The search for the ultimate marketing solution, a resource that inspires and actively engages consumers by providing them with an irresistible incentive that spreads instantly throughout social media, delivering valuable news to friends and colleagues alike, all of it measurable in real-time from a smartphone or laptop – that resource now exists. Or: Welcome to the phenomenon of “geo-hunting for cash,” where people use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device to find “caches.”
This popular pastime, which has more than 6 million users worldwide and is often a bonding ritual for parents and children (as well as fans of the outdoors), is also the foundation for – it is the catalyst behind – guaranteeing that consumers act on behalf of a promotion no one will refuse: Free cash!
So, instead of the recreational pursuit of a generic container, individuals can now hit the streets en masse, in search of money (sent to their smartphone) and imbued with incredible enthusiasm for the endeavor itself.
And no, I do not exaggerate in the least, when describing this scenario (this video is an excellent tutorial about geo-hunting for cash) because, as the founder of The SpareCash application for Android and iOS, the proof is there for all to see: The hunt for free money, which, when led by a global brand that otherwise spends hundreds of millions of dollars on conventional marketing and advertising, is fast, affordable, quantifiable and too powerful to ignore.
Think of these events as the actualization of marketing-as-adventure, in the truest sense of the term: See the men and women exploring a city, walking the grid of a famed locale or another grand destination, where the journey is thoroughly experiential; the sights and sounds, the famous boulevards and the dignified boutiques, with their colored awnings and intricate window displays; the architecture of a metropolis – the Pre-War apartment buildings with their high gables, deep roofs, niches, balconies and balustrades, and the sleek glass enclosures of the International Style, where the spirits of Mad Men walk amongst us – all of these things (and more) make this endeavor a summons, for users, to be active – and to be outdoors – as they search for that magic prize.
Compare this scenario with the conventional (and thoroughly passive) sort of TV, print or online marketing that is a costly plague for most business. And, by plague, I mean the inexact and expensive effort to establish “brand awareness.”
Notice, too, that awareness alone – sitting in front of a screen, and absorbing the pixelated bombardment of slogans and logos – has little to do with sales or customer engagement. It is a promise of nothing, with hopes (by companies and advertisers) for plenty.
Cash Is King: Furthering the Best Incentive with the Newest Technology
The takeaway theme to this discussion, which any business can replicate, is simple: Money is a (if not the) prime motivator for consumers. The rewards, to both companies and prospective customers, are also obvious; the former gets people to do something for their respective brands, while the latter has a reason – detailed in dollars and cents – to accept this invitation.
On a broader level, the lesson to executives is a reminder that, while cash may be king, its usage is not always applied properly. That is, companies waste a lot of money on programs, promotions, coupons, direct mail and other forms of marketing that are too illusive to calculate, too costly to duplicate and too ineffective to perpetuate. In so many words: Traditional marketing does not work.
The duty for business owners and entrepreneurs is to accept this reality, so they may use new technology to achieve new ends. This dynamic version of interactive marketing is also a way to utilize basic arithmetic to calculate victories, to determine the scale and success of an initiative.
These opportunities are too vital to dismiss; they are too urgent to overlook. With the many tools at our disposal, we have reason to celebrate the next great chapter in marketing and customer engagement. Let the branding revolution begin!
Dale Scott Marion is an entrepreneur, and the recipient of various design and technology development awards. His latest venture, SpareCash, introduces new forms of marketing and advertising for a diverse array of businesses, from startups to Fortune 500 corporations worldwide.