The Brilliance of the Izea Kmart Campaign

Izea recently ran a promotion for Kmart that would offer influential bloggers a $500 Kmart gift card, if they blogged about their experience at the store. In addition to offering the bloggers gift cards, they also gave them an additional $500 gift card to offer as a prize to one of their readers. Whether or not you agree with the ethics of the campaign, you have to admit that it was quite brilliant.

Not only did Izea manage to promote Kmart to thousands of blog readers and Twitterers, but the discussion within the blogosphere has generated even more buzz for Kmart, Izea, and the bloggers that participated. Many criticized the participants for writing paid posts. Others weren’t so critical and had no problems with it. Regardless of whether they agreed with the campaign or not, it got a lot of people talking about it.

Chris Brogan responded to the criticism with his thoughts on advertising and trust. I seriously doubt if Brogan and other participants have seen a measurable decrease in followers and subscribers. If anything, the controversy and other discussions may have actually helped to raise awareness of their blogs and their presence within the social networks. The situation demonstrates that any press is good press.

Participants’ Articles

Chris Brogan: Sponsored Post-Kmart Holiday Shopping Dad Style
Loren Feldman: Kmart FTW
Michelle Madhok: Sponsored Post: Win $500 From Kmart And Do Your Holiday Shopping In One Fell Swoop
Jeremy Schoemaker: What Would You Spend $500 At Kmart On?
Julie Roy: My Kmart Shopping Spree
Wendy Piersall: Enter to Win a $500 Kmart Gift Card for Christmas

Recent Articles about Izea and Paid Posts

Cleaning up after a social media shitstorm
Understanding Izea’s Sponsored Blogging Service
Has Paid Posting Finally Matured? And Is Ted Murphy a Genius or What?
Jeremiah Owyang Inserts Foot In Mouth (Again) Over IZEA Sponsored Posts
Paid Posts: Why they’re not that bad, but why you shouldn’t do them
Kmart embracing social media in a unique way
Paid Posts, Izea, Kmart, Sears, Social Media, Reputations and Cash Money
Are Paid Posts now acceptable on blogs? (poll)

And the list goes on and on… The biggest beneficiary of the campaign was not Kmart, the bloggers, or the blog readers. Without a doubt, Izea has received the most benefit. Izea has raised awareness of its services to even more bloggers. Many will join PayPerPost and SocialSpark as a result, and new advertisers will be drawn as well.

About GeekLad

Geeklad is a technology enthusiast and programming hobbyist. Occasionally he will put together useful little bits of code (be it JavaScript or PHP) and share them with the world. He also enjoys creating and sharing howtos, describing how to do the things people want to do with their computers.
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  • http://geeklad.com GeekLad

    I also have my doubts as to the effectiveness the campaign had in driving
    traffic into Kmarts. It will probably result in more money in Ted
    Murphy
    ‘s pockets than in Kmart cash registers.

  • http://thefuturebuzz.com Adam Singer

    Yeah I read about it and was inundated by Kmart and Izea messages. Great – I still haven't gone into Kmart or suggested Izea to a client. I saw the whole thing as a bunch of noise without any signal.

  • http://chrisbrogan.com Chris Brogan

    The effectiveness of the campaign is actually documented on Mediapost.com (I think that's the site). Kmart was so happy they tried the same thing with their Sears brand. So, I dunno.

    (DISCLOSURE: I'm on the fricken advisory board for IZEA, so I hope they win, so maybe I'm a bit biased, and I was in the campaign so I hope it's successful, and not because I want $500 more, but because I had a blast testing out another model for people making money. And I had shrimp quesadillas tonight for supper, and I drank some free wine from South Africa, and I .. have I disclosed enough? Oh wait – I'm not a journalist.)

    There was something else. I forget. Oh yeah. I got 1000 new RSS subscribers, about 300 inbound links, and another 2000 twitter users since the problem. It didn't hurt. I can't answer about Kmart stats. I don't work there. I just buy toys for tots there.

  • http://geeklad.com GeekLad

    According to the MediaPost article, Kmart did see an increase in the Virtue Social Media Index (SMI) from 12.8 in November to 23.21 last week. I just checked it now, and Kmart's SMI is at 35.6. Certainly the campaign was successful in increasing the mention of Kmart within social media, but the true measure of sucess in my opinion would be how much EBIT it produced after deducting the expense of the campaign. Unfortunately this would be something very difficult to measure, because it would be lost in the noise of the daily fluctuations in sales, seasonality, economic conditions, etc.

    Very cool stats regarding your new subscriptions, inbound links, and Twitter users. I'm pleased to learn the event had more positive effect than anything else. Even when a few people criticize your actions, the noise they make has very little effect on the many others that trust you. I can't imagine anyone wanting to stop following you on Twitter or unsubscribing to your feed after the event. In fact, I think what is happening is quite the contrary. They are probably waiting in anticipation of the subsequent interesting things you have to say regarding social media and online marketing.

  • http://geeklad.com GeekLad

    According to the MediaPost article, Kmart did see an increase in the Virtue Social Media Index (SMI) from 12.8 in November to 23.21 last week. I just checked it now, and Kmart's SMI is at 35.6. Certainly the campaign was successful in increasing the mention of Kmart within social media, but the true measure of sucess in my opinion would be how much EBIT it produced after deducting the expense of the campaign. Unfortunately this would be something very difficult to measure, because it would be lost in the noise of the daily fluctuations in sales, seasonality, economic conditions, etc.

    Very cool stats regarding your new subscriptions, inbound links, and Twitter users. I'm pleased to learn the event had more positive effect than anything else. Even when a few people criticize your actions, the noise they make has very little effect on the many others that trust you. I can't imagine anyone wanting to stop following you on Twitter or unsubscribing to your feed after the event. In fact, I think what is happening is quite the contrary. They are probably waiting in anticipation of the subsequent interesting things you have to say regarding social media and online marketing.