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Back-to-School promotions from Target and Sam's Club embrace social media

By Guest Blogger, Donna DeClemente, Donna's Promo Talk

BTS It's that time of year again, the back-to-school shopping season. We've all seen some type of marketing message by now that is promising to help get the kids back to school in style and in gear. I have two college-bound daughters who are both moving off campus this year, so they definitely have a few more "needs". My husband and I now have the privilege of paying partial rent on an apartment in Manhattan and a house in Buffalo. We would really rather have that cottage on the lake though. Oh well, not this year!

Target is again doing a great job of marketing to the back-to-school college kids. We saw this great looking couch that has sides that fold down so it can be used as a bed. It will make a great addition for the small New York apartment. Students can go to Target.com/collegehub and go through a checklist that includes items such as bed risers, Kindles and blackboard refrigerators. After checking their items, they can then either print the list at home or pick it up at a store kiosk, and share via Facebook. Supposedly some 65 college Facebook pages have added the list.

Target-FB-WelcomeTarget is using the BTS season to grow it's Facebook page. Their "1,000 Likes" promotion is running throughout August, Monday through Friday. The first 1,000 guests to "like" a deal get a mobile coupon offering up to 40 and 50% off. Plus they are engaging fans on their page by asking questions, for example: "Back-to-College debate: Cold pizza or cold Pop-Tarts?". As of this writing they received 2,098 comments to this one post and 1,067 people like this. It appears that Cold Pizza was winning the debate. Pretty simple strategy here.

According to a new survey from CouponCabin.com 64% of the 3,400 parents it polled plan to use either a coupon or an online code for shopping, with 59% expecting to use coupons for clothing and 37% expecting to apply them to electronics purchases. And 43% say they plan to do more shopping online, to find better deals, ease the shopping hassle and save on gas.

I have to admit that I just purchased some bedding online and before I finished the check-out process I searched online for promotional codes for that retailer. I found a code that not only gave me an additional 20% off, but also free shipping. Now these codes don't always work and many have expired, but it's worth the extra effort to look for them.

There appear to be many BTS promotions focused specifically on style this year. I can't seem to get that TV ad out of my head from Target of the strange guy talking to us parents, playing the piano and singing about all the stuff the kids need to get back to school in style. You know the one "denim, tunics, hoodies, graphic tees, backpacks, denim". Annoying yes, but I recall it so I guess it works.

At the American Sweepstakes & Promotion Company we've been involved with many different sweepstakes promotions for clients that have kicked-off during the BTS season. One very unique one was the Sam's Club Sam's-Club-BTSBack to College Foursquare Giveaway that was targeted to college student members. Sam's Club featured 10 of their locations located in various markets throughout the U.S. Students were invited to "check-in" on Foursquare on July 30th at one of these 10 locations for a chance to win a HP TouchPad Tablet. One prize per store was awarded and the winner got to pick up their tablet in the store. A pre-selected time was assigned (not known to participants) and the person who checked-in closest to that time in each store was the winner.

FoursquareI believe we will be seeing many more Foursquare promotions soon, especially for this upcoming holiday season. Foursquare recently announced their do-it-yourself brand pages that basically let's anyone sign up for their own page. All you need is a Twitter account for authentication. I haven't tried this yet, but hope to soon.

Anyhow, happy BTS shopping. My credit card is going to be busy the next couple of weeks. At least I will be supporting the economy, right?

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