I dug a bit more into Target Rounders (first post here) – Target Corp’s undercover Word of Mouth Marketing operation – and found a few nuggets:
The application form at TargetRounders.com is EXTENSIVE. They ask college students for tons of personal information: name, address, date of birth, gender, URLs to their profiles on every social networking site (facebook, myspace, friendster, etc),
And questions to help determine how influential they may be: how many online friends they have, number of IM buddies, numbers stored in their mobile phones, how many people they invite to parties.
Then they find out what their applicants may be willing to do for Target:
If you were selected for the Target Rounders which of the following activities would you most like to participate in?
-Give out samples to friends and classmates
-Forward offers to friends with IM, email, messaging and social networking sites
-Product feedback and reviews
-Research panels and surveys
-Talk to new people about Target
-Report to Target on the latest trends
Is the applicant an influencer? Here’s how they try to find out:
How would you describe yourself in your circle of friends?
-I decide what we’re going to do. Period.
-I’m usually the one that turns them on to cool new stuff.
-I usually keep more to myself
-I’m a team player and Iâ€™ll be up for whatever my friends want to do.
Here’s an example discussion from the Target Rounders Facebook group where a few Rounders discuss the best way to promote free mint samples they’ve been sent:
Related Word of Mouth Marketing Programs
The firm running the Target’s Rounders campaign is New York based marketing firm, Drillteam. They run similar campaigns for Virgin Mobile (Insiders), and the Microsoft Zune (Masters). Their motto is, “Collaborating with Young Adults to Build Brands.”
Time to Open a 2nd Flank in the Battle for Coolness?
Personally, I’d like to see Target start a sister program for Target Rounders called Target Sharpeners. Target Sharpeners would work to make sure the Target brand isn’t associated with uncool people.
First, stores would give plain bags rather than bags with Target logos to uncool Target shoppers (homeless, disabled, overweight, old people).
Second, they’d identify influential losers and steer them toward competitor’s stores by intersecting them in front of Target stores and offering them Wal-Mart gift certificates if they’d immediately leave the property.
There’s more than one way to build brands, ya know.