Top brands around the world—like SONIC, T-Mobile, and AT&T—have found tremendous success using exclusive offers to engage customers. This technique—known as identity marketing—works because it targets consumer communities whose members are united by deeply personal traits such as their job, lifestage, or affiliation.
By offering groups such as the military, students, or healthcare workers gated discounts, you win their business and form an emotional bond that leads to loyalty. And when you protect these offers with digital verification, you prevent fraud while establishing trust and goodwill. In return, brands see significant boosts in acquisition, loyalty, and other success metrics.
But simply creating an offer isn’t enough; you also need to get the word out so that the right customers can redeem it.
There are many ways to market an offer, and the best promotion strategy for your brand will depend on your goals, your offer, and the interests of your target audience. Here are three brands that have done an exceptional job marketing their exclusive offers and what you can learn from their success.
Comcast Spreads the Word with Brand Ambassadors
Comcast is a well-known brand, but it realized that its Xfinity On Campus (XOC) service for students needed some TLC. To improve its outreach to students, Comcast:
Expanded its offer to serve students regardless of living situation.
Added tempting perks, like a free VISA prepaid card and Amazon Music for 6 months.
Partnered with SheerID to protect the offer and gather zero-party data that could be used to re-engage student subscribers.
The brand took promotions seriously, partnering with Riddle & Bloom to build an effective marketing strategy. Comcast promoted the student offer in a variety of ways, including influencers, email, digital ads, social media, paid search, video, and radio.
But the real star of the show was the peer-to-peer marketing campaign, where student ambassadors provided authenticity and adapted messaging to each school. These ambassadors:
Engaged peers by working Xfinity into existing school programming and activities.
Hosted their own on-campus events.
Published promotional content on their Instagram accounts.
With the voices of real students backing its brand, Comcast was able to connect with students on a deeper level and foster trust.
And it all paid off. Comcast’s Senior Director of Acquisition Marketing reported: “Xfinity’s College Student Program is the top performing gated program in Comcast history, and much of the credit goes to SheerID and Riddle & Bloom. Their holistic approach fully ensured we could reach the right audience and deliver targeted product messaging in a credible way.”
Willow Shares Customer Stories and Encourages Word-of-Mouth
Willow is a brand with a lot of heart. Its goal is to support busy mothers with its in-bra breast pump, and it especially wants to give back to frontline workers such as healthcare professionals, teachers, first responders, and military personnel. SheerID helped Willow launch its “Everyday Heroes” deal, which drove a 40% increase in sales.
The brand used some traditional marketing techniques, promoting its offer via the website, email, and social. Willow drives further engagement by running giveaways and providing special offers to honor significant events such as Veterans Day, First Responders Day, and Back-to-School.
It also made a smart choice to highlight real stories from customers on its website. These interviews—which take the form of blog articles and videos—talk about not only breastfeeding but everything that comes with being a mother. The stories are heartfelt and honest, encouraging an emotional connection and loyalty to the brand.
And it works: the mothers who use Willow’s products are some of Willow’s best promoters. According to Willow CMO Sarah Leary: “The moms we reach through our identity marketing programs deliver the greatest word-of-mouth. If you work at a hospital and another new mom tells you she’s using our product, that’s a powerful recommendation.”
It’s not surprising: offers that recognize and reward consumers for their identities are notorious for driving word-of-mouth buzz. In fact, 98% of teachers and healthcare workers would share an offer with others who were eligible. Willow helps its customers in achieving their dreams, and, in turn, they help Willow by championing the brand.
StudentUniverse Capitalizes on Influencer Marketing
Founded in 2000, StudentUniverse partners with 200+ airlines to make travel more affordable for students and young adults. It understands that travel is expensive and wants to make it as accessible as possible to young adults while teaching them how to make smart travel decisions. As UK General Manager Sam Wilan put it: “In a nutshell, we’re advocates for young people seeing the world. We believe that travel is essential to modern day education.”
Since partnering with SheerID for digital verification, StudentUniverse has verified more than 2.1 million students.
And what better way to connect with Gen Z audiences than through social media?
StudentUniverse uses influencers and travel vloggers to promote their student-exclusive travel business and engage consumers at the top of the funnel. This is an effective strategy given that 47% of Gen Z follow and buy from influencers, and 33% have made a purchase based on an influencer’s suggestion in the past 6 months.
On StudentUniverse’s social channels, you can find:
Beautiful travel shots sure to trigger FOMO.
Helpful travel tips from relatable young adults.
Fun videos hopping on the latest TikTok trends.
Influencers serving up some travel inspo and endorsing the brand.
Stories from actual young adults who Gen Z consumers can connect with.
Content that is optimized for SEO.
To further show its support for its customers, the StudentUniverse blog is jam-packed with helpful travel tips, itineraries, and other content geared strategically to Gen Z consumers.
In addition, StudentUniverse partners with Amazon to provide even more impressive deals for students using Amazon Prime. This allows the travel brand to benefit from Amazon’s over 200 million Prime users worldwide and gain even greater visibility.
Build an Offer and Kickstart Your Promotion Strategy
Ready to start your identity marketing journey? SheerID’s Identity Marketing Platform makes it easy for brands to build exclusive offers, and thanks to our instant, seamless verification process, you can protect against fraud without negatively impacting the user experience.