Talk of the Town: Generating WOM for GoPayment at SXSW

by QuickBooks

3 min read

Name of entry: GoPayment at SXSW

Name of company entering: Intuit

Category: Talking

As one of the first mobile payment solutions available, GoPayment arrived early to a market that soon heated up with a flurry of hot startup entrants. With all eyes on the newest players, Intuit faced the challenge of reinvigorating interest in market pioneer GoPayment amongst the tech elite, who led the mobile payments conversation in the media.

To heighten brand awareness of GoPayment amongst the tech influencer audience, the team targeted one of the biggest tech events of the year, SXSW (March 11-15, 2011 in Austin, TX), to wow them and drive organic social buzz with a talk-worthy integrated marketing campaign centered on seeing GoPayment “in the wild.” Intuit tied immersive product experiences to real Austin small businesses that provided much-needed mobile services to show attendees – transportation and food. Partnering with the city’s most popular food truck, Chi’Lantro, and a large pedicab fleet, Metrocycle, Intuit armed food truck employees and pedicab riders with GoPayment and offered patrons deep discounts on rides and menu items if they paid by credit card.

Throughout the SXSW Interactive festival, show attendees could hitch a ride with a GoPayment-branded Metrocycle pedicab and if they followed the @GoPayment Twitter stream, they would find the password of the day. Passengers would simply have to tell their riders the password and the ride came compliments of GoPayment. To ensure passengers had an interactive product experience, riders charged the free rides to GoPayment-branded gift cards so passengers would see the swipe and sign by touch to complete the transaction.

The pedicab riders were selected to be part of this campaign because they are typically extroverted and naturally spread word of mouth. In particular, they quickly understood the value of GoPayment for their own business. Now they could make more money by giving customers the option to pay by credit card and not just cash.  As a result, the pedicab riders became enthusiastic influencers for GoPayment.

During the evening hours of SXSW Interactive, show attendees also had the opportunity to grab Korean-Mexican fusion food on the cheap. Patrons of the Chi’lantro food truck could grub on $0.25 tacos or the daily special if they paid by credit card via GoPayment. Daily specials were named after key tech influencers (e.g. the Kincaid Korean Burger, the Anthony Hawesome Bowl, Van Grove Vegan Fries) and were communicated through @GoPayment on Twitter. The tech celebrities who had menu items named after them helped promote the daily specials via their own Twitter handles.

To promote the pedicab and food truck deals, Intuit spread the word on its own social media channels (including the Intuit Small Business Blog and Twitter and Facebook brand pages), wrapped the pedicabs and food truck with ads, outfitted the pedicab riders and food truck employees with promo t-shirts, briefed them on campaign messaging so they could act as brand ambassadors, and issued a direct email drop to Intuit customers in the Austin area.

The “wow” factor of seeing these typically cash-only small businesses accept credit cards on their phones paired with the delight of receiving a free ride or $0.25 taco ignited positive word-of-mouth about GoPayment on Twitter and beyond.

Business results

With heightening brand awareness of GoPayment amongst the digerati on social channels as the overarching campaign goal, the team set the objective of bolstering social impressions of GoPayment in the Twittersphere five-fold in a week with no news. The campaign increased social impressions on Twitter 17-fold and grew @GoPayment’s Twitter following 140 percent. The spurt in brand awareness on social showed in the business results as well, contributing to 133% customer growth in Spring 2011.


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