Creative solutions from Backroads, Lego, Qdoba



Active travel company Backroads wanted to attract past customers to book trips for the upcoming season in time for the summer.


Last March — a time when many book summer trips — the company sent direct mail postcards to 40,000 past travelers inviting them to book with the company again. Each piece had a picture related to the customer’s previous trip, as well as three thumbnail images of places the traveler may also be interested in, based on trips taken by other travelers who visited the same destination. Each piece directed recipients to a personal URL with more information about rebooking. The company used its database and marketing company Nimblefish to segment and target appropriately.

“The most important thing we can do as adventure travel company is reignite customers’ memory of a past trip,” says Massimo Prioeschi, VP of sales and marketing at Backroads. “A rush of emotion reminiscing, will help carry our sales pitch farther.”

Backroads followed up three days later with a personalized e-mail that directed travelers to the same URL as the mail piece.


“We had 100% lift in response of clicks through to the PURL and browsing, and 50% increase in sales over generic postcard,” Prioeschi says.

The company will repeat the campaign again this year.
-Kevin McKeefery



When Lego Co. wanted to extend its reach in Europe and North America, the toy company worked with search agency iCrossing to revamp its online strategy.

ICrossing examined subcategories, timing, offline marketing and revenue goals to build out Lego’s keyword list, extending its paid terms from 60 to more than 13,000.


The strategy implemented resulted in Lego exceeding its annual search revenue goal by 30% in just six months.
-Mary Elizabeth Hurn


Mexican food chain Qdoba Mexican Grill enlisted mobile loyalty company Tetherball

to create a mobile rewards program in early July, using attendee signup at events. The text message-based program, which doesn’t require a download of any kind to the phone, works in conjunction with the chain’s existing QCard program. It offers to consumers who opt in rewards, coupons and special notifications through their phones.

Since the campaign launch, redemption rates have reached 16%. At university campus Qdoba locations, rates climb as high as 40%.
-Nathan Golia


Matt Simpson
VP of strategy, Designkitchen

For a travel company offering intimate journeys for small groups, it follows that their ongoing communication should aspire to the same personalized feeling of the trips. Backroads’ program uses personalized communication to great effect. References to past trips and actual photography of the customer each evoke an emotional and nostalgic response, and then the suggestions for future trips pay it off nicely and show Backroads’ deep understanding of each traveler’s desires.

Lego’s successful program proves that the best global search strategy still depends on local execution. By tailoring its product catalog for each market, Lego creates advantages by exploiting the incremental opportunities that are the difference between winning and losing in paid search. Tens of thousands of keywords; use of “niche” local engines – now that most of the silver bullets have been fired in the paid search wars, it’s this type of rigorous planning and analysis that top brands will continue to adopt in the future.

Qdoba’s mobile loyalty program is generating exceptional returns due to easy sign-up and timely, contextual offers. A single SMS response to enroll — contrasted with the old process of filling out a paper form — has lowered the barrier to entry, showing customers that it’s easy to join the program regardless of whether Qdoba is a beloved favorite or simply an occasional destination. Despite the strong performance, I suspect there might be room for improvement if the communication at the point of acquisition included specific teaser offers or information on program benefits.

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