Blog: Marketing In A Social World, Part One

Feb. 27, 2014

Recently I sat in on a marketing Webinar called Crafting Contagious Content and it was a very powerful session.

Jonah Berger, associate professor of marketing at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania discussed several ways to create a “contagious” effect of your marketing efforts on your target audience.

Believe it or not, Berger didn’t suggest advertising on billboards or handing out flyers. He quoted a 2010 report, the McKinsey Quarterly, that stated, “Word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising in categories as diverse as skincare and mobile phones.” What really makes up a consumer’s mind is a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone or something they trust. This means that it’s one thing to get a location manager to choose your vending service or a customer to make a purchase from your vending machine, but it’s even better if that person recommends your machine/your business service to someone else. Here are three ways to get people talking:

1. Make your customers feel like insiders.

One important thing Berger discussed is that consumers like to be part of a secret. They like to feel like insiders and who wouldn’t? People like to be the first one to show other people something new. Specifically for vending and micro markets, you could do many things to make people feel like “insiders”. You have to make something that is ordinary become remarkable – work with your staff to see what would work best for your business. If your machines have digital signage, find a way to feature a video on the machine that leads to a redeemable coupon of sorts. Once a customer sees this video, they’ll tell their friends.

2. Find a trigger for your customers.

Exactly as the title implies, find something that will trigger consumers into a purchase. In his argument, Berger noted that years ago, Kit Kat had a campaign that paired the snack with coffee. Coffee is an everyday part of consumers’ lives – like peanut butter goes with jelly, Kit Kat was paired with coffee. Consumers couldn’t drink coffee without thinking about getting a Kit Kat. Try something similar with a product or with your company in general. For example, Thursdays come each week so take an already known thing and make it extraordinary. Turn Thursdays into “Thirsty Thursday” (yes, normally an out-of-office practice) and highlight the drinks in your machines. This could potentially increase beverage sales on Thursdays.

3. Project a great story about your company or a product.

Lastly, stories allow people to relate with others. Instead of advertising that you’re the best company or that this is the best selling product, hide those facts within a story. That way, they become implied. If you can show a location that you have the best customer service that will go a lot further than simply telling them that you have the best customer service. This is something you’ll have to do via marketing through social media or your Website. We’ll discuss this particular topic in part two of this blog – how video can boost business.