By Ben Lies, MBA Class of 2012

American express has just launched a brand new program that they refer to as Sync, Tweet, Save. The way this program works is you sync your eligible American Express card to your twitter account, then tweet any specials that come across your twitter feed from American Express, partner retailers, or even friends, that have #Amex prefix in them and the special will automatically be loaded to your card and show up on your statement as a credit. (Check out the video below or visit the Sync American Express website for more details and to sign up.)

This really is an incredibly innovative and effective use of social media. By requiring that their customers tweet the special in order to obtain the discount American Express is getting exposure to an extended network of people that they may never have reached using traditional methods. According to Mediabistro in the first 48 hours of this program there were over 2000 tweets. This demonstrates the viral nature of this type of promotional program. As more and more people sign up and start tweeting the reach will grow exponentially with very little effort by American Express.

The other major benefactors of this program will be the partners of the program that include Best Buy, Dell, FedEx, H&M, McDonalds, TicketMaster, and Whole Foods. Anytime one of these businesses wants to announce a special they can just tweet it through this program and it will instantly reach thousands of people with very little effort. This program not only benefits American Express and the partner businesses but  the customers themselves also see a benefit in the form of discounts and convenience.  No longer do people have to clip or print out coupons or even show a digital coupon through their smart phones. All they have to do is Tweet. This really is a win-win for all parties that are involved.

This type of promotional program really shows how online and offline marketing and commerce are merging. As technology continues to improve and businesses come up with innovative new uses for social media and other technologies the lines between online and offline will continue to blur and we will inevitably we will drop the distinction between e-marketing and marketing.

Discussion Questions:

What do you think about losing the E from E-Marketing? Is it really inevitable? Are we becoming so integrated with technology that the line is no longer distinguishable?

Although not specifically addressed in this post the mobile web and mobile phones are no doubt an integral part of this program. Do you think that a program like this could survive without the use of a mobile platform? Would people be as likely to tweet if they had to do it from a laptop or PC?

Are there any other forms of media out there that would be as efficient as twitter is with this type of program? Why or why not?

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Comments
  1. Yulia Simkin says:

    “Losing the E from E-marketing” is, without a doubt, inevitable, though it may still be a decade or so from now before we come to terms with it. I think at this point, for our generation, the lines really have begun to blur, and we are becoming increasingly immersed in technology. If we look at the 13-18 demographic, they really don’t know life without technology at all, and as they get older, e-marketing will seem as natural to them as newspaper ads to do our grandparents, or TV commercials to our parents.
    As for whether or not a program like this would survive without the aid of a mobile platform, I doubt it. People are inherently lazy, even when it comes to saving money. So if they were to go to the store, shop, and then have to wait to get home to tweet, chances are they would rarely remember to do it. The convenience factor of being able to save money from the palm of your hand is instant encouragement.
    I actually really like the value of this campaign. Compared to the other twitter-centric campaigns I’ve seen, this one appeals to me with a greater sense of authenticity. These are real people tweeting about where they’re shopping and the great deals they’re getting, rather than some random sponsorship popping up in my feed.

  2. Karole convery says:

    Wow this is a very interesting and obviously effective promotion. In response to your question, I do believe the e in e-marketing will eventually be dropped. I have already seen it in many areas. For example I am currently in the process of applying for internships and almost every one that I apply for is looking for some sort of social media campaign to be inplemented. These internships aren’t labeled “e-marketing” internships, it seems that most employers see these as one in the same. Considering how highly important the online and social media campaigns are to the few firms I have interviewed with, it seems that it may be impossible to be hired for any marketing position without some working knowledge of social and online media.

    The use of mobile is essential for twitter and in order to keep up with social media in general. There is no way people would be able to keep up on specials and tweet them often enough to cash in on this promotion, unless they were glued to their computer all day, which is no fun for anyone.

    In response to your final question, I don’t know of any other platform that has the reach and efficiency that twitter offers at this stage. Aside from that, I think it is equally necessary for this promotion to be run through a company like American express. It seems that only financial institutions of some sort would be able to insure the security that most consumers fell with their bank. I also don’t think any company could keep up with the amount of people tweeting while making sure they received their credit in a timely manner. American express also has enough credibility to attract large partners like McDonalds, not every company will have that going for them.

  3. natalia callejas says:

    Loved this campaign!! it leverages the social media, that now is a huge influencer in people decision making for purchasing any product or service. Now is very important to get people involved in the conversation about brands and products in order to succeed with a campaign. This strategy will definitely work even though the mobile platform wouldn’t be part of it, because the majority of people mainly connect to and browse the internet on desktops and laptops. On the other hand, using mobile devices as a platform of their campaign leverages their results of increasing awareness of the brand by reaching even more people. Definitely the line between traditional and e marketing is blurring, every day we come up with new ideas that have a traditional and innovative part in it. And now customers expect that, they are tired of regular advertising, they ignore it, because there is too much clutter. Therefore, companies have to keep up with the changes in marketing and advertising strategies and impact the consumer in new ways.

    Natalia Callejas

  4. Jeremy Probst says:

    – What do you think about losing the E from E-Marketing? Is it really inevitable? Are we becoming so integrated with technology that the line is no longer distinguishable?

    The “E” will eventually be dropped, as it really is marketing at the core, the digital space just gives marketers a new medium to work with and opens up the creative possibilities of new ways to advertise and engage with customers. I think this will take some time, a point at which the free phones are no longer feature phones, but all phones sold are “smart.” A time when media consumption is heavily favored in the digital space will also help; streaming television, movies, magazines, news, etc. We will eventually become almost fully integrated with technology over the next decade.

    – Although not specifically addressed in this post the mobile web and mobile phones are no doubt an integral part of this program. Do you think that a program like this could survive without the use of a mobile platform? Would people be as likely to tweet if they had to do it from a laptop or PC?

    I don’t think it would be as popular or have as great of reach if mobile technology wasn’t a big part of this campaign. I don’t know many people who actually have a twitter dashboard that they’re monitoring all day. It seems the key for this advertising to work is via mobile phones where once the tweet is received, the user can re-tweet immediately. This also creates more benefit for the sender of the tweets vs. something like IZEA where you only get $.01 tweet. I think this is a very effective way of using social media to advertise.

    – Are there any other forms of media out there that would be as efficient as twitter is with this type of program? Why or why not?

    I don’t think there is, other social media could have a similar effect, but not traditional media. The viral aspect isn’t as great if you’re getting it from traditional media. With the ability to tweet from almost any media consumption device, tablets, smart phones, laptops, and desktops, it has the greatest capability to reach people engaged with social media and those people love to talk 🙂

  5. Ben Lies says:

    Thanks for the comments I think everybody makes some very valid points. As for the mobile platforms i guess a more appropriate question would be:

    Do you think Twitter would be as widely used or as successful as it is if it was not optimized for mobile platforms? Considering that this program is completely Twitter based would a company like American Express even consider a program like this without mobile platforms?

    I personally think that as time passes and technology continues to increase we will see more and more programs like this one. In my opinion this program really exemplifies how important mobile optimization is right now and will be in the future, All businesses should take note!

    • Fernando Guzman says:

      I agree with you Ben, I believe mobile platforms anable or enhance the ability for these programs to be sucessful. Instant access to technology, social media platforms is necessary for the implementation of these campaings. As technology continues to advance I am sure we will continue to see more inovative way for marketing (noticed I did not say e-marketing as I belive the e will be dropped). This is certanly a very inovative way for American Express to market their services.

  6. To respond to the question posed by Ben, I think that Twitter would not be as widely used or as successful as it is if it was not optimized for mobile platforms. It is the ability to successfully sync mobile applications to their non-mobile counterparts that makes Twitter – and Facebook for that matter – so successful. People enjoy the greater number of features provided online on sites like this but value the ability to take their accounts on the go with them via the mobile web. I don’t think that just having one platform versus the other is what people value but rather the ability to have both synchronized so well with each other that delivers true value.

  7. Xuan M. Tran says:

    this tactic is definitely interesting and innovative, when they involve a money incentive like this, especially when it’s super easy for the consumer to participate in, it’s going to be very successful (at least I think so, if they can get more people to know about it), using the mobile platform makes it even more accessible…but i do have to agree that not as many people connects to their twitter through their phones.

  8. Shawn Roberts says:

    -What do you think about losing the E from E-Marketing? Is it really inevitable? Are we becoming so integrated with technology that the line is no longer distinguishable?

    There is no doubting the increased efficiency and possibilities that come with the utilization of Internet capabilities in marketing strategy, however I slightly disagree with the overall census of previous posts. It is my opinion, the E shall remain! Just as email has yet to completely take over postal mail, E-marketing is a new, highly effective means of communicating a company’s marketing message provided by technology. However, as traditional mail still has its uses in the delivery of messages, traditional marketing concepts will continue to deliver value is ways digital media cannot. Its my opinion there will always be a distinction (at least for the foreseeable future).

    -Although not specifically addressed in this post the mobile web and mobile phones are no doubt an integral part of this program. Do you think that a program like this could survive without the use of a mobile platform? Would people be as likely to tweet if they had to do it from a laptop or PC?

    Great point, Ben. I agree with the others, twitter would have just a percentage of its following without the mobile platform. The provided ability to conveniently ‘tweet’ at any point from a mobile device has been evolutionary to the way we communicate and word is spread, and critical to the know use of Twitter.

    -Are there any other forms of media out there that would be as efficient as twitter is with this type of program? Why or why not?

    No, there is no other form of current media that could accomplish the broad-reach, dynamic nature of a campaign like this. I believe Facebook and Google are the only others current players with similar social media resources, but don’t currently possess the immediacy/urgency of the Twitter world. The will more than likely evolve a strong startup to compete with Twitter and capitalize on the need for companies to connect directly to their customers.

  9. Peter Robinson says:

    You say that this is good for all parties involved, but I’m not so sure. How about everyone who gets spammed with unsolicited ads from their friends? It seems like Twitter is continuing to devolve into a platform for incessant shameless plugs, and that presentation on Izea was a case in point. Maybe I am in the minority, but I go out of my way to avoid annoying advertisements, so that is probably why this idea bothered me.

  10. Ben Lies says:

    You do make an excellent point Peter. Just like you, I hate getting the ads as well as useless messages that continually come down the Twitter stream. However I am under the impression that the people who are active on Twitter like to follow others and see what they are doing even if it as simple as what they are buying or where they are at. All people have to do with this promotion is #AMEX what they are buying and they probably would have tweeted something similar anyways if they are active users. So for you and I it would be annoying and we would probably unfollow the people sending useless tweets immediately, but for the active users is it really a negative or is it just a normal part of being in the Twitterverse? I personally wouldn’t be interested but I seem to be in the minority.

  11. Harpreet Dindral says:

    Loosing the E from E Marketing is indeed inevitable; with the introduction of new technology platforms and the many different ways to connect with consumers online E marketing will just be eventually looked upon as marketing. With the sudden up rise and powerful shift into the viral world of connecting with consumers online – engagement adoption rates of all firms are going to exponentially increase, as the numbers are showing right now. Although most firms are still spending majority of their advertising budget on traditional measured media such as television, print and billboards, the numbers will start to decrease when ROI on social media becomes more measurable and clear and it’s inevitable this is going to happen as well as more companies are becoming more aware and putting more research into the measurement of engagement.

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