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Macy’s targets USA Today mobile consumers to drive traffic in-store

February 23, 2011

Macy's partners with USA Today

NEW YORK – Retail giant Macy’s ran a multichannel activation targeting male users of USA Today’s mobile properties with the goal of driving traffic in-store.

A Gannett Co. Inc. executive discussed the campaign during a presentation at the Mobile Marketing Day conference, which was cohosted by Mobile Marketer and the Direct Marketing Association. Rimma Kats, staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York, moderated the session.

“Mobile advertising is key to the future,” said Craig Etheridge, vice president of mobile advertising sales for USA Today at Gannett Digital, Washington. “It is the most personalized device, critical mass has been achieved, media consumption continues to change and there is not a tremendous barrier to get into mobile.

“Advertisers and publishers need to service consumers on their terms,” he said. “Macy’s is a big partner with us.

“It promotes all of its two-day sales throughout the year, and the Men’s Wardrobe Sale campaign started in print, moved online and we included a mobile element, letting consumers opt-in on Android and iPhone devices.”

Gannett’s USA Today newspaper was one of the early pioneers in mobile, launching SMS alerts more than a decade ago and then following up with a mobile site.

The portfolio now includes sophisticated mobile applications for smartphones and Apple’s iPad as well, allowing the publisher to offer advertising across all mobile channels.

Multichannel push featuring mobile
Macy’s decided to run homepage takeovers of USA Today’s PC and mobile sites, as well as its applications for Apple’s iPhone and iPad and Google’s Android devices.

The multichannel campaign included banners of various sizes getting the word out about the retailer’s Men’s Wardrobe Sale.

In addition to the homepage, the banner ads appeared on the front pages of various sections, including News, Money and Sports.

The banners promoted free shipping for online and mobile orders and offered consumers an extra 20 percent off with a coupon, as well as an extra 15 percent off shoes.

The call-to-action asked consumers to click to print the coupon, dubbed an “in-store savings pass.”

Mobile redemption was also an option.

Banner ads within USA Today’s applications for iPhone and Android drove to a landing page asking consumers to “sign up now to receive the Macy’s Men’s Savings Pass.”

Consumers who entered their email address received the coupon in their inbox.

Macy’s and USA Today also activated the campaign with street teams at Grand Central Station and Macy’s Herald Square in New York.

Known as the “Hawker” program, Macy’s custom belly bands were wrapped around 7,500 copies of USA Today.

“The Macy’s campaign took advantage of full implementation of various channels to get people to download the offer onto their mobile devices and go into Macy’s to redeem it,” Mr. Etheridge said.

“What you can do in the mobile space is really measure the engagement—it’s not just about clicks anymore,” he said.

“When someone clicks on an ad and it expands, you have them for 15 or 30 seconds and you don’t have to drive them anywhere—it can be click-to-call or click to download an app.”

Final Take
Mr. Etheridge

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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