Monday, November 19, 2012

What Barneys’ Holiday Scavenger Hunt Reminds Luxury Marketers of Social Promotions

Luxury department store Barneys New York has recently partnered with The Walt Disney Company to roll out its annual holiday campaign – Electric Holiday. The campaign combines Disney’s creativity and storytelling with high fashion to create a unique customer experience. To further engage its customers with this holiday project, Barneys held a mobile scavenger hunt for gift cards. Participants would only be able to find the “Mickey Messenger” by following the clues on Barneys’ Twitter and Instagram. 


Barneys certainly is not the first luxury brand to run social media promotions. The demand for promotions does exist, according to an Ad Age/Ipsos Observer survey. But what are the things luxury marketers need to do in order to get the most out of social media promotions?

1.     Define what success looks like. This might sound too obvious to mention, but you would be surprised at how often marketers ignore the importance of defining goals for their social media promotions. The goals could be gaining Twitter followers, increasing newsletter subscribers, or driving traffic to your ecommerce site. By understanding what’s at stake and identifying your objective, the promotion can be better designed to help you accomplish the goal.
2.     Exploit the power of social sharing. Anyone who sees your promotion has the capability to spread this information farther within his/her network. Understand the viral nature of social media could help you execute your promotion in a way that takes full advantage of the medium. Learn from Barneys’ strategy, which gave customers an incentive to share the promotion and thus encouraged engagement. 
3.     Set metrics for evaluation. So, did your promotion work? After figuring out your goal, you should set key metrics for measuring the results. Make sure you have all the “before” figures and track the promotion to find out what impact it had on site traffic, conversion, or brand sentiment.

Though we haven’t seen the results of Barneys’ holiday scavenger hunt, this social media promotion is a timely reminder of what other luxury marketers need to keep in mind when crafting a similar promotion plan.

Phoebe Chen is a graduate student in Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University. She specializes in brand/advertising strategy and marketing analytics and has experience working with multinational companies operating in various industries. Follow her @yhschen or connect with her on LinkedIn: Phoebe Chen. 

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