On Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts defeated the Tennessee Titans to become the AFC South Champions. Before the game, however, Colts owner Jim Irsay ran an absolutely brilliant marketing campaign over Twitter.
In case you weren't up on the details, let's review Irsay's tweets from December 31st:
TO WIN A PRIUS AND $4K—At 1:15pm this Sunday there will be a black Prius parked on the north exterior plaza outside Lucas Oil Stadium…
TO WIN A PRIUS AND $4K—Entrants must be 18 yrs or older AND following @jimirsay on Twitter.com…
TO WIN A PRIUS AND $4K—ONE entry per person, multiple entries disqualifies you (not kidding)!…
TO WIN A PRIUS AND $4K—At 1pm this Sunday I will tweet a question. You can enter by tweeting your answer.
TO WIN A PRIUS AND $4K—Ur tweet MUST contain your name as it appears on your driver's license AND include @jimirsay AND #gocolts.
Let's dismiss the obvious advantages of this kind of promotion. Any time you give away a valuable prize, you generate lots of buzz and interest in the brand. You strengthen loyalty. You make a lot of people happy, and potentially one person tremendously happy. Contests are usually great.
But the Colts marketing team did something absolutely brilliant with this campaign, something that would be expensive and time consuming to do otherwise: They crowdsourced an accurate list of Colts Fans and Twitter handles.
Think about it! Great marketing requires a clean, accurate, cross-referenced database. The development of new technologies such as Twitter means that there are new ways to reach people, but at the same time, it's tremendously useful to be able to connect fans to Twitter accounts.
Take a look, as an example, at Twitter user @DeadStroke96. You can tell he's a huge NFL fan just by reading his Tweets. But there's no way to know who he is, since this user did not provide a name on his Twitter profile. In fact, lots of people just use an alias, a first name or a nick name online. There's no easy way to cross-reference with all of the official data you might have on someone, such as purchase history, marketing databases, etc.
But now, Jim Irsay (and everyone) knows that @DeadStroke96 is George Ketchman. It looks like hundreds—if not thousands—of people voluntarily gave clean, accurate data for this contest. Head over to Twitter Search to see for yourself. (You can search for “#gocolts @jimirsay footballs” to narrow the results.)
One of the best ways to increase productivity is to shift work to other people. The Colts could have spent countless hours tracking down all of Jim Irsay's followers, looking at their profiles and their tweets to try and determine their full legal names. Or, they can run the same contest they would anyway, and let people do the work themselves.
Good work, Jim Irsay and the Colts marketing team!