Got your party planned? Outfit picked out? Good. Now there’s just one more thing to do before ringing in the New Year:
Hand out some superlative awards for this year’s calls to action (want to see who won last year?).
For anyone who has never been humiliated in a high school yearbook, “Superlatives” lists point out those individuals who excelled in some way during the previous year. Instead of people, we’ve got calls to action – those promotions that attempt to incite customers to engage with a particular brand, product or service.
As always, if you think we missed any, please let us know by posting to the comments.
Best Use of Talking Food: USA Pears
When you can text a pear to find out how to make sure it’s ripe, you’ve really got something. Plus, the pear then follows up with a picture of a delicious recipe that you can send to your phone by texting BOSC to 33733. Really cool idea and demonstration of how modern marketing will continue to blend the physical world into the digital.
Email calls to action are difficult. You want to be as helpful as possible without providing too much information. In my opinion, Arbitron does the first really well. The email call to action is well written, clear and helpful in the way it explains how to sign up for text alerts. However, you really have to commit to pulling out the information, as there is a ton of text to sort through. In my opinion, this call to action would be stronger if it stated how to sign up earlier in the email (with more detail below) or included the incentive for signing up in the email title so that people would want to digest all the information. Also, I would make sure that this email only went to desktop email users. Receiving this much information via mobile email would be really hard.
Clearest: Sports Authority
Oftentimes when promoting calls to action, brands forget that clarity trumps pretty much all else. That’s why I liked Sports Authority’s plain and simple, “Sign up and save 10% now” incentive to opt in to email alerts. Plus, the email sign-up stands out clearly from the rest of the information on the mobile web page, removing any ambiguity. I also like the ghost text instructing the customer how to fill in an email address.
Best Mobile Smile: RetailMeNot
When I first saw this free-standing CTA in a mall, (granted this might just be me) I chuckled. Why have a girl smile when you could have a girl flash a 25%-off-coupon-mobile smile (either that or she somehow has managed to put an entire mobile phone in her mouth). Alas, I digress. All jokes aside, this RetailMeNot app download is clear, to the point and compelling given its location. Nicely done.
Longest Term Commitment: TNG
TNG goes really big, offering rewards for life in exchange for a single text message. I love this – I mean, talk about a clear understanding of customer lifetime value. My only question is consumers’ reaction to this incentive. Are any scared off by committing for life (or am I jaded by having too many friends who took forever to ask someone to marry them)? Be interesting to A/B test this CTA with things like “…for the next decade,” “…forever,” or “beyond your wildest dreams” (as well as a capitalized TNG keyword).
Best Use Of The Jumbotron: AAA
First of all, you have to respect that AAA endorses the Oakland A’s. An ideal partnership that deserves an “A.” Second of all, jumbotron calls to actions are tricky. You’re dealing with a time issue as well as a clarity issue. That’s why I liked AAA’s offer to attend a pregame BBQ. Really effective in the way it conveys a compelling message to a (delightfully this season – way to go A’s!) captive audience.
Best Use of Awesome Song Lyrics: Pizza Hut
How could you not smile while whipping out your phone to participate in Pizza Hut’s “OMG Becky” campaign. I even fired up the Sir Mix A Lot classic on YouTube (here you go if you also feel so inclined). Excellent and fun impetus to engage customers.
Most Likely To Terrify Someone Not In The Know: Plano Convention & Visitors Bureau
Imagine you’re someone who does not know what a QR code is or does. And then you see Leslie. Would you think we were being attacked by aliens? Would you think someone had invented a new type of robot? Regardless, you’d at least take a moment to find out more. Eye-catching is eye-catching – even if you risk giving some unsuspecting QR Code neophyte quite a pit in his/her stomach.
Best Use of Blurring: Ruby Skye
Designing compelling Passes isn’t easy. That’s why I liked Ruby Skye’s event ticket to Bingo Players. Using a blurred photo provides an elegant and cool backdrop for an event ticket to a club that’s also (forgive me those who haven’t been to SF) on brand. We’re going to see much more of Passbook in 2014 – will be interesting to see how design tactics evolve.
Best Job Of Embodying A Mobile Demystified Year End Award: Strongmail
When I said that 2013 was the year of enterprise CRM buying conversational marketing, this one CTA from Strongmail shows us why. If you listen close, you can still hear a groan from the person who executed this food & wine invite campaign, as his/her CRM didn’t register a first name for the email recipients. We already know that personalization will be crucial in 2014 for brands wanting to gain a competitive advantage. Executing personalization without letting on that you’re taking some shortcuts is going to be one of the biggest challenges that will differentiate the successful from the not.
Most Likely To Evolve: Badoo
This isn’t really anything to do with Badoo. It’s more to do with Push Notifications as a whole. The standard “Notications may include alerts, sound and icon badges…” just doesn’t seem compelling enough long term. Here’s why: modern consumers’ phones will continue installing more and more apps on their phones. As a result, app creators will have fiercer and fiercer battles for consumers’ attention via push notifications (if you think about it, there is both a practical and actual limit to how many push messages you can receive in a month). If all any brand can offer is alerts, sounds and/or badges, no brand has the ability to differentiate its content. In order to continue to provide utility, brands eventually will start needing a customized version of this message to clearly detail to customers why they should consent to (and what they should expect from) that brand’s app push messaging.
Most Likely Trend to Pick Up Steam: NAACP
The NAACP is just one example of a brand that’s experimenting with SMS as a 2-way communication platform. Through 2014 and beyond, look for the ratio of MOs to MTs in a brand’s messaging detail to increase significantly. With more need for personalization comes more conversation-type communication – a forum where brands have the ability to effectively communicate with consumers as they communicate with each other.
Most Likely Ending Point For This Article: Right Now
So, there you have it – our call to action superlatives. Happy New Year!