Tuesday, April 05, 2016

The Value of Tapping into Online Social Communities

Back in early 2014, I signed up for a gift exchange run by online social community site reddit.  The gift exchange platform is known as redditgifts; started as an online Secret Santa program in 2013, redditgifts has grown to run dozens of themed exchanges between participants worldwide every year.  But back in January 2014, when redditgifts was only just getting started, I signed up for a kitchen apron exchange.  I have always been a fairly avid baker and had accumulated various aprons over the years from family and friends; many of these I unfortunately didn't particularly like, so I figured an exchange was a great way to offload one and find something new.

I quickly filled in my preferences on the exchange form.  After receiving my secret match, I excitedly sent them an apron and then eagerly awaited what I would receive.  And I waited.  And waited.  Three months later, I had resigned myself to the fact that my own gifter had been a "Grinch" and I had been forgotten.  Until April, when the following arrived at my door:

redditgifts has a way of dealing with so-called "Grinches," which is to have people volunteer to be "rematchers." In an amazing stroke of marketing genius, Gold Medal Flour had scooped up everyone who hadn't received gift and sent them a custom embroidered and branded apron, along with a recipe.  

The overall cost of producing the aprons, printing the recipes, and shipping the packages was not insignificant, but probably nominal.  The trade-off was fantastic exposure to a group of high quality, interested potential customers who found huge value in getting recognized by Gold Medal.

For more examples of successful marketing to the reddit community, check out the following great write-ups:

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