Rand McNally drives database with road show promotions accenting GPS devices

While the mobile marketer crowd is abuzz about the latest location-based marketing tools, “old-fashioned” location-based event promotions are hitting the road and helping marketers effectively build their in-house databases.?

Rand McNally is running the “Moving America Trucker Appreciation Tour,” a campaign that is traveling coast to coast through the end of August. At these events, which are taking place at Pilot/Flying J gas stations along with the Mid-America Trucking ?Show, the mapmaker is demonstrating a new line of GPS systems called the IntelliRoute TND navigation device. At the same time, Rand McNally is using the events to collect email addresses and social media followers.?

“We are very big with the trucking community and wanted to create a way to keep the conversation going with them,” says Kendra Ensor, VP of marketing at Rand McNally. “These events are a great way to get out and connect with them and begin an ongoing communication.”?

At these events, truck drivers who are beta testing the Rand McNally devices demonstrate how they work. The events also feature giveaways, games and activities, as well as the opportunity for truckers to enter the “Navigator of the Year” contest for the chance to win $25,000. ?

Truckers are encouraged to enter the contest on iPads provided at the events. Entrants are asked a series of questions about their lives on the road and why they should be named “Navigator of the Year,” and must give an email address and mobile phone number to enter. As part of the sign-up, they are also given the option to opt into Rand McNally’s email list. ?

Ensor says the trucker campaign works well for both customer acquisition and retention. ?

“The campaign is providing information to people who might not know about our GPS. Hopefully, we are attracting new customers,” she says. “It is also great for customer support because we are offering people that ?already own the GPS training sessions on how to use the devices, and we’re getting their questions answered.”?

Shar VanBoskirk, VP and principal analyst at Forrester Research, says that in-person experiences help brands build trust and create an environment where consumers are more likely to share. “Events have a good level of trust associated with them, and it makes people more likely to share data,” she says.?

Rand McNally worked with digital agency Switch Liberate Your Brand to create the campaign. Danny Burns, account manager at Switch, says the campaign is the starting point for an ongoing conversation with truckers. “We are looking to really heighten the database,” he says. “Couple the social media pages with the microsite opt-in, and we should have a pretty comprehensive database to reach out to.” ?

Burns says part of the effort involves revamping the company’s social media pages and turning them into customer service centers. Truckers are encouraged to become Twitter followers and Facebook fans. ?

“It is becoming like a customer service forum, where truckers are posting the good, the bad and the ugly,” he adds. “We are monitoring everything and addressing the issues, so that even negative feedback turns into a positive experience.”?

After the events, Rand McNally will follow up with customers who have opted into the email list with more information about the GPS. Ensor says the company plans to measure the campaign by looking at in-store sales around events in each location. ?

In addition, The Great American Insurance Group used the Mid-America Trucking Show to build its database. The company ran its fifth annual “Big Rig Giveaway” contest at the event, where the insurance carrier collected postal mail and email addresses from attendees who wanted to enter to win a Volvo VNL 780. The campaign drew more than 5,000 entries.?

Great American will use this information to remarket to this audience. “We will send notification of future events,” says Tim Clinton, divisional VP of marketing for the trucking division at Great American Insurance, via email. “We also distribute the list to our appointed agents geographically to use as a ‘warm’ referral list.”

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