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Billboard Music Promotions Continue to Sing for Brands, Agencies

When a major financial institution needed a cost-effective promotion that would appeal to a broad demographic and motivate them to act, it turned to Project Support Team for help.

The Connecticut-based promotions company, which specializes in the development and administration of cutting-edge digital promotions, decided to develop a fun online instant win game for the promotion. But to make it compelling, the agency needed a base prize that was inexpensive, easy to fulfill and relevant to consumers.

The solution? Digital music from Billboard.

“Digital music really is a perfect fit because everyone loves music,” notes Christina Praino, Project Director for Project Support Team. “The benefit of having online distribution is that as soon as a person wins, we have their name and email address and can instantly send them an email with the digital music code. And because it’s Billboard, we know we are giving them a trusted name in the music industry. Billboard has access to all the top artists and hits, so we don’t have to worry about handing out music codes where people are searching for bands in the music library and can’t find the songs they want.”

The instant win game designed by Praino’s team supported two different promotional campaigns. The first was designed to drive consumer card usage and thanked card holders with one instant-win game play each time they used their credit card three times.  The other, an employee motivation campaign, rewarded employees with a game play for each new credit card application they collected.

Praino, who points out that a big benefit of online promotions is the ability to instantly measure results, says the ongoing usage of Billboard music codes speaks to the program’s success. 

Notes Praino, “We have been working with Billboard for two years now for this particular campaign and have offered their music codes every quarter without a gap.”

Billboard’s Promotion Strategy

Since its launch in 2007, Billboard music promotions programs powered by the world’s premier music brand that dates back to 1894 have been used by some of the largest packaged goods brands and promotional agencies in the entertainment industry.

Along with its English-language music store, Billboard offers a Spanish-language music store targeted to the 40-million plus Latin music fans living in the United States.  The Billboard music store, designed specifically for promotions, includes songs from all four major labels and hundreds of indie labels, along with an easy consumer interface that makes it simple for recipients to download tracks directly to an iPod or other portable music player.

“Billboard music promotions are so popular because they leverage the trusted Billboard brand, can be delivered in seconds, offer millions of songs to choose from, and can be used for any promotional application,” notes Diane Driscoll, Director of Business Development , Licensing and Custom Media for Billboard, a division of Prometheus Global Media, LLC. “Retailers use them to drive traffic to the store or as a gift-with-purchase. Packaged goods companies use them to boost product sales. Because the music is delivered through a PIN code and Web site, the codes can be printed in-pack, on-pack, on a music card or delivered via email – making our music promotions incredibly versatile and effective.   

“Along with the brand equity that promotional partners can leverage, Billboard produces music events and award shows that give powerful options for grand prizes,” adds Driscoll.

A Trusted Name Matters

Ruth Owens, VP of Sales for Harco Industries, one of the leading promotions agencies in the U.S., says she was drawn to digital music because of its high-value proposition, universal appeal, ease of delivery and versatility.

But she notes that it was the Billboard name that ultimately sold the music promotion to the top brands and fortune 500 companies she serves.
“They wanted a name that consumers knew. But it also came down to the trust factor,” explains Owens.  “With Billboard, they felt they were dealing with the best in the business. And they are.”

Owens, who has been working with Billboard for several years, says the promotional uses vary.  Clients in the casino industry use music cards as part of monthly giveaway programs –bundling them with MP3 players to enhance the value.  Other clients use them to drive repeat customer traffic on their web site.

“One of my clients uses Billboard music cards as a giveaway at golf or other sporting events,” says Owens. “If you come to their booth, listen to their story and sign up for their database, you receive a music card. They are ideal because they appeal to all demographics and just about everyone today has an iPod or other portable music player.  And Billboard makes it so easy for consumers to log on to their web site, find the song they want and download it to their player.”

The Power of Digital Music

The power of digital music is not lost on CenturyLink, which is leading the digital revolution charge in the telco space by tying its High Speed Internet (HSI) services with digital content offerings in CenturyLink Zone™, a digital content store that features a broad array of downloadable movies, games, ringtones and music that includes Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

“People don’t need faster high-speed internet access just to get their emails faster. They need faster high-speed Internet to enjoy digital content faster,” notes Janet Kurihara, who heads the Interactive Services Group for CenturyLink. “The two go hand in hand – which is why we launched our exclusive, customer-only digital content store. When our customers purchase digital content, they realize the importance of having a fast, high-powered internet service.  On the flipside, once they experience the quality and power of our HSI service, it’s nice to give them immediate access to the digital content they want.” 

Because of the powerful connection between digital entertainment and high-speed internet usage, Kurihara says her company conducted extensive market research and found that while movies and games have niche appeal, music has broad universal appeal and is in the most demand. So last December, when Qwest now a wholly-owned subsidiary of CenturyLink – wanted to launch a holiday promotion to thank loyal HSI customers, it chose digital music codes  from Billboard which enabled recipients to download three songs from the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“It was crazy successful,” notes Kurihara.  “It far exceeded our expectation in terms of redemption – which in turn leads to greater customer satisfaction and retention.

“I know that tying music from a telco to a known name brand like Billboard is important,” she adds. “It enhances the perception of value and enables our customers to find music faster – because Billboard’s Hot 100 chart contains the songs people want.”

The Future of Digital Music Promotions

While the promotions industry is always looking for the next hot incentive or thank you gift, both Praino and Owens believe that digital music has so much to offer from a promotional standpoint that it will be a mainstay for many years to come.

“We are always looking at different prize ideas but there just isn’t anything else that is as cost-effective, universally appealing and as easy to deliver,” notes Praino.  “With other prizes, the delivery costs alone make them prohibitive.”  

“Music is so universal and Billboard has made it so easy to use in a promotion that I think it will be around for a long time, especially with today’s technology,” adds Owens. “It seems that every phone out there is now also an MP3 player.  Plus there’s the flexibility.  I can tell Billboard that I want a music card that fits a $2 budget and they adjust the number of songs on the music code to meet my needs. It’s hard to beat that.”