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Socially fueled 'green' contest wins big for Cartridge World

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Cartridge World North America is a franchiser of more than 600 stores in the U.S. that refill printer ink cartridges and toners. The company has Facebook and Twitter pages as well as marketing campaigns that promote the brand. In the spring, Cartridge World created a monthlong campaign designed to increase the number of its Facebook followers and drive traffic to the corporate website, according to Sharon Kinkade, the company's director-marketing based in Cartridge World's Emeryville, Calif., office. The company's Earth Day campaign ran throughout April (Earth Day this year was April 22) and was promoted with television spots and on Facebook, as well as in its stores. The promotion—“Go Green, Win Green”—included a contest with a couponing incentive. The campaign drove people to the Cartridge World website, where visitors were encouraged to enter the contest by describing how they “greened” their home or office. For its franchise owners, Cartridge World created posters, flyers, e-newsletter headers and Facebook profile images, as well as a counter mat, all disseminated via an online portal. “We got many ideas from [companies] that said they were printing on both sides [of a document] using recycled cartridges, and turning computers off when they left their buildings,” said Kinkade, of the contest entries. Even those who didn't want to enter the contest could participate by “liking” the Cartridge World corporate Facebook page and receiving a $2- or $5-off coupon, depending on the product, that could be used at a local store. During the campaign the company updated its Facebook page two to three times a week, posting about Earth Day and the advantages of using its products. “We were posting quotes from businesses that were our customers explaining the benefits of our stores,” Kinkade said. “For example, we had a post from a school in Atlanta that said they saved more than $10,000 over a year's time. I think it spoke to businesses in particular because during April it's always more top-of-mind for b-to-b's to become a little greener.” The campaign, developed in-house, generated more than 500,000 hits to the corporate website and garnered more than 11,000 contest entries. It also generated a 600% increase in the number of Cartridge World's Facebook followers while promoting the brand, Kinkade said. “Many people were not familiar with our brand but, since one component was asking people to tell other people about it, the campaign went fairly viral, which was one of the things we were looking for,” she said. Cartridge World expects to host another Earth Day event next year, but with more of a grassroots flavor, Kinkade said, since the company is currently working on a social media platform for its franchisees that it expects to launch in a few months. This, she said, will let franchisees manage the Earth Day campaign on a local level.
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