The Real Cost of the Free Sample

The free sample is a staple of marketing. Just spend an hour walking through Costco or perusing a money-saving mommy blog. Look at the number of people who will give up a Facebook “like” in order to get one or how many friend’s email addresses they’ll pimp out in return.

The trouble is, free samples aren’t free for the business who provides them. They actually cost quite a bit of money, particularly if they have to be shipped to thousands of people. Consumers don’t get this. Especially if they’re asking a business to donate an item to a local charity. Consumers think, well, you’re making cookies anyway, so what’s the big deal about making two dozen more in support of the youth soccer team? After all, it’s good advertising for your company, right?

IntoNow Offers Coupons for Commercial Checkins

Imagine if you could make a TV commercial “clickable.” IntoNow has taken the first step with their new feature which allows you to check-in to commercials in return for a prize.

First up is Pepsi MAX with their “Clubhouse in the Corn” commercial. When you see the commercial on TV, you activate the IntoNow app on your phone. The app uses SoundPrint technology to “listen” to the commercial, verifying that you are indeed watching it, then it rewards you with a coupon for a free Pepsi. Pretty nifty, huh? It’s like the video version of a QR code.

eBay Gets into Geo-Location Market with Company Buy

eBay is about to branch out into the geo-location and deal market with the acquisition of a company called Where. The “Where” phone app, helps you find the best places to eat, drink and be merry based on your current location. They also run an ad publishing network that specializes in hyper-local ads.

Where has been around since 2004, and is said to have 120,000 merchants and advertisers working with them and 4 million users. (Though I must admit, I’ve never heard of them, have you?)

As a number of outlets are reporting, it appears that the merger began with the concept of adding Paypal as a payment option for Where deals and snowballed from there. Going forward, Where will be under the Paypal umbrella which could be another step toward the development of that illusive digital wallet.

Where Do Consumers Go for Product Reviews? Not Social Media

Going online to research a product before you buy it is something nearly everyone does at least a few times a year. People look up everything online, especially high-tech items, clothing, cars, and even DVDs and CDs. And you can bet that what they read online is influencing which item they buy and who they buy it from.

But where do people look for information? Lightspeed Research has the answer.

As you can see, social networking lands at the bottom of the list, which doesn’t bode well for all those brand “likes” on Facebook.

Naor Chazan, Marketing Director, Americas at Lightspeed Research says,

“Despite their role in our digital lives, social networks don’t yet seem to be the place where Word of Mouth is delivering its full power.”

Google Makes Move to Use Mobile IDs for Tracking

According to ClickZ, Google is getting ready to offer behaviorally targeted ads on their network of iOS and Android applications. To do so, they’ll have to begin tracking the “device identifier” which are unique to every mobile phone.

The article states that other companies already tap into this mobile-app cookie system, but Google has been reluctant to go there due to privacy issues. Apparently, they’re reluctant no more.

A Google spokesperson told ClickZ,

“Over time, we’ll be able to enable things like frequency capping, spam filtration, improved conversion measurement and serving ads based on topics of interest, all of which will help us display the most useful in-app ads; minimize the number of irrelevant in-app ads shown; and improve in-app advertising for users, advertisers and developers.”

Geolocation Users Want Connection Not Coupons

We know that social media users love their coupons and deals, but according to a new study by White Horse, this is not their primary interest when using a geo-location based social network tool.

Take a look at the chart below. You’ll see the “connecting to other people I know or could meet” was the primary reason for using a geolocation service. 41% of the people chose that answer with the next highest (21%) going with “Finding a place liked by people I trust.” Getting discounts and winning virtual prizes rated very low on the scale.

What’s Next? Marketing to Match Your Mood

It’s just another manic Monday, which means I’m in the mood for chocolate, Ramen noodles and movies that don’t make me think. The last thing I want to do is cook, so this would be a great time to show me an ad for a pizza delivery service that includes fresh-baked, chocolate chip cookies with every order.

Imagine if you could match marketing to mood. Actually, you may not have to imagine for long, because the experts say it’s coming soon.

Moodagent is one step in that direction, it’s a mobile phone app that delivers a playlist of music based on your chosen mood. The program uses a variety of criteria to slot songs into emotional compartments such as happy, angry and sensual. For some odd reason my husband thinks “wistful” should be one of the choices, but what would it play? “Rainbow Connection” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s?”