TD Canada Trust and Samsung Remember to Give Thanks

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Today's marketers need to mind their manners and appreciate customers.

"Thank you." These two little words are so easy to say, but some marketers seem to have a hard time remembering to say them. What's more, they appear to forget that paying it forward can have big payoffs, including customer acquisition, word of mouth, and loyalty. Here are two recent examples of how companies--specifically Samsung and TD Canada Trust--showed their customers gratitude and were reminded of the importance of giving thanks.

Gratitude for the Galaxy

Two weeks ago my boyfriend and I went to Barclays Center, an entertainment and sporting arena in Brooklyn, to attend Cirque du Soleil's performance of Varekai. I had come straight from the airport after a quick jaunt to San Francisco and hadn't had a chance to grab a bite. Still, I was dreading forking over some serious cash just for a bag of popcorn and a soda—after all, my boyfriend and I live on a journalist's and teacher's budget.

As we entered the arena, a Samsung brand ambassador approached us and asked if we wanted to download Samsung's Owner Hub app. After living in New York for a little more than two years, I've developed this instinctual twitch to just swat away any offer presented to me on the street. Also, as an iPhone owner, I knew that the app wouldn't be relevant to me. My boyfriend, on the other hand, has a Samsung Galaxy (it's a point of contention in our relationship) and decided to give her pitch a listen.

Here's the gist of it: Galaxy owners can download the Samsung Owner's Hub app through Google Play to participate in the Galaxy Owner's Experience. After downloading the app, owners can tap their phone to the Samsung Galaxy Owner signage device to redeem instant rewards, including food vouchers, seat upgrades, free merchandise, music downloads, and even access to VIP lounges and stadium suites. The rewards are on a first-come-first-served basis, the brand ambassador explained. So the earlier Galaxy owners get to the arena, the more likely they are to get a grander prize.

Not one to ignore a killer marketing opportunity, I later followed up with Colleen McDuffe, senior director of digital marketing for Samsung. She informed me that Samsung created the Samsung Owner's Hub app in April 2013 to offer Galaxy owners a source for device tips, how-to videos, free music tracks, and exclusive content. The Apple rival then decided to expand the experience by partnering with entertainment and sports presenter AEG for the instant reward pilot program this past spring. Samsung is able to offer Galaxy owners rewards by embedding near field communication technology (NFC), a contact communication method, into its signage device, McDuffe explained.

“Our consumers are our first priority, and we're always looking to create new and surprising experiences to reward our owners,” she says. “It's important that our consumers are able to connect with our brand and feel part of the Galaxy family to hopefully create a deeper connection and true fans of the brand for a long time.”

So, what happened next? My boyfriend downloaded the app and redeemed a $5-off instant concession coupon. My grumbling stomach was ecstatic, and I quickly slipped my iPhone into my back-pocket as we went to redeem our prize (notice how I said our prize). In a way, both Samsung and AEG benefit from this partnership: Samsung strengthens its customer loyalty and AEG gets us to spend more money at their venues (the $5 didn't cover our popcorn and soda craving).

On the way to our seats, with us already digging into the buttery-coated goodness, my boyfriend mentioned how Apple would never do a stunt like the one Samsung had just pulled. I told him that he was right (which doesn't happen often), but that Apple had such a religious following that it didn't need to go the extra mile. Still, I appreciated my boyfriend's patronage as I popped another kernel in my mouth.

Although McDuffe declined to disclose the program's initial results, this past July Samsung rolled out its pilot program to 41 other venues. Based on that roll-out, and my focus group of one, it seems to be a success. My boyfriend had previously discussed switching to Apple once the iPhone 6 came out and he could get a better deal, but it's safe to say that Samsung's gratitude gift made him think twice about his move—and those results speak for themselves.

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