From commercials to infomercials, advertising and marketing in this day and age has become a completely different game than in the past. Lately, between the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day, many Americans have been overwhelmed with advertisements and promotions that are attempting to make their company stand out from the competition. Whether it was simply trying to convince you to buy their soft drink or attempting to convince you to buy your girlfriend’s engagement ring from their jewelry store, sometimes it seems a little too forced.
In response to this tension, marketers are always looking for innovative new ways to involve consumers in the production, promotion and selection of the product itself. This method has been used effectively before and proved quite fruitful for certain companies. In 2007, Mountain Dew began their “DewMocracy” promotion where customers get the chance to vote on new flavors, graphics, colors and names. To this day, Mountain Dew continues to create opportunity for customer interaction in their promotions and advertisements.
Interactive promotional campaigns are ideally designed to benefit both the customer and the company. Lays potato chips are the most recent corporation to take this creative strategy and run with it. Lays has put together a multi-step process for establishing their newest flavor of chip. Originally, Lays invited consumers to submit their flavor ideas and let the public vote on these flavors on Facebook. At this point, the public has voted and Lays has narrowed the competition down to the top 3 public favorites. These flavors have actually been produced and are available for purchase for a limited time. While these flavors are available the voting will continue on Facebook and eventually one will be voted in and named the newest member of the Lays family.
Taking a step back and evaluating this marketing strategy utilized by Lays, Mountain Dew and many other large corporations, it is clear that it is effective not only as a result of the customer interaction, but in a handful of other ways. Obviously if voting and discussion is taking place on social media, this is driving a ton of Internet traffic to each of the respective websites. Also, the customer involvement builds a relationship with the consumers and gives them the feeling that they are a part of the company and making important decisions. Finally, specifically for Lays and other promotions that offer the product for a limited time, this strategy causes a boom in sales with everyone trying the new product.
Now that this promotion idea of customer involvement has been tried and proven many large companies are adopting these campaigns. Doritos, along with a few other companies, ran campaigns before the Super Bowl to have the consumers make and vote for which commercial would be shown during the big game. So despite the fact that we are still being consistently and constantly advertised to (and that’s not likely to change any time soon!) the benefits of running these promotions are clearly beyond the obvious boost in sales, this is relationship building at its finest!