Mike Volpe and special guest Peter Stringer, director of interactive media of the Boston Celtics, hosted last week’s episode of Marketing Update. Mike and Peter primarily discussed how Japan is utilizing inbound marketing and how Facebook and Walmart are going local, and also touched on retailers liking the "want" button, and Foursquare launching Radar.
Japan Does Inbound Marketing
Japan’s tourism has been cut by 50% due to the catastrophic tsunami, earthquakes, and nuclear disaster. The Japan Tourism Agency has stated that they plan on giving away 10,000 free, round-trip air tickets for people to visit Japan, as long as they blog about their trip. The hope is that travelers who are given free tickets will have an enjoyable experience and write positive reviews that will alter negative perceptions about visiting Japan and spread the word that the country is a safe place to visit.
The Japan Tourism Agency has requested more than a billion Yen to fund this program. If the funds are approved, visitors would be able to sign up as early as next April.
Marketing Takeaway: It remains to be seen whether this is a public relations stunt. The Japan Tourism Agency likely recognizes that announcing something big like this can have a positive effect, even if they don't actually go through with it. While we don't suggest intentionally spreading rumors with no intention of actually following through, don't be afraid to leverage potentially big announcements to generate buzz and media attention.
Facebook and Walmart Go Local
Walmart created a Facebook page for each of its 3,500+ locations to enable customers to interact with their local Walmart and obtain information about new products and deals. Walmart's goal is to form a deeper relationship with their customers by listening and responding to their local shoppers' needs.
That said, it will definitely be challenging for Walmart to manage 3,500 pages. It seems like asking customers to become fans of the main Walmart Faceboook page and then requesting their zip code seems like a more efficient way to communicate with people on a local and more personalized level.
Marketing Takeaway: Creating a more centralized presence has a number of benefits, both from a reach standpoint as well as a management standpoint. Before dividing your audience, make sure the loss of centralization is worth it.