Say you’ve got a white paper on music piracy and you’d like to get potential customers to download it.
You can tweet it to your heart’s content. But to overcome some customers’ resistance to sharing data, innovative companies are providing digital rewards such as popular movies or songs that can be downloaded along with the white paper.
“So packaging a free Metallica download with a white paper on the music industry, it will be relevant to the paper and the topic, and at the same time would provide increased bait on the hook,” says Jon Accarrino, vice president of marketing and communications at Red Touch Media, a content management software company.
To communicators, “content” is all that stuff you produce for your website and make available through apps: articles, blogs, videos, webcasts and others. Digital downloads can provide the kind of content that customers are crazy about: Hollywood movies, bestselling e-books, top-40 songs and backstage videos that ardent fans feel privileged to watch.
Brands such as Fandango, Land Rover, Skullcandy and others have used digital rewards—and have reaped data from the downloads.
The use of digital rewards in the form of free song downloads at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas “gave us a trove of information that helped tailor our marketing efforts for the rest of the year,” says Hoby Darling, chief executive of Skullcandy, which partnered with Red Touch Media to provide the rewards.
Campaigns that offer premium content create better audience engagement and reap valuable data, say those who use such campaigns. When customers download a song they love, they connect the brand to the positive emotions they associate with that song. What’s more meaningful to a person: a coupon for a 99-cent discount-or a free download of The Surfaris’ “Wipe Out” that she danced to at her wedding?
Content can be tailored to suit a brand or campaign, says Camille Kennedy, senior director of marketing at Hip Digital Media. Marketers can offer holiday themes, for example, and the NFL has featured top football digital movies.
“Consumers are already spending a large amount of time with this content,” she says. “They value this content, and when you can reward them with things that they are already doing naturally, it’s a perfect fit for the shopper.”
She cites Chicago food maker Jel Sert, whose top brand, Fla-Vor-Ice frozen pops, used digital rewards to build loyalty and extend its market share among moms and kids, its core customers. The company established a rewards platform to deliver music, e-books, and mobile app downloads, says Kennedy, whose firm executed that program.
Making rewards part of a PR campaign
Digital downloads have been used to encourage customers to test-drive a new model of car, Accarrino says. They could test-drive a car and get a free song of their choice that they listened to during the drive.
The PR campaign can then promote not only the car itself, but the free song, telling people, “Come test drive this car and get the song of your choice,” Accarrino says.
“That’s press-worthy,” he adds. “You can do a press release around that.”
Personalized data help brands connect with buyers on a deeper level and target them more effectively. The content that people choose to view or download says a lot about them and their lifestyle.
Sports teams such as the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals use digital promotions to get fans to share data, says Amir Zonozi, chief strategy officer of Zoomph. This can be done around the time of the annual draft-when season ticket holders and other major fans get access to a Google Hangout session with the team’s new pick.
“You want to get a fun way for the fans to give the data,” Zonozi says, “but the data gives the ability to understand how to better market to this audience: ‘How can we take this content and draw revenue from it?'”