffic jams and miles of lines and ultimately leaving customers filling out “rain checks” when KFC pulled the plug.¬† What a lesson to be learned in the new era of marketing!!

A coupon available exclusively through the talk-show host’s Web site, oprah.com, had been searched for so frequently on the Internet that “Oprah Winfrey KFC coupons” was the fifth most searched item on Google Trends by Wednesday afternoon, hours after being posted. “KFC locations” and “Unthink KFC,” the name of the grilled chicken promotion, rounded off the site’s top 10 most searched terms.

Pasted from <http://blogs.abcnews.com/moneybeat/2009/05/oprah-offers-kf.html>

KFC wasn’t the first company to offer customers something¬† “free.”¬† Back in February, Denny’s did it with a Super Bowl announcement for¬† their Grand Slam Breakfast as a boost to the economy.

Despite the fact that it was free, Denny’s promotional strategy was certainly self-serving. In an abysmal market, where the company noted a dramatic drop in sales in its January quarterly report, free meals might be the smartest business move for a restaurant chain.¬† On Feb. 3, people were telling everyone about it all morning long. It was like every communication device ‚Äì text messages, cell phones, MySpace, Facebook, Twitter ‚Äì was made for this purpose, to let us all in on Grand Slam Day.

Pasted from <http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=86f9147077cd85052aca83dcb0612a16&from=rss>

And two million people whole-heartedly appreciated that tactic.

The “freebies” continue: MochaMondays, free doughnuts, root-beer floats‚Ķ.even Trek bicycles just gave me a free water bottle for signing up on their “wow” website heavily promoted this year during the Tour de France.

As an e-commerce design and development strategist, I’ve been taught several things.

  • This first is to study what the brand leaders are doing.¬† They have the means and resources to conduct surveys, studies and develop well-thought-out campaigns, not to mention websites.¬† It is apparent that traditional mass splatter advertising is not working, nor cost-effective, in a down economy so advertising and it’s cousin marketing are evolving their strategies.¬† Particularly right now, freebies are drawing attention.
  • There is nothing wrong with evaluating what the leaders are doing and incorporating them into your own business model.¬† Even start-ups can effectively get their “foot in the door” on the web and in their customers buying behaviors by setting up some of the same tactics used by the multi-million dollar companies.
  • Traffic is Key! ¬†The¬†Trek bicycles site collects key info and keeps people coming back every day to play a ‘scratch and win’ game! ¬†Imagine getting more traffic coming back and interacting with your site daily.

You may not have the budget to start giving away free things to everyone, but what about offering free shipping upon purchase, a free sample, or a free gift with a return purchase on your site.  Many people will make decisions upon this incentive, and even better, tell others about it.  What better use of advertising dollars?  Even adding functionality to your site, like a ShareThis Link, a configurator or an interactive bundling application can attract customers and keep them coming back.

When was the last time you evaluated your marketing campaign?¬† Do you know what your competition is doing, what functionality their websites have in place or how they rank in traffic? Do you have a customer retention program and are you touching recent sales with “come back” offers or incentives?¬† What are you giving away?

FastPivot Strategic Services assists clients with email marketing campaigns, market analysis and a myriad of strategies and solutions to help your business succeed.   The Fastpivot Development Department builds applications and features -  from adding free samples in your Yahoo! Store cart, to creating a bundling application that allows you to choose from product images to create your very own package of chocolates, CDs or model cars. Learn more today by contacting us at Fastpivot.

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