In 2010, Tencent conducted a campaign with Mercedes-Benz around their Smart Car line. A limited edition version was made available only through WeChat in China. They pioneered a new flash-sales technique called ‘snap-up’.
- The sales event was scheduled one month ahead, and a limited number of products were sold at a discount.
- Then one month before the sale, interested parties are asked to register, and in the following weeks a small deposit was requested.
- Participants are then usually assigned a time slot during which a limited number of products are on offer to compete for.
Impressively, 338 Smart cars were sold within three minutes of the flash sale. This represented a staggering return on investment for Mercedes-Benz, while it also showcased how flexible WeChat could be in delivering marketing campaigns.
- More than 600,000 users followed the launch, while 6,677 qualified sales leads were generated. More than 1,751 people paid a deposit on a Smart car through the app itself.
- At the same time, this campaign demonstrates that using social as a channel has to be based on getting the entire customer journey right. The brand and offering have to provide a great fit with the customer’s experience and expectations.
- Without this fit being right, marketing campaigns will not provide the appropriate response and return on investment. By listening to their customers, brands and marketers can judge whether it is right to use social as a full sales conversion tool, or for its ability to raise awareness and push potential customers to other marketing content.