Tag Archives | Foot Traffic

Ambassador Program Turns Customers Into Salespeople

Few companies realize the value of their most passionate customers. They occasionally acknowledge them with frequent buyer programs or other discounts, but it’s rare for a company to really empower their customers to share their passion for the company and its products or services with others.

Most companies rely on salespeople to position the benefits of their products or services to potential customers. Good salespeople do this in a way that excites customers about the possibilities and potential of using what they’re selling, but their ‘passion’ for the product is motivated by the paycheck they get for selling it, not by the product itself.

However, if you give your passionate customers the tools they need to share their passion for your product or service with others, and reward them for doing so, you can create an army of great ‘salespeople’ who will do more for your company than any high paid salesperson ever could.

That’s the beauty of a well executed ambassador program. With a small investment in materials, it becomes a formalized, simplified, and easy to maintain word of mouth marketing campaign that the company itself can participate in.

Bose Curtosey Card

The Bose Courtesy Card set the standard for a well executed ambassador program. Customers who were using (and loving) their Quiet Comfort headphones while flying would get asked about them by other passengers, and instead of disrupting the quiet zone that the headphones created, the customer could simply hand the person a Courtesy Card and let them check out Bose on their own time.

It was simple and easy for the customer to do (not to mention unique and ‘cool’) and it also gave Bose control over the message that potential customers received.

Fishing

If you think of sales as fishing for customers, then Bose provided the bait, and just asked that current customers set the hook. After the initial interaction, potential customers would come to Bose, and all Bose had to do was reel them in.

iPod Silhouette

The hype that Apple generated with their white headphones is well known, and an Ambassador Program is like a whole army of white headphone wearers, but ones who have been given the tools necessary to help convert that initial interest and opportunity into additional sales.

Surprisingly, I haven’t seen many companies follow in the footsteps of Bose, which is why I was intrigued by Foursquare’s announcement of their Ambassador Program.

Foursquare Ambassador Card

Foursquare users love the deals they get from participating venues, but venues can’t provide deals if they don’t know about the service, so Foursquare created the Ambassador Program to help users spread the word. As long as you’re a “creative and excited evangelist”, Foursquare will send you a pack of Foursquare Ambassador Cards that are custom-printed with your name on them for you to hand out to the businesses that you frequent. Assuming that the businesses use the cards to sign up, Foursquare says that “the businesses get details about their foot traffic and loyal customers, and you and your fellow foursquare users will see more Specials at your favorite places.”

With the Ambassador Cards, Foursquare rewards users by crediting them with the creation of the location, and users get additional rewards when their favorite locations sign up and start offering deals and discounts. It’s a win-win, and Foursquare is simply enabling and encouraging their most passionate users do the selling for them.

One of the main reasons businesses get involved in social media is that they want to support the word of mouth marketing that customers are doing online. With a well planned ambassador program, you can get those same benefits offline as well with a small investment in materials and a way to thank those customers who are out there doing your work for you.

Foursquare Ambassador Program

Amnesty International Uses Eyeball-Aware Ad To Enhance Message

Amnesty International Eyeball Aware Ad

Amnesty International’s bus stop ad is a great example of how interactivity and eyeball-aware ads can be used to engage viewers and add another level of meaning to the overall message. The ad is for a campaign that aims to bring awareness to the problem of domestic violence, and uses a small camera to detect faces. When no one is looking, the screen shows a man abusing his wife. When the camera detects a face, the ad waits a few seconds for the message to sink in, and then the couple stops fighting and does their best to look normal. It’s a subtle message, but definitely drives home their tagline, “It Happens When Nobody Is Watching.”

It’s easy to see why an ad like this would be effective. Usually, when a viewer looks at an ad, they may only see the message for a few moments before looking away. However, with an interactive ad that responds to the viewer’s gaze, they’re more likely to look longer to see what will happen. Thus, views last longer, and the message has more time to sink in. (It’s important to note that video ads for the sake of movement is not what we’re talking about here. The movement needs to be a part of the message to really be effective at enhancing the overall ad.)

Taking the concept a step further, imagine an ad that ‘talks’ to the viewer. Since the technology gives ads self-awareness, a donut shop could create an ad that says good morning to anyone that walks by, or a clothing store could create an ad that compliments (or mocks!) outfits in the crowd. The technology would also allow advertisers to incorporate a video that starts only when someone is looking, rather than playing over and over again on a constant loop.

In addition to enhancing the message, an outdoor ad that’s aware of when people are looking at it ushers in a whole new level of measurement, as view numbers no longer need to be rough estimations of foot traffic and awareness. Instead, each ad can be bought and sold based on accurate view numbers and actual engagement, giving advertisers proof that they’re getting what they’re paying for, and allowing media companies to price their high profile ad placements with the premium they deserve.

Like any new ad format, eyeball-aware ads are in their creative infancy, and I would expect to see many more uses emerge as advertisers start to understand and explore the technology, but as an effective and engaging means of enhancing a message, this is definitely one format to keep an eye on.

The Good:

  • Uses eyeball-awareness to enhance the message and engage the viewer.
  • Allows for advanced measurement techniques that take into account actual engagement.

The Bad:

  • Expensive technology makes ads difficult to scale.

The Future:

  • Ads that are viewer-aware allow advertisers to create more interactive messages and engage the viewer in new and unique ways, while better matching cost to value.

Makita Drills Their Point Across

Makita Drill Billboard

Rarely is a billboard the best place to do a product demo, but for Makita, a blank wall proved to be the perfect way to show off what their drills can do.

Since you can call your products consistent, reliable, long lasting and accurate till you’re blue in the face and still not convince people, a demonstration of those characteristics is often the best way to make your point, which is why Makita created a self-portrait of one of their drills using 20,081 holes, all drilled with a Makita drill. The tagline was simply ‘Makita Precision’, and the work is meant to speak for itself. Taking a closer look, you’ll notice that all of the tones were created by merely spacing each hole appropriately, and that if just a few were off, the whole board would have been ruined.

Makita Drill Billboard Detail

According to Makita, the drills themselves are ergonomically designed to fit perfectly into any hand, rotate at an optimal speed to minimize vibration, and have a ‘shock buffer’ system that ensures the perfect pressure of the drill bit on any surface, but all of that can be learned from the tool isle display at the local home improvement store. For a billboard like this, the goal isn’t to try and sell the tool, but rather to give people a reason to go to the tool store in the first place, and secondly, to take a closer look at the Makita drills once they get there.

In addition to the foot traffic that got to experience the Makita billboard firsthand, this campaign managed to do what many campaigns strive for lately: It got the interest and attention of bloggers. Through the use of a well put together one sheet and a few high quality photos, many of the internet’s top blogs wrote about the billboard, giving Makita infinitely more value (and an infinitely wider audience) than they would have received from foot traffic alone.

It would have been nice to see them take the idea a step further and create something like a widget that turns any picture into a drill drawing, or a game where you have to drill out a certain number of holes in a limited amount of time to recreate pieces of art, but in this case, the idea was unique enough and the existing collateral was good enough that plenty of blogs picked up the story and ran with it, even though they were essentially putting out carbon copies of the same images and story.

The Good:

  • A simple but effective idea resonated well with a wide audience.
  • Unique creative got the attention of a variety of blogs and exponentially increased the engagement with the ad.

The Bad:

  • Labor intensive idea can’t be duplicated easily for large deployment across many markets.

The Future:

  • Ads become their own product demo, allowing consumers to get a feel for what the product can do before even knowing exactly what the product is.