Buy a new pair of Nikes by running in your current ones

There is a lot of pressure on CMOs at the moment. A recent article in the Harvard Business Review entitled ‘Marketing is dead’ made the bold statement that “many people in traditional marketing roles and organisations may not realise they’re operating within a dead paradigm. But they are.” The article went on to cite research that said that 73% of surveyed CEOs think that CMOs “lack business credibility and the ability to generate sufficient business growth” and “77% [of those] have had it with all the talk about brand equity”.

This highlights the importance of focusing on measuring the return from marketing activities with a clearly defined investment framework and set of financial objectives. But among such objectives there is still room for brand-based initiatives.

A great example of an ingenious social media marketing campaign is the recent Facebook campaign by JWT for Nike Mexico. The concept – which is an extension of their #makeitcount campaign – enables you to buy a new pair of Nike running shoes via an online auction (think eBay) held in Facebook every 15 days. (If you can speak or read Spanish check out the Facebook page: http://bit.ly/ROG7e3). The twist is that you pay in kilometres – kilometres you have run and registered through the Nike+ system! For those of you who don’t know, Nike+ is essentially a sensor that fits in your shoe and logs the distance you run on a website. Nike have taken this concept even further with the release of their Fuelband and are currently trying to own ‘energy’.

The kilometres you run have now become currency which finances your bids against other participants. If you are outbid within the 15-day period you can run more kilometres and bid again. From a brand perspective Nike is both rewarding people for using their product and creating a connection to the brand, focused on selling ‘performance’ and not ‘shoes’.

So what else is going on here? Where is the financial conversion? The obvious answer is that by developing  a closer relationship with the brand you create brand loyalty and repeat sales. Then there is the word-of-mouth factor. The campaign is run through a Facebook app. So every time someone registers and interacts with the app they are also exposing their Facebook friends to the campaign through posts on their wall. This means that they become brand recruiters and advocates.

Finally there is also the big ‘long-tail’ benefit. A Facebook app has the added benefit of being able to collect user data. Nike may know quite a bit about the people who use Nike+ but getting them to interact with a Facebook app gives them a much clearer picture of the behaviour of Nike+ users.

This model will be seen repeated far more frequently in the coming months as brands begin to devise new ways of engaging their audience.

The question you need to ask is: how are you turning audience engagement into sales and positive financial results?

 

Mark Cameron
BY Mark Cameron ON 1 November 2012
Mark Cameron is CEO of customer experience innovation agency Working Three and a world renowned digital strategy commentator with well over 400 published articles.

Specialties: Digital innovation, Digital customer experience strategy, Social media strategy, Digital strategy, Online Marketing strategy.
He blogs at markrcameron.com and tweets from @MarkRCameron.