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Links we Love: August 22 - 28

Published on by Romeo Maione.

I know a lot of you are on vacation, so what better time to do some research into travel marketing? Kick back and grab a second cocktail while you read!  

Still counts as one drink

Still counts as one drink

tnooz wrote about the intersection of gamification and travel marketing, a subject near and dear to our hearts. From the article: “In fact, a recent study by Gigya showed that gamification improves engagement by one-third, with online commenting improving by 13%, social media sharing improving by 22%, and content discovery improving by a whopping 68%.” We could’a told you that! 

This article argues that gamification can save travel loyalty programs, which have been lagging in recent years. We’re inclined to agree, but only if it’s executed properly. “Lame” gamification can turn consumers off! 

Forbes posted an article discussing how business travel could use a lift from gamification. It (accurately!) notes that as millennials fill the workforce, turning mundane tasks into games is more enticing than ever. It also spells out what we’ve been saying for a decade, that gamification provides companies with incredible data on its employees and consumers! 

Finally the Financial Post had a great article on how tourists and traveling businesspeople use travel reviews to decide where to vacation. But if you’re a regular blog reader, you’re on top of that already

Labor Day’s this weekend, so enjoy wearing white while you still can. 

Shine on, you crazy diamond

Shine on, you crazy diamond


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Travel Marketing: Using Reviews as a Tool

Published on by Romeo Maione.

Let’s do a quick experiment. Read the following two descriptions of The Hudson Hotel in New York City: 

A)Hudson is filled with exuberance and energy, social interaction and passion for life. It all begins in the lobby, the heart and soul of the hotel, where intriguing lives intersect, genuine conversations spark, and adventure and experimentation begin. Spirited and casual, Hudson is the perfect urban playground, where youthful curiosity hangs with eclectic enchantment, and around every corner lies another opportunity to explore. Hudson is New York City. - The Hudson Website

B) Last time I was in New York City, I stayed at the Hudson on West 58th Street. I got a great rate for a clean and funky room with stellar service. Their bar is trendy and it’s in the perfect location for both Central Park and the Theatre District. I would definitely go back.  - My TripAdvisor Review

Which one has more impact on your likelihood to book? 

If you’re like 81% of Americans, that 54-word TripAdvisor review I wrote on the bus out of New York has a far more significant impact on your booking than all the website copy in the world. 

I totally understand that instinct.  

It hurts to hear, but marketing copy is less effective than it once was. The modern consumer has a finely tuned “BS” meter and doesn’t trust advertisements. However, customer reviews are a totally different story. I really did go to The Hudson and I really did have a good experience. My only goal in writing that review was to let other people know that it’s a good hotel. Since anyone can write a review, and anyone can read them, no one has to parse through potentially misleading, financially driven copy to figure out if a place is good or not. 

He ain't Don Draper

He ain't Don Draper

So how do marketers adapt to the changing landscape of consumer influences? 

Encourage people to write reviews and then respond to them! 

If you host reviews on your website, you can run a promotion that rewards users for writing reviews. If you rely on third party sites like TripAdvisor or hotels.com you can either partner with them for a promotion or simply encourage people at checkout or boarding to write a review. Put “Write a Review” on receipts and boarding passes. Make it as easy as possible for people to share their opinions about your business. 

Of course, there will be some bad reviews. That’s unavoidable and not necessarily a bad thing. Bad reviews lend credibility and are exactly why user reviews are more trustworthy than carefully tailored corporate marketing. As long as you respond directly and quickly to the negative reviews, they could still have a net positive affect on your business. 

TripAdvisor has a great function where management can respond visibly to bad reviews and try to ameliorate the situation. This gives businesses the ability to flex their customer service muscles and turn negative Nancys into repeat customers. 

Consumers are the new copywriters. If you want them to work for you you’ve gotta give ‘em a good experience! When things fall short, make sure you respond to them as quickly as possible. 

Here it comes...the call to action!

If you want to chat about how you can use reviews as a marketing tool, give our travel specialist Phil Mechura a call at 613.706.0194



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Links we Love: August 15 - 21

Published on by Romeo Maione.

In early July I usually start telling my friends & family that summer's almost over.  Drives 'em nuts! Thought maybe I'd try the tactic professionally by linking to this article about Back to School sales forecasts.  Hard to deny that summer's winding down when we're amping up the BTS narrative.  (You want to smack me don't cha?)

This article highlights Back-to-School email campaigns that a few major department stores recently sent.  I included this because it was interesting to see what they were up to and because it allows me to mention how good we are at helping retailers drive new email opt ins!  (I know…shameful!)

Today? For you? 15% right off the top

Today? For you? 15% right off the top

To cool you down even further, we’re planning holiday promotions this week so we got down to some festive research. Here are some interesting tidbits we found! 

This UK infographic shows that men are far more likely to do last minute holiday shopping than women. Shocker, I know. 

This fascinating infographic by Econsultancy shows that 29% of US shoppers start holiday shopping before October. I’m going to go ahead and wager that’s mostly women.

Even this paid actor isn't having a great time

Even this paid actor isn't having a great time

It also shows that 63% of shoppers plan to do most of their holiday shopping online.

Twitter put out a pretty good infographic describing how Twitter users do their holiday shopping. 

Loads of media outlets posted articles that claim this holiday season will be the biggest ever for online shopping. 

Finally, here’s a clock that counts down until Christmas. Excited yet? 

Happy Holidays! 

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Holiday Marketing at the Last Minute

Published on by Romeo Maione.

I feel weird even writing this, but August 22nd is nearly too late for Christmas. In a marketing sense I mean. 

It’s tough to imagine, but while you’re still applying sunscreen before you go out, brands have pretty much completed their Christmas marketing plans. 

No rest for the wicked

No rest for the wicked

Here at Launchfire we do tons of Christmas promotions every year. After a decade and a half of experience, there are some holiday lessons we’ve learned. Here are some last-minute tricks for planning a Christmas promotion. 

Be digital, mobile, and simple

Christmas shoppers increasingly turn to the interwebz for their shopping instead of brick and mortar establishments. Whether it’s to avoid the crowds or because they don’t like hearing Jingle Bells playing in November is unclear. What this means for marketers is that focusing all your promotional spending on driving store traffic is increasingly passé. Running any sort of major marketing program without a digital component knocks off a huge chunk of your market. In addition to the steady trend towards e-shopping, consumers are also increasingly spending from their mobile devices, so you’ve got to make sure your content is mobile accessible. 

The only roadblock to shopping online is when sites are difficult to use or not optimized for mobile. If you make sure your marketing content is digital, mobile and simple then there’s no stopping you from getting the most out of the holidays. 

Be unique

People are hit with so many advertisements each day that it would make 70s sci-fi writers blush. At Christmas this is magnified even further. You’re not going to get people’s attention with the same old copy and tactics. So how do you stand out? In our experience, gamification is the key. 

While it’s a heck of a popular buzzword, most marketing folks are still behind the curve. That means gamification is a great way to cut through the clutter and keep ahead of the pack. Making your promotion a fun and addictive game grabs consumer’s attention and drives a lot more engagement than a passive TV spot or web banner. I’ve pattered on and on about gamification, so I won’t bore our regular readers (love you guys!), instead I’ll just direct you to our webinar

Be early

Remember at the top of this post when I said it’s almost too late? I wasn’t kidding! An increasing number of American shoppers are DONE their Christmas shopping by mid-November. Yikes! Makes me feel extra bad for buying my mom’s gift on the way to Christmas Eve Dinner. 

Turns out there aren't any sales on kitchenware on Christmas Eve

Turns out there aren't any sales on kitchenware on Christmas Eve

This also means that the most successful Christmas promotions start as early as November 1st. 

Looking for last minute Christmas help? Give our Christmas strategist AJ Pratt a call at 613-728-8915. He loves Christmas more than Tiny Tim. 

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Links we Love: August 8 - 14

Published on by Romeo Maione.

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Why Beacons Could Change Shopper Marketing

Published on by Romeo Maione.

Well it sure seems like everybody is talking about beacons. Will they save the app? Will they change digital marketing? Should every marketer worth their salt get their hands on them?

The answer to those questions is a loud and resounding “probably”.

Before we get ahead of ourselves though, what the heck *are* beacons? 

This is the popular "bat" variant

This is the popular "bat" variant

In layman’s terms (my favorite terms), beacons are small devices that trigger actions in mobile devices. Think of them like lighthouses for smartphones and tablets. 

Sound useful? We think so too. Just think of the possibilities! 

You’re able to send shoppers personalized deals right to their phone at the moment when they walk through certain parts of your shop. Incredibly, an app doesn’t even need to be open as beacons can “wake up” apps and send push notifications. Beacon technology could transform retailer apps from glorified store locators into valuable shopping tools!

Beacons can send promotions, deals, instant coupons, information about products; there are almost limitless possibilities with what you can convey! 

If you’re a restaurateur you can send daily specials to people walking by. Or offer discounted appetizers to people in your dining room. 

If you’re a retailer you can send personalized coupons to shoppers when they’re in a target area of your department store. 

If you’re a grocery marketer you can send recipes that give shoppers ideas and drive sales of multiple product lines.

Even airports are getting in on the fun!

Basically what I’m saying is that beacons are a big deal. They aren’t perfect for every business but you should probably invest a buck or two if you’re a major department store or QSR chain! 

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Links we Love: July 25 - August 7

Published on by Romeo Maione.

I dove into the wonderful world of beacon technology this week. Mostly because I ran out of sci-fi to read on my lunches. 

Check out these awesome links on beacons and how they can be used to improve your marketing. 

First off is a post that gives you the basics on what they are and what they do. Consider that Beacons 101. 

QSR Insights posted a really useful article on how beacons can be used in the restaurant industry to drum up new business and attract loyalty at the same time.

From a retail perspective, CNBC looked into the future to show what shopping would be like if retailers all adopted beacon technology. Pretty cool stuff! 

Not sold on beacons yet? Tech Crunch released a study that shows the use of beacons in retail stores caused a 19X increase in interaction with advertised products. Whoa. 

There are too many cool things you can do with beacons to ignore them. Embrace the future! 

Does my Roomba count as a robot maid? 

Does my Roomba count as a robot maid? 

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Launchfire Interactive Inc.

22 Hamilton Ave N Ottawa, ON K1Y 1B6
EMAIL: sales@launchfire.com       FAX: 1.613.728.1527
INTERNATIONAL: +1.613.728.5865   1.800.896.4115

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