Testing Results? Use Gift Cards

I have never been a fan of ‘testing’ advertising. “Tell ‘em “Jack sent ya” just doesn’t provide anyone with incentive to visit the business and announce “Jack sent me”.

And with the ad client expecting new customers to rush in and proclaim “Jack sent me” (even though they’ve never done it themselves, anywhere), that lack of expected results leads advertisers to say advertising, or at least that form of it, doesn’t work.

We know better, advertising does work. And if your client wants to test it, use gift cards.

Help Your Client Prosper with Gift Cards

If your client offers gift cards, either electronic or physical, then offer the gift cards in the advertisements. Something similar to “_______________ get 20 percent off gift cards” where the blank is the station, the website, the blog, the magazine, etc.

Next, the card value must be a minimum of a $50 face value, _________________ (listeners, readers, viewers etc.) pay $40.00.

But wait, you say, that costs the client money.

Yes, Client Makes Money

Nah, at the very least they should break even. According to the Mercator Advisory Group, which provides data on the payments industry, around $3 Billion in gift cards go unused every year. Every Year. Of those actually redeemed, more than 60 percent also include a purchase amount above the value of the gift card. That also means nearly 40 percent of the cards leave money on them, as well.

In addition, your client should earn interest off the money paid for the gift cards until the cards are redeemed, and may be able to claim the 20 percent discount as an advertising expense every April (consult with a tax professional).

For sure the ”test” of the ad penetration via gift card would be a home run if you offered every potential customer $100.00 cash just for coming to the client’s store or website (client pays, naturally). But no client will do that to test the station.

The Wrap Up

Discounted gift cards for customers is a win for the ad medium, a win for the advertiser’s customers (a decent discount they can buy now and use later), and a win for the client with new customers – especially when the gift cards are actually given as gifts.

Just make sure that the gift cards are valid only on subsequent visits; and make sure that restriction and any expiration date are both clear in the on-air ads. Don’t hide these details, be up-front and everyone wins.

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