Hacking the Market: IKEA's Social Offers that Crowdsource Promotion

Reading about advertising can be a drag. It takes more scientific effort than any given Sally has on any given Thursday to understand groupthink or try to "ramp up SEO." But, when IKEA saw their annual growth in the U.S. decline -- mostly attributed to fewer new store openings -- their first thought was definitely not "We're not dealing with this." Instead, they studied the issue and worked efficiently towards its solution.

A Mashable piece by Amy-Mae Elliott from late last year explores the study and subsequent advertising strategies that are working to change how women with young families view IKEA. It's a thrilling read (if you're into that sort of thing) about understanding how to understand.  Many of the lessons therein can be applied in other areas as well.

More specifically, and recently, Business Growth investigated the second part of IKEA's promotional plan: Social Offers. Did you say "social!?" Now we're talkin'!

Even more so than the original article, the BG piece offers great insight into promoting your site and work without being a pesky SPAM-bot. One thing IKEA did -- something other sites have had success with and something we're hoping to implement in the future -- was to open up their website to user contributions.  This is something Ikea Hackers, one of our fave sites,has mastered. From the article:

If you’ve ever taken on the project of remodel or designing a room, you know how proud you feel when it’s done. IKEA keyed right into their customers’ desire to show off their hard work and satisfied that desire with a very public, gorgeous site for customers to share. Women (and men, of course) can post their pictures, provide that House Beautiful quote, and then share it with their friends and relatives. The traffic they drive goes right to IKEA’s site, which also includes a blog, where potential customers can browse and get inspired to share. Oh, and guess what? You (or presumably IKEA) can tag IKEA items in the pictures, in which case product information and pricing appears with a link to the main IKEA ecommerce site.

I guess what we're basically saying is: "send us pics of your PANYLed pieces so we can post them!!!"