Promo Close-Up - Opening Day Victory
A Distributor Helps Promote An Incentive Program
For the past six years, Amber George, managing director of Top 40 distributor Boundless Network (asi/143717), has coordinated promotions for all 22 Loews Hotels across North America. Recently, the hospitality chain was looking for a way to bolster its points-based incentive program, specifically targeting meeting and event planners.
"We worked with the hospitality chain to create a double points promotion," says George. "If meeting planners booked group business at any of the Loews' properties by a certain date, they would earn double points to be redeemed for premium items through our platform."
Loews and Boundless Network decided to tie the double points offer to the opening day of the Major League Baseball season. "All participants in the points-based incentive program received a baseball-themed e-mail announcing the double point earning opportunity, as well as an ‘Opening Day' ticket to check out the program," says George. "We then sent a baseball-themed gift to the top two tiers of their customers."
The top tier, or most loyal planners, received an Opening Day invitational tube with a full-color custom insert, filled with baseball-themed goodies from Mid-Nite Snax (asi/71685), including Big League Chew bubble gum, large Ballpark Peanuts and Cracker Jack. Planners from the second tier received a smaller cylindrical tin with the same types of treats. "The overall promotion was a huge hit," says George. "Over 30 meeting planners participated in the program, which resulted in a very nice ROI and a long-term relationship opportunity."
Martha Guidry, principal of The Rite Concept and author of Marketing Concepts that Win!, believes that the promotion was successful because Boundless Network came up with an idea that related well to customers.
"Successful promotions require a unique and ownable concept in order to break through and resonate with the target audience," she says. "Once they identified the concept theme, all elements delivered consistently along with baseball-themed goodies. Also, knowing that most planners are probably overloaded with e-mail correspondence, they helped bring their promotion to life with something tangible to differentiate from the typical communication."
Being different, though, doesn't just come with luck or experience. It's the result of careful study, considerable planning and asking lots of questions, according to George. "It is so important to know what your client is trying to do and to think about people, process and how products can change behavior," she says.
Guidry agrees, adding that an understanding of market trends is another key component of a powerful pitch. "Without smart market research about their target, Boundless Network would not have been able to so craftily hit all the buyer hot spots," she says. "Businesspeople need to remember that marketing must get to the right decision-maker with an effective, compelling pitch or story in order to help that individual to make a next step."