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MARKETING: User-Generated Content Marketing
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User-Generated Content Marketing

By Justin Toy


The ways in which brands market themselves have drastically changed over the past decade. The rise of digital marketing, the internet, and social networks have lead brands to move away from concentrating their marketing budgets on a small number of marketing campaigns. Today, brands have a number of different channels to produce engaging, personal content which they can post for basically free online in hopes that their messages will be retweeted, liked, and go viral.


Campaigns that focus on incorporating user-generated content are an excellent strategy that can leverage customer enthusiasm while minimizing your marketing cost. Consumer generated content comes in many forms. It could be featured Yelp or Amazon reviews or it could be a contest where users take selfies while using the product. In any case, user-generated content is not only cost-effective, but it can also be extremely effective for building brand awareness and in effecting purchasing decisions. According to Hubspot, four out of five Millennials in the US (whose purchasing power will surpass baby boomers by 2017) say that user-generated content from people they don't know has a significant influence on what they buy and affects their perceptions of brand quality. Furthermore, user-generated content, basically user testimony, is much more effective at influencing an individual's purchasing decisions than expensive mass media advertisement campaigns.


There are a number of ways to build and implement a cost effective marketing strategy that incorporates user generate content. Below is a look at six examples of brands that were able to successfully launch successful campaigns.


Burberry

BT 201601 090 35 Marketing burberry art of the trench seoul editorial 0Burberry, the British luxury clothing company, was able to drastically increase its stagnant sales by 50% in 2010 after launching its Art of the Trench website. The site allows users to upload and comment on pictures of people wearing Burberry products. It features real people looking good in various Burberry products. Luis Sanz, co-founder of Olapic, a photo aggregator, says that customers are up to five times more likely to engage with photo reviews than with text. When applicable, make sure to include digital multimedia into your user-generated campaigns in order to maximize your impressions.


Lululemon

BT 201601 090 38 Marketing 03Lululemon is a yoga wear company that put together an impressive campaign. Their campaign asked users to tweet or send Instagram photos of themselves in yoga poses under the hashtag #TheSweatLife. These photos were collected and can be seen displayed on a subsection of their website. Don't be afraid to ask your users to send in pictures of themselves enjoying your product. If they love it, they won't need any kind of incentive to engage, just a simple invitation will do. Leverage your user loyal customer into being your most effective spokespersons.


T-Moble

In order to steal customers from its competitors, T-Mobile, The US cellphone carrier, offered to pay contract cancellation fees for anyone who "broke up" with their mobile network provider. To coincide with their promotion, they launched an "Un-Valentine's Day campaign where users were able to write their own custom "beak up" letters to their carriers and share it on Facebook and other social networks. The campaign went viral on social media sites and helped increase awareness of the promotion (as well as profits) in a funny way.


Tourism Queensland
BT 201601 090 42 Marketing 07Queensland is a beautiful province in Australia that is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. In order to promote and increase tourism in the province, Tourism Queensland did something rather unique by promoting "The Best Job in the World," an island caretaker position that includes snorkeling, feeding fish, and blogging. Tourism Queensland received 35,000 applicants from around the world that were then narrowed down to fifty by a public vote. The final 16 contestants were flown into Queensland where on lucky gentleman from the UK received the job. The campaign was also followed by many major global news outlets like CNN and BBC and received an estimated USD 368 million in media coverage while reaching a global audience of 3 billion people. If your idea is unique and engaging enough, traditional media outlets can help amplify the success of your campaign.


Target
BT 201601 090 37 Marketing target college acceptanceIn an effort to raise awareness of its philanthropic efforts, Target, a retailer based in the US, produced one of the most heartwarming ad tearjerking user generated campaigns ever. Back in 2010, Target announced it would donate USD 500 million towards education and promised to double its contributions in the future. At the same time, Target asked high school seniors to film themselves opening up and reading their college acceptance letters. The videos were collected and edited into a commercial on TV. The excitement and authenticity of the reactions in the videos made for an extremely memorable and moving campaign that not only raised awareness of Target's philanthropy, but also helped increase the brand's value. When designing your user-generated marketing campaign, don't limit yourself to just photos. Creating and sharing video is just about as easy and convenient as photos but they can be so much more powerful and moving.


Pepsi MAX
BT 201601 090 36 Marketing JeffGordonPepsi MAX put out a challenge to its Nascar fans on social media. In order to win Pepsi MAX and Jeff Gordon swag, points were awarded to users who completed challenges. The grand prize winner won the right to attend an important race where they would be able to manage Pepsi MAX's social media and get to interview Jeff Gordon. "Whereas traditional sweepstakes are a bit of a mystery and no one expects to win, with MAX It Now, we were able to be transparent about who was receiving prizes and why and gamified the whole experience," said the Pepsi MAX rep. The campaign was a great success and is an impressive blueprint of how to gamify what would be an otherwise boring sweepstakes.


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