AdTech Retail Trends

The Secret Marketing Weapon No One Is Talking About

The marketing landscape presents many challenges, but retailers and service providers have a secret weapon available: the gift card. 

Thanks to easy-to-use platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento, and, the opportunity to easily offer a gift card is available to more merchants than ever before. But how do sellers and service providers turn a gift card into a powerful marketing tool?

Recognize it’s more than a gift card. Gift card is a short way to stay “dedicated spend with a brand.” 

Gift cards are not just for gifting. Demand for self-use gift cards is on the rise. It’s time brands stop thinking of gift cards as something to merchandise during critical periods throughout the year and start to embrace their capabilities as a highly flexible payment method to help your brand capture spend through even more use cases. Further,  gift cards can trigger unique spending habits.  According to a First Data study, consumers spend on average $59 over the value of a gift card. Therefore when a gift card is sold, it’s not only a promise of future spending but also indicative of increased spending. Understanding this element can unlock various new marketing tactics based on the consumers’ tendency to overspend. 

The value of offering a gift card is clear, but how does a brand take this tool and utilize it as a functional element within a martech stack? 

Treat gift cards as an advertising asset.

It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. 

Take advantage of unique promotional opportunities to further enhance brand awareness. These opportunities can range from small community-focused events such as providing a gift card for a fundraiser to new partnerships and the ability to have your gift card included on new platforms and sales channels. If connecting with a specific customer base and building brand trust is your focus, digital gift cards can reach your ideal customers no matter where they are.  

Offering a digital gift card unlocks a wide variety of promotional opportunities with partners that can get your brand in front of new audiences and create the opportunity to capture data that does not rely on third-party pixels or cookies. Plus, when you work with new and innovative partners, you can turn your digital gift card into a digital ad and purchase opportunity all at once.  Unlike traditional advertising media, many of these partners allow promotional opportunities that do not require an up-front investment.  

With the variety of promotional opportunities, having a data-focused approach is critical, but what data points should brands consider when reviewing promotional performance? 

Remember the purpose of the promotion.

Because gift cards tap into multiple elements of customer acquisition and retention, it’s essential to identify the purpose of any strategic promotion. Standard promotions and metrics include:

  • Increased brand awareness
    • CPM  (number of thousand impressions) Reach
  • Customer acquisition
    • Conversions
    • Total clicks
  • Increased AOV (average order value) 
    • Rate of overspend via gift card transactions
  • Increased customer engagement
    • Time from gift card purchase to redemption
    • Reload amount

You may notice that many of these metrics are traditional marketing metrics. That is because when you view a gift card as an advertising asset, it can be used in place of standard creative assets. This means the power of a gift card can be tracked throughout the complete consumer spending cycle, from awareness to purchase and even long-term brand engagement, making it the ultimate secret weapon for any brand wanting a data-driven marketing strategy.

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