We talk a lot in this space about mobile calls to action, and with good reason. No matter how cool, innovative or amazing a mobile campaign, without a strong call to action there is no chance it will ever get off the ground. Fortunately (as we’ve been touting for a while), creating a strong call to action comes down to only four ingredients (and a secret sauce):

#1: Incentives
#2: Compliance
#3: Clarity
#4: Strategy
(Secret Sauce): Continuity with corporate branding

I bring this topic up again today along with a question I get from brand marketers: “Well that’s all well and good, but my brand doesn’t do incentives. We will cheapen our image if we offer discounts and BOGOs. So how do I make a strong call to action?” Though I’ve covered the answer to this question before (i.e. offer non-monetary incentives instead of monetary incentives), today I noticed a perfect example of the non-monetary incentives strategy in practice. Check out the Grey Poupon Facebook page.

In order to become a fan of Grey Poupon on Facebook, you have to submit an application to the “The Society Of Good Taste.” It’s an app that scans a person’s profile and assigns a score based on whether or not the want-to-be-fan possess refined enough characteristics to become a member of the Grey Poupon social community.

(Side note: Pardon me, but do you have any Grey Poupon?  is up there with the Fresh Prince theme song as one of the all time wow-that’s-still-in-my-brain marketing ploys. I mean, I even referenced it in a blog post joke last July. Maybe it’s Wayne’s fault)

Now, whether you like this campaign or not, you have to admit that it has two outcomes:

  • Consumers, intrigued by the opportunity to become a part of an elite-type community, flock to the Grey Poupon page and engage with the brand on a much deeper level than other non-VIP-type social media communities.
  • Consumers, annoyed that they have to submit an application, don’t visit the Grey Poupon Facebook page.

A master stroke in my opinion. I’d be willing to bet serious dough that the type of people who pass through the application process are the type of people who buy Grey Poupon products. The type of people who don’t pass through the application, well they’re not the target audience. (Naysayers note: I’m aware that if the above does not hold true for, say, tech implementation reasons, then the application process will be faulty and the campaign will fail. My feeling is that the concept, in and of itself aside from execution, is innovative and potentially lucrative).

And here’s where mobile comes in. The goal of mobile subscriber lists (just like social) should not always be “the more people the better.” It should be “the more people likely to buy the better.” Consequently, rather than offering discounts or BOGOs, brands can position their mobile list similar to how Grey Poupon positions its Facebook page. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Meet with your team to figure out what non-monetary angle you are going to take. In my mind, two perfect non-monetary starting points are (a) time and (b) exclusivity. For example,
    • Mobile subscribers will be the first to know about important information
    • Mobile subscribers will have access to information others don’t
    • Other options to consider include convenience (e.g. speedier checkout for mobile subscribers) and novelty (e.g. mobile subscribers beta test new products).
  2. Launch advertising for the non-monetary-incentivized mobile subscriber list via a complete set of cross-channel collateral, including online, offline and the spaces in between.
  3. Interact with the mobile subscribers according to the advertised incentive (with a bonus outcome of people telling their friends of course).

Because mobile is the most personal way to communicate with a consumer, positioning a subscriber list along non-monetary incentives makes perfect sense (Grey Poupon also has the added bonus of the exclusivity aligning with the brand’s central marketing message. If this is the case, all the better).

For the real serious, start thinking about how to tie the mobile subscriber non-monetary incentive to customer data. Some examples:

  • Instead of having consumers submit an application process, correlate sign up for the mobile subscriber list to transaction or visit history. Customers who spend $X per month or visit a store Z times will qualify them for entrance into a mobile club where they will receive exclusive updates about events, product shows or first looks at inventory.
  • Tie a mobile subscriber list to a loyalty program. Each friend referral can count toward points that qualify someone for more and more exclusive information access.
  • Have social media engagement drive the an application process for a mobile subscriber list. Maybe it’s the number of photos submitted or likes posted to forum comments and replies.

Again, the success of non-monetary incentives programs will ultimately come down to execution. But I like where Grey Poupon’s head’s at here. As a logic proponent, I love when I see companies remember that strength isn’t always in numbers, but in the quality of those numbers.

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