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Simon Cowell was back last week with the much-hyped premiere of The X-Factor and while ratings might not have been as high as he wanted, there’s no denying that the creative minds behind the latest singing-competition show are breathing new life into what increasingly feels like an old genre. The X-Factor could reshape the ways consumers engage with a brand on multiple levels. The X-Factor goes beyond “the American Idol effect” in that it is not just about the singing voices of a few; the show is giving fans voice, too, especially online. Marketers can learn a lot by “tuning in.” Head over to the show’s website, and you’ll see that fans of The X-Factor are getting almost as much screen time as the show’s celebrity judges and budding stars. The X-Factor Community presented by Pepsi is essentially a loyalty rewards program that encourages fans of the show to join in and earn points for tasks as simple as daily logins and connecting to the show on Facebook and Twitter. Although the points have no actual value, some 3.5 million fans have connected to the show via Facebook and the “newsfeed” of fan activity on the show’s website indicates a little healthy competition can go a long way. Beyond existing social networks, fans can use The X-Factor Community itself to connect with other fans and actual friends. It’s a show-specific social network, and consumers are using it. PepsiCo hopes their also picking up cans of its namesake soda. The brand has partnered with FOX to promote the show and is running a campaign that uses image recognition and SMS. Just when my Vertical Marketing Network colleagues and I were debating the potential of QR codes, a PepsiCo executive tells Mobile Marketer the decision was based on research that shows more people have SMS and camera phones than QR code reader apps. Either way, the reward for the Pepsi campaign will likely fuel competition and participation: Pepsi is giving away grand prize trips for two to L.A. to watch a taping of The X-Factor each day though Oct. 29. That’s a lot of soda…
Maybe I’m just blogging out loud, but it seems like marketers have a ‘x-factor’, too. In our increasingly technology driven world, winning campaigns seek to engage consumers on all levels.
Successful marketing campaigns create buzz and excitement; sometimes, they’ll even drum up a little healthy competition. Below, 5 marketing takeaways from The X-Factor:
1. Consumers like rewards, even virtual ones. Witness the aforementioned “fan-feed” as proof.
2. Social media is a tool marketers can use to fuel healthy competition and –repeatedly — bring attention full-circle, back to the brand.
3. Successful partnership marketing is mutually beneficial.
4. Brands can — and should — engage consumers online in new and interesting ways.
5. The cell phone isn’t just the ultimate accessory; for marketers, it’s a gateway — to consumers, to technology and to the allusive, yet essential, Factor X.
With increasing ways to activate your brand’s potential, marketers are wise to give voice to their own X-Factor.