It’s no secret that consumers are interacting with brands across many different touchpoints and channels today, and batch & blast communications have become a thing of the past. Throughout the past few years, many brands have begun sending personalized content to their customers, but in today’s climate, sometimes even that isn’t enough to keep customers coming back. It is becoming increasingly necessary for brands to create dynamically rendered campaigns that are not only highly personalized, but also visually engaging and action driven.
Ilana Leykekhman, Senior Director of Strategy & Planning at CrowdTwist, recently sat down with Julio Lopez, Associate Director of Client Strategy at Movable Ink and Max Yelm, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Curalate to discuss how brands can enhance their marketing strategies using User Generated Content (UGC) and loyalty. Consider these takeaways to help your brand amplify their customer stories at scale.
Marketers often face challenges around figuring out which types of content resonate best with their customer base, and therefore with optimizing their content. Having the ability to source the right data can help brands make sure they’re creating relevant content, which they can then use in their personalized communications with customers.
Strategic tech partners can source the right data to help brands create a 360-degree view of their customers and their preferences. Partners have the ability to easily pull and share data from various sources including website, social, third party, CRM and more. Brands can then use this data to understand and optimize for their best content sources. This allows brands to create the best possible customer experience because they can be assured that the content they’re creating and encouraging is the right kind for their audience.
Leveraging tech partners to help solve data sourcing problems allows brands to overcome the content challenges and create personalized customer experiences at scale.
Once brands identify their best performing content, the issue becomes finding ways to produce that content quickly and on a budget. Utilizing UGC is one way for brands to gain access to readily available content that will resonate with their consumers, and brands can use their loyalty program to encourage and reward members to continue to produce UGC. By running specific campaigns to collect UGC, brands can leverage that collection throughout the year, while simultaneously building strong relationships with their best members and rewarding them for their loyalty.
Tarte Cosmetics and Sleep Number are two brands who use their loyalty programs to incentivize UGC and to help deepen relationships with their members. Tarte rewards members with points for creating and uploading UGC, and they use that UGC in their social strategy. In fact, they even have a live social gallery, and if a member’s photo gets chosen to be a part of the gallery, they are rewarded with even more points. This gives Tarte endless access to real-life photos of members using their products, while also making members feel celebrated and appreciated by the brand.
Similarly, Sleep Number uses their Inner Circle program to encourage UGC to help keep members engaged with the brand throughout a long buying cycle. Sleep Number deployed surveys through their loyalty dashboard and found out that many members are big NFL fans. They then ran a campaign to encourage members to submit pictures of their pets in their favorite NFL attire. Members who participated were entered into a sweepstakes to win tickets to go to the Super Bowl. This campaign gave Sleep Number access to tons of UGC and encouraged participation in their program, despite not actually buying a mattress, while also keeping members engaged and creating once-in-a-lifetime experiences for them.
Once brands have access to their members’ UGC, they can further utilize it to encourage more loyalty engagement by incorporating it into their other marketing strategies. By including UGC in communications with customers, brands can encourage engagement with members through sharing on social and inspiring them to try new products. This not only rewards members for engaging with the brand, but also gives them a pathway to being celebrated by their favorite brands. Leveraging UGC in emails and other aspects of marketing can help motivate customers to take actions such as making a purchase, redeeming for a reward, writing a review, and referring a friend. Creating those visual experiences in brand marketing helps to maximize the investment they’ve made in their loyalty program by encouraging their best customers to become their best advocates.
The Walking Dead use their activated fan base to create a passionate community among their rewards program members. The Walking Dead runs fun campaigns such as fan art contests, where enthusiasts can submit their creations for points. Other members can view and vote on their favorite pieces and redeem points for once-in-a-lifetime experiences like the chance to tour the set. This campaign drove a sense of community and engagement among their members, while also rewarding members for their passion and enthusiasm. The campaign gave The Walking Dead access to a ton of fan-produced content, while at the same time encouraging participation in the program and creating emotional connections with fans.
In a time where consumers are constantly being shown marketing messages, only remarkable, relevant and compelling campaigns are you going to get noticed, and UGC can help be the differentiator. Regardless of industry, brands are selling an identity to consumers – an aspiration of who they want to be – and using UGC in their content and communications with customers can help them to visualize it.
Brands such as Tarte Cosmetics, Sleep Number, and The Walking Dead use CrowdTwist’s loyalty platform to encourage UGC as a cost-effective way to gain access to relevant and visual content that help them drive engagement and create meaningful, emotional relationships with their consumers.
See “How You Can Craft a Winning Content Strategy” to get started on content to engage customers.