If you want a cutting-edge approach to product marketing in 2011, you have a lot of choices. You can utilize a mobile location-based service or check-in app. You can craft a Groupon-style daily deal. Or you can sign on to Facebook, Twitter and foursquare and fish for fans, friends and return customers.
Why not do all three? You can do that piecemeal, of course, but the WeReward marketing platform intersects with all the new models.
WeReward, the 17-month-old offering of online and mobile marketing company Izea, allows consumers to earn points that are equal to cash for completing tasks like checking in at a store, taking a photo of a product and, ideally, actually buying the product featured through a WeReward sponsorship.
Consumers can then share these actions with their social media networks by posting a photo of themselves with a product they have just purchased. (Advertisers get to approve the photos first--so keep it clean, people.)
To earn rewards, smartphone users download the WeReward app and become "oinkers." Every time they oink, i.e., register a product-related action through social media, it's recorded--and sometimes broadcast at WeReward.com. For example, the site noted on June 22 that "reygaring just checked in to a Taco Bell in Walnut Creek, Calif." A short time later, "Trevor Schultz just earned 114 points at Vegas.com in Las Vegas." (Let's hope Trevor wasn't playing hooky that day.)
"In marketing, advertisers benefit from cost per sale," says Ted Murphy, CEO and founder of Izea. "Bringing engagement down to a cost per action helps advertisers realize how people are engaging with their products and who their customers are. We're providing them with that information."
Advertisers who sign up with WeReward can get that information sliced a number of ways. The platform offers general demographics--more than 72 percent of users are between the ages of 25 and 49--as well as specific user information, such as when "reygaring" last devoured a taco.
Advertisers may establish more formal relationships with particularly loyal customers by making them brand ambassadors or giving them greater discounts and rewards.
"Some of our users see this as a way to save money, others see it as a way to make money," Murphy says. "If a user has a decent social network, as a business you will want to take care of them."
Dan O'Shea is a Chicago-based writer who has been covering telecom, mobile and other high-tech topics for nearly 20 years.