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Sam Margolis

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Three Marketing Strategies Every Challenger Brand Should Embrace

Attention all brands:  Unless you are the one and only leader in your category or industry, you are by default a Challenger Brand.  Fear not, by this definition, you are in good company with almost every other brand in the world.  Yes, I'm looking at you Starwood Hotels, TripAdvisor, Neuro Drinks, Lagunitas, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Alaska Airlines, Celebrity Cruises, and Johnson & Johnson. You are all challengers, and you know what?  The growth opportunity that lies ahead is huge.  Here at AMP, we are committed to help Challenger brands rise to the top, and we see trends across industries that can help accelerate your growth.  For starters, here are 3 marketing strategies every challenger brand should embrace to drive new customer acquisition: Outsmart vs. Outspend Let's face it. The majority of Challenger brands cannot compete with the marketing budgets category leaders have at their disposal.  That's OK, you can make your investments go further through innovation and outsmarting your competition. For example, find the whitespace opportunities within key word searches in your online marketing efforts to invest more efficiently.  When combined with innovative creative execution, the results can be staggering.  Hasbro is a challenger to Mattel and a great example of a company that constantly outsmarts their competition.  Hasbro's Edison the Elf campaign that launched around the holiday season leveraged whitespace search terms while leveraging unique creative components to engage key target audiences. Using a data-driven approach, Hasbro partnered with AMP to identify whitespace opportunities in keyword searches that when coupled with a powerful holiday activation helped the brand generate significant web traffic and buzz around a search phrase not normally associated with the brand or any of its' products:  'Is Santa Real?'?  By helping consumers answer this question through an interactive experience, Hasbro triumphed over Mattel by capturing a digital audience that had previously been overlooked. Create Loyalty with Incentives Great Challenger brands understand the importance of putting their customers first.  Loyalty programs and incentives are a great way to show your customers you care about them and also give something back.  When this is combined with a social component, like sharing incentives with friends, you not only create loyal and happy customers, but turn them into powerful brand ambassadors who can actually help drive adoption and revenue in a very organic manner.  Uber does a great job with their code sharing program that rewards both existing customers and their friends who they convert into Uber customers with free promotional rides.  A simple incentive, yet incredibly effective for creating both loyalty with current customers while also driving (pun intended) significant new customer acquisition.   Standout On Mobile Responsive web design is practically the norm now and mobile is the new platform for engagement. However, the best challenger brands take their mobile experience to the next level.  It's not just about making sure your brand's website looks good on mobile and tablet devices, it needs to go above and beyond.  Specialty retailer Tilly's does a great job with their mobile experience that includes tight integration with the Tilly's Hookup Loyalty Program where mobile users can collect and redeem loyalty points on the go from any mobile device.  In addition, they funnel exclusive content and offers through the mobile channel, keeping their customers engaged and active from their mobile devices.  The wallet feature is a great integration of purchase history, coupons, and gift cards that can even sync with Passbook.  Finally, loyalty members are rewarded with additional points for sharing Tilly's content to their friends and social networks.  Mobile is only going to grow from here and if you're not differentiating on this platform already, then it's time to take action to rise above the rest.   What strategies have you seen work for challenger brands? Leave a comment below.

How Airlines Are Using Integrated Marketing to Drive More Online Bookings

Today, every travel brand in the world is asking themselves:  'How do we drive more online reservations and revenue?'?  Expedia is trying to answer this through acquisitions, with their recent announcement of plans to acquire Orbitz Worldwide for $1.6 billion in cash.  With the massive consolidation happening with online travel companies, there is a fresh opportunity for brands to create unique opportunities and offers for consumers to book directly through their channels vs. a third party like Expedia or Priceline. This especially holds true for airlines.  Airline brands such as Turkish Airlines, SWISS, and Icelandair are engaging with their consumers directly, using innovative marketing tactics to drive more online bookings.  Here are three recent examples we've found particularly inspiring at AMP Agency, due to their integrated nature and ability to connect the digital, social and offline worlds under unified programs: #1.  Turkish Airlines ' 'Epic Food Map'? Turkish Airlines launched their Epic Food Map competition encouraging global travelers to upload pictures of exotic food from their destinations around the world for a chance to win an international travel package for two. This is a great example of user-generated content that benefits the brand by being socially sharable and presented in a unique, discovery experience.  Each photo cleverly includes a link to the Turkish Airlines booking site connected to flight options for the selected destination. The message of 'Discover'? is much more enticing than a 'Book Now'? button. #2.  Swiss International Airlines ' 'The World of Swiss'?  is currently serving up a one-of-a-kind interactive discovery experience that engages users with slideshows, short films, interactive maps and aircraft demos, all designed to demonstrate the exceptional experiences travels encounter when choosing to fly with Swiss.  The use of embedded hotspot technology within the content allows visitors to take a deep dive into the world of Swiss Airlines. With rich and immersive content, the airline is creating an emotional connection to their brand and destinations. Despite the fact the Flight Booking button is tucked away in the accordion navigation, the experience and content is so compelling it creates a strong connection to the brand and destinations that almost immediately beg the question 'How can I book a trip there immediately?'? #3.  Icelandair ' 'Uber Surprise Stopover'? ' Full disclosure ' Icelandair partnered with AMP Agency to deliver the Uber Surprise Stopover program, though it's worth highlighting as a great example of the digital world colliding with the offline world with an innovative, Uber-twist. The program started with targeted, relevant mobile and digital ads, rich in imagery showcasing the beauty and wonder Iceland offers.  During the campaign, as target consumers engaged with digital content, Icelandair launched a partnership with Uber in select cities giving Uber riders an Icelandair ride experience that included free Uber rides, Icelandic surprises and sent a few lucky riders on a free vacation to Iceland, courtesy of Icelandair. Are you looking for new and innovative ways to engage consumers and sell more online?  Leave a comment below or reach out directly.

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