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What Are You Doing Outside the Norm to Engage Your Customers?

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I watched a DVR'd football game recently. I wanted some football, so I found one I'd recorded and plopped down to watch the game.

At some point between a crying baby and dog that needed to go in and out 22 times, I forgot to fast-forward through the commercials, and I caught the State Farm Discount Double-Check commercial.  You know, the one with Aaron Rodgers in the classroom.  Immediately after that commercial, I saw this.

State Farm Discount Double Check Contest

State Farm was running what it calls a "consumer promotion extension" of the Discount Double-Check ad.  Basically, you watch the commercial, count the pieces of cheese you see, and go to their Facebook page to enter.

This promo struck me, a marketer, on different levels...

  1. It's a brilliant way to get consumers to engage with the brand.

  2. It's easy.

  3. It engages more than just one person (see below).

  4. It causes the consumer to watch---and re-watch---the commercial in a way that's perceived as fun.

  5. It leverages multiple marketing media/channels (television, digital, and social media).

Oh, I see what you're trying to do there, State Farm. Yeah, I know your tricks. I get it. And guess what?

I fell for it. Hook, line, and sinker. I watched and counted... and rewound and counted... and watched and counted again... and rewound and counted, and then I made my wife and son watch and count. And the beauty of all of this nonsense?  It didn't even matter. And I knew that! The ad was from a month ago, the contest long past, but we still watched.

And we don't even need insurance! I could care less about State Farm! But we watched because it was fun, it was a contest, it brought us together for a few moments.

So the question I have for you, dear readers, is, "What are you doing that's compelling enough to make your customers and prospects interact with you time and again?"

What brings them together? Are you doing things that are brilliant, easy for the customer, and engaging (maybe even a little daring)?  Or you doing the same old, same old because that's what you've always done?

There's no shame in it. I'll be the first to admit I've done my share of same old, same old in my day.  But moving into 2013, let's take stock of our marketing activities and start thinking how we can perform our own Double-Check.

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Matt Snodgrass is marketing manager for MarketingProfs University, which provides affordable yet comprehensive online training in the interrelated disciplines that make up the marketing mix. Reach Matt via

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  • by Brandon Fluharty Mon Jan 14, 2013 via blog

    Creative! Question for you though: Are you going to be considering a switch over to Progressive next time your insurance is due for renewal? I know I do not give my insurance a second thought, despite the bombardment of ad impressions I receive in this vertical day-in and day-out, particularly because I'm a.) lazy, b.) adverse to change, or c.) lack the time to do proper research...or a combination of all three. Perhaps if I engaged with an insurance company in a more creative way (as it sounds this experience is), I would lean their way (albeit likely over time)? At the end of the day, after all of the fun engagement, I need to be left with- "What's in it for me?"

    Would like to see the follow through here if the effort and expense translates into concrete ROI over time (and what that time period is, and are they able to see the moment from when you engaged on their Facebook page to when they acquired you as a new customer, and what that cost was).

    I would imagine that a company like Progressive is enlisting this type of technology to effectively see the complete sales funnel (commercial played [was it live compared to time-shifted viewing?] to Facebook engagement to web site engagement/enrollment [or phone call engagement/enrollment] to actual customer acquisition and finally what the NET return was (acquisition cost vs customer conversion).

    In 2013, there is no excuse for any company, large or small, to be able to NOT have this level control and insight into how effectively their marketing is working. Marketing Departments and even SMB owners should be able to derive this type of info on each campaign they run. There are numerous agencies for the large guys, and for SMBs, if you want to do it all yourself, you have HubSpot, and if you need help, you can turn to ReachLocal.

    @LocalAdExec / LinkedIn:

  • by Tim Ruble Mon Jan 14, 2013 via blog

    That's exactly what is left for television advertisements and businesses are realizing this. The only two things left to capture the attention of the viewer is to promote comedy or a challenge. You simply become ignored if your commercial doesn't present one of those two factors.
    Even after all is said and done; the laugh and the challenge is over, no one said to themselves or their spouse, Honey - I really laughed or was challenged by that television advertisement for State Farm, why don't we take off for 3 hours on Monday and move our home and auto insurance over to that funny company!
    Television commercials have become a waste of time. Sure the laugh is there and sometimes it's a good one, but the compelling part is that it was a shot into the dark and it wasted how much business dollars?!?!

  • by Matt Snodgrass Mon Jan 14, 2013 via blog

    Thanks for the response, Tim.

    I can't disagree, it's getting tougher and tougher to advertise on TV but I'd be curious to see what State Farm got out of this vs. what they were looking for. They've pulled in 25 million views on their YouTube page, so there's definitely exposure there but the real question, as you noted, is did anyone actually buy?

  • by Steve Byrne Tue Jan 15, 2013 via blog

    regarding .. "They’ve pulled in 25 million views on their YouTube page" ... but how long did those views last, how many millions were less than 4 seconds? Less than 7 seconds?

    Social media statistics can be islands of data, they may be relevant or maybe not. The big picture, the whole story is what counts, and very often the whole story remains unknown to the marketer-in-charge. This doesn't mean marketers should abandon these social efforts. It means constantly asking ourselves what story do the numbers really tell, and what can we bank on.

    Interesting post Matt, thanks.

  • by Matt Snodgrass Tue Jan 15, 2013 via blog

    Thanks, Steve. We'll probably never know the true effectiveness of this but we do know that NFL stars don't come cheap, and Super Bowl MVPs even less so. I'm hoping that if they continue to spend this kind of money, it's because it IS working.

  • by Brandon Fluharty Wed Jan 16, 2013 via blog

    CORRECTION: Sorry, I meant to say State Farm, not Progressive above.

  • by Simeon Howard Thu Jan 17, 2013 via blog

    It's really easy to forget among all the gimmicks how simple catching the attention of consumers really is. We are a playful animal, and I think more marketers really need to focus on our sense of challenge and curiosity.

  • by Dwayne Golden Jr. Thu Jan 17, 2013 via blog

    Love that commercial did not know about the competition though. Very creative this post def sparked some thoughts on what I can do creatively to engage my readers.

  • by Uzo Sat Feb 2, 2013 via blog

    Really nice post.
    But i think it all has to do with "brand positioning" not really for immediate ROI as suggested by some. Again, it is said that you actually need a minimum of 7 interactions with a brand (especially in banking; Real esatate & insurance etc industry); to be able to CONSIDER trying their service.
    I know for sure that ad will certainly bring in some new-sales from their target audience (not everyone that viewed)

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