Everyone knows that the internet is a great medium for any business to promote their products and services.  Within the realm of internet marketing are many tactics.  Email marketing, social media marketing, and search engine marketing come to mind.  A marketer understands the importance of creating an engaging message to capture the diminishing attention span of the internet visitor.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could create something that your customers couldn’t live without?  Sometimes creating unique content just isn’t compelling enough without adding more value.  The perfect marketing collateral is something your customer can use. Interrupting your customers at their point of need and providing something they can incorporate into their lives is now defined as utility marketing.  Below are some great examples of how companies are utilizing utility marketing online.

United Airlines App

Add Sudoku

United Airlines is one of the few companies that truly understands utility marketing.  Not only do they understand the importance of taking advantage of the mobile platform to deliver convenience and value to their traveling customers but they heighten the experience. In their app you can book flights, check flight status, check in, and view your mileage points, all of which are practical.  But United went one step further and added Sudoku and a way to convert currency.  United understands their customers and realized that while their customers are inbetween flights, they can continue to use the app and keep the company in mind.

Starbucks App

Add Music

Starbucks is another company that executes utility marketing with aplomb.  They have been doing utility marketing offline for a few years by giving away a song of the week on iTunes via an in-store card with a download code.  Now they have taken it one step further and integrated it with their Starbucks Rewards app.  The app allows customers to earn rewards by accruing stars.  Customers can also receive birthday rewards, gifts, and search for the closest Starbucks store.  By integrating their song of the week giveaway into the app, now app users can redeem a free song right on their phone automatically instead of having to come into the store to pick up a card.  By giving away music, Starbucks has created an additional channel to become part of their customers’ lives besides delivering coffee.

Superpages Mobile App

Add Gas

This example comes from our very own Superpages app.  The Superpages app uses location tracking to allow users to search for local businesses. You can find great places to eat, fun attractions, home services, and even bacon.  However, the app goes one step further with a way for people to search for the cheapest gas prices in the immediate area.  Instead of simply providing a directory of businesses, the experience is heightened with a free service any mobile user can benefit from.

Utility marketing is providing an additional value beyond what is normally expected of your business. It’s about offering complementary products or services that benefit your customer’s personal life.  Another way to think about it is, if your product was peanut butter, how could you add jelly to bring it to another level?

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