With each online purchase, the CDNow customer received an electronic “Scratch & Win” game card that showed instantly if the participant had won anything. Since chances were one-in-five, there were many repeat players. Each time a customer made a purchase, he was automatically entered in a weekly vacation sweepstakes for eight world-class destinations such as Paris, London, and Rome.
For Harnick, the value of the promo lay in the way it built the CDNow brand. “Brand exposure is one of our goals and, no matter what, the repeated exposure is absolutely crucial,” Harnick says.
She adds that the aim is also to have fun, to make winning a game, and make the game part of an explicit bargain – rewarding customers for engaging in a dialog with CDNow. “When visitors repeat, they feel more at home at the site, can move around better, and view more frequently the offers from CDNow and the merchants and retailers with whom CDNow partners for its marketing campaigns,” says Harnick.
CDNow’s recently completed music trivia promotion, the Honorary Roadie Sweepstakes, has produced the greatest outpouring of letters praising the brand, according to Liss. “We get comments saying, ‘We love your store,’ or ‘You give away great prizes,'” Harnick says.
Harnick and Liss explain that they wanted to reinforce CDNow as the music authority on the Net. To do this, they needed content. By setting up a trivia game about music, CDNow could much more quickly take the customer through the store to learn about its product range, including which bios of musical figures were available or which record jackets offered vital music information. And it did all this in the guise of testing the consumer’s knowledge of the 1/2eld. (Did you know that the Grateful Dead was originally called Mother McCree’s Uptown Jug Champions?) Ian Plimsoll, the “world’s greatest roadie” character featured in CDNow radio and television ads, acted as guide for game players.
Correct answers won entry in an Honorary Roadie Sweepstakes that offered top prizes of airplane tickets to any destination in the continental U.S. or Canada. Dugan Valva Contess, Morristown, NJ, handled.
“Web promotion is still very basic. It’s a sweepstakes and a banner, says DVC Interactive president Paul Ivans. “What Liss and Harnick are doing is applying real promotion strategies and tactics to online marketing.”
Liss and Harnick measure traffic and session time on their site, as well as the purchase behavior of repeat visitors. The trivia contest changes each week to ensure that players return.
“We have huge customer loyalty,” says Harnick. “At least 50 percent of players are repeat customers.”
CDNow is starting to partner with big, established brands. The Plimsoll roadie character, says Liss, was created solely to blend CDNow’s offline and online branding effort.
The company just completed a holiday promotion with Coca-Cola in which Coke linked its Web site with CDNow in an offer of a special Christmas CD from EMI Music. It also hooked up with Prodigy to offer new customers of the Internet service provider $10 gifts at CDNow.
“We’re starting to spread,” Liss says.