Monthly Archives: April 2009

How Sephora’s Earth Day Marketing on Facebook Can Work for You

This year Sephora ran an awesome promotion that I’d like to share with you.  The campaign turns virtual tote bags into a word of mouth marketing promotion that generates revenue while boosting their brand image at the same time.

sephora_facebookWith the help of Facebook’s Gift Shop, Sephora launched a Facebook campaign that promotes a tote bag giveaway in honor of Earth Day.  Users can send the virtual tote bag to their friends that will give them a code to redeem the real thing through Sephora.com.  The virtual tote bag campaign achieves two great things.  First, this type of promotion is viral. The promotion can spread like wildfire through word of mouth on Facebook and aligned social media outlets.  Second, it makes money.  By offering a limited edition tote bag that is redeemable with a promotional code from the virtual gift, the campaign’s effectiveness is directly measured to every marketer’s delight!

Another benefit with the promotion include the positive brand equity that assoiciates Sephora with a good cause, Earth Day.  Sephora reaches a growing segment of people who seek organic, natural goods.  This segment is keenly aware of Earth Day and supportive of companies that share the values of the Earth Day movement.  With these product lines highlighted, Sephora can reach a new market that I suspect doesn’t generally associate Sephora with natural products.

If Sephora really wanted to push the envelope, I would suggest they provide an additional incentive for becoming a fan of Sephora’s Facebook page so the campaign has a lasting effect of driving traffic to Sephora.com. One good strategy to recruit more fans would be to ask users to post a photo, which requires you to become a fan, in order to get an additional percentage off their purchase or some other additional incentive.  This would allow them to continually promote future campaigns more easily and allow their evangelists to continually evangelize the Sephora brand.

With over 100,000 fans so far, Sephora’s Facebook marketing strategy has been very fruitful.  Retailers could learn a thing or two by monitoring their strategy and emulating the things that work.

Political and Religious Marketing

Is there a time or place for companies to employ marketing tactics that resonate with the views of potential politically and religious minded customers?

Well, it depends.  Do the tactics expressedly support one political or religious viewpoint over another?  If not, I believe there are many opportunities to reach various religious and political bases.  While many mainstream companies shy away from these potentially ‘taboo’ tactics, smart marketers can find pathways that embrace the passion of these potential customers with positive results. Find out how you can service a particular need or viewpoint of these influencers and you are sure to create a winning campaign.

Much like April Fools marketing provides fodder for PR exposure, political and religious marketing can generate a buzz and spread like fire through these tight networks that now have a reason (or should I say a belief) to support your company.  For startup companies, this type of PR can be the exposure you need to get noticed and stay afloat in tough economic times.

Tread carefully by not being offensive or entering into any partnerships with these organizations and your product or service can profit from niche markets and still be positioned to follow the path that reaches a more mainstream customer base in the future.

April Fools Day Marketing

When scheduling marketing plans, April 1st poses unique public relations opportunities and challenges.  Traditional marketers understandably hesitate to set aside much of their budget for marketing on April Fool’s Day.   In 2009, the hesitation to execute tactics on April Fool’s Day posed additional complications with the Conficker worm, which was primed to wreak havoc on the web.  Fortunately the Conficker worm scare came and went like Y2k and there were no major issues.

For Some April Fool’s Day Marketing is Foolish
B-to-B marketing isn’t very well suited for April Fool’s stunts because many companies would rather you spend time and money helping improve their business than joking around.  Also, people can be guarded on April Fool’s Day and therefore avoid being taken through the funnel your campaign is set to shape and this is a potential reality marketers would like to avoid.

For Others April Fool’s Day Marketing is Fantastic
Taco Liberty BellFor the brave, PR stunts on April Fool’s Day are a great opportunity to garner attention.  This year, Gmail offered an email autopilot that responds to emails for you, YouTube turned videos upside down, Reddit copied Digg’s homepage, and Twitter’s plan to make money was unveiled.

One of my favorite April Fool’s jokes occurred in 1996, when Taco Bell supposedly purchased Liberty Bell and was going to rename it “Taco Liberty Bell.”  This one was particularly believable because it sounded so plausible with so many other brands at the time putting their names on any and everything.

April Fool’s Day in Your Marketing Calendar
Plan for April Fool’s Day if it fits with your business. Send out a news release of something that is plausible, intriguing, and surprising enough to elicit an emotional response that makes people want to know more.  The best part about releasing fictional news is that you can be as creative as you want.  Beyond conducting the necessary legal due diligence, let your imagination run wild and get your brand noticed on April 1st.

Have you had success with April Fool’s Day marketing?  If so, share your story with a comment or contact me directly.