By: Nu Yang
It isn’t unusual for a newspaper to have a Facebook or Twitter account these days, but one of the toughest challenges for publishers is to find a way to monetize the various social networking sites. With that challenge in mind, San Diego-based Chief Ingredient has stepped up to the plate with a software application called Blazon.
According to founder and CEO Micah Johnson, Blazon shows return on investment and high yield to advertisers by using sweepstakes and contest promotions as the driver and main call-to-action within ads. “The key is social engagement,” he said.
Chief Ingredient started in 2007, primarily focused on bringing social media to businesses, but in recent years the company has evolved to offer software products that bridge the gap between traditional and new media.
“Blazon is not meant to be a replacement (for either type of media),” Johnson said. “It’s meant to be a solution for both forms.”
By using Blazon, media companies can build sweepstake and contest promotions that can be run anywhere online, such as on social media sites and blogs. Entrants complete forms with their names and email addresses, and that information is then placed in a permission-based database that can be accessed for future marketing campaigns and promotions. The detailed data from profiles can be filtered to target a certain demographic.
“There’s also an incentive to share; something not seen in traditional media,” Johnson said. “That person refers that link, and the more times it’s clicked, the more chances of that person winning. It creates a snowball viral effect.”
Another popular tool is a survey, and with consumers’ answers, advertisers can receive a “hot lead” notification when someone enters a promotion that meets custom-defined criteria.
Blazon also provides a full dashboard of metrics, summarizes all the demographics and survey answers received, and gives advertisers the tools to instantly filter, export, and integrate their data with any existing marketing tools they may already be using. The results can be accessed instantly and in real-time.
Vice president of business development Howard Wahl spent 15 years as a director and general manager with Lee Enterprises and views the service as a benefit for newspapers. “The greatest challenge I saw was trying to guarantee advertisers their ROI. With Blazon, it’s a win-win situation. It helps with retention, creates a revenue stream, and is easy to sell to advertisers.”
Johnson said social media will continue to evolve, especially in terms of engagement. “With traditional media, ads are more ‘pushed’ onto the consumer, but with social media, it’s give-and-get. Other strategies will evolve from there.”