October 17, 2013
/ by Brittney Lane
Image courtesy of Uber.
In September 2013, on-demand car request service Uber made a splash in Chicago by giving away free rides from their UberX service for an entire weekend. While this promotion was a great way to get new people to use their service (it’s hard to say no to free!), it wasn’t the most brilliant part of their marketing strategy.
In addition to free rides around Chicago, Uber partnered with more than 100 local businesses to provide incentives for riders who showed their receipt from their free ride. From free drinks at bars and discounts on dinner, to discounted comedy tickets and free fitness classes, there was a lot to be gained from taking a free ride with Uber.
With 119,000 likes on Facebook and nearly 12,000 followers on their Chicago-specific Twitter account, Uber already has a wide and captive audience. But this promotion wasn’t about the people who already know and love Uber. This was about convincing people who were hesitant to try the service or who had never heard of Uber to take them for a spin.
Through their marketing partnership, Uber had all of Chicago buzzing about their service while encouraging riders to stop by one of the local businesses they collaborated with. The simple act of teaming up with local business allowed them to achieve much more than if they had been the sole promoters of the weekend.
Why should you consider promotional partners for your next campaign
You’ll reach people that are outside of your current captive audience When you are looking to reach new audiences, it can sometimes seem impossible to successfully tap into a new market. When you develop a partnership to help promote an event, product or business, you have access to an established group of potential customers that you wouldn’t normally have the ability to easily connect with. You’ll save both time, energy and money seeking out these audiences, so you can focus on your message and mission. If each of the 100+ Chicago businesses Uber partnered with had just 1,000 followers on Twitter, their message reached an additional 100,000 people. What could you achieve with an extra 100,000 people listening to your message?
Trust is transferable: people who trust your partner will inherently trust you If Uber had pitched their free weekend promotion by themselves to people who had never heard of their service, they would have been shrugged off by a lot of people. “Uber? I don’t speak German, why are they targeting me?,” they may ask. “If it’s so good, they wouldn’t be giving it away for free,” they might posit.
But when someone’s favorite restaurant tells them that a service they like is providing free rides and will give riders a free appetizer for trying them out, their perception will change. Uber is no longer some random German-sounding company: it’s a service that they’ve heard good things about from a business that they respect. When working alone, trust takes time to gain. Piggybacking on the trust of your partner will help you achieve a relationship with new potential customers that would otherwise take much longer to develop.
Mutually beneficial: everyone has something to gain from a partnership Partnerships are win-win situations. All businesses involved benefit from the increased number of people that hear about their brand during the promotional period. If the partnership goes well, you’ll have an established group of businesses who are more inclined to partner with you again on future promotions.
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