Notes on things I read this week to help corporate pros in affinity, affiliate, and partnership marketing excel in a changing field.
Oreo markets at rocket speed -- but are sales moving with the same velocity?
Ever since it’s ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ tweet during the Super Bowl blackout of 2013, Oreo has received high praise for its ability to capitalize on cultural events and create buzz. Call it newsjacking, call it real-time marketing, call it cultural marketing … but can you call it effective? Fast Company wonders:
Since Oreo embraced culture, the brand's annual sales growth is up from the low double digits to more than 20%. But analysts attribute that to its expansion into emerging markets in Asia. It's very hard to prove that new-media campaigns increase sales.
And what did this do for cookie sales? Mondelēz does not yet know. Bonin Bough's tactics may well be revolutionary, and they certainly give Oreo the sheen of a vital brand. But in other ways his efforts really show that there is nothing new under the marketing sun. Real-time marketing is another gun in the corporate arsenal, and like all the others, it's damn hard to tell if it ever hits the mark.
Oreo owns this tactic, for sure. But it seems like they have to commit an awful lot of resources to speed and creativity for something that provides a murky ROI.
The Dark side of content marketing
Content marketing to a partner’s audience or customer base is a key part of many affiliate relationships. But wtihout a clear strategy and understanding of a partner’s audience, content marketing can be not just ineffective, but damaging to your brand. Amongst other scary facts, marketingprofs shares that 74% of site visitors get frustrated when content is irrelevant to them.
Congressman wants to regulate loyalty programs
Seems like loyalty programs, particularly in travel, are getting a lot of grief lately. Terms change on a whim (rarely for the customer's benefit) and now a Florida congressman wants them investigated:
But it just so happens that Grayson is a member of Congress. And as such, he can ask the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General to investigate airline loyalty programs.
That’s exactly what Grayson, a Democrat, did this summer, and now an audit is underway. It will take about a year for the inspector general to determine whether airline loyalty program practices are unfair and deceptive. But when the dust settles, the DOT might be closer to cracking down on one of America’s favorite addictions: collecting points and miles.
Public opinion on the issue is split. While some frustrated passengers side with the congressman, others vehemently disagree that the government ought to get involved in regulating their points and miles. A new survey by market research firm Colloquy reflects this deep division. It found that 54 percent of U.S. loyalty-program members are “unhappy” with their reward options. Also, 48 percent say that they’ve been “frustrated” by the reward redemption process.
Others argue that reward programs, particularly with the airlines, are used to treat the most profitable customers much better than others. Well, of course they do. There's nothing wrong with catering to your most profitable customers. If the government wants to review loyalty programs because they may use shifty tactics to change rewards, then fine. But the argument that loyalty programs create an unfair divide amongst customers is ridiculous.