Though you probably don’t want to celebrate Tax Day, many marketers are
hoping to turn that around.
The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported
that the Internal Revenue Service received more than 137.3 million tax
returns in 2015—and nearly 88 percent of them were filed online. That
spells out a huge marketing opportunity for those wishing to grab
consumers’ attention (and a few dollars).
Tax Day is April 18 this year, instead of the usual April 15. Office
Depot’s online team might have overlooked that:
Other organizations have been flexing their digital marketing muscles with
a bevy of promotions and refund suggestions.
Freebies and promotions
Consumers can find culinary rewards (if not tax relief) in the form of
deals and freebies
for tax day—from money off a food purchase to a
free beer at the end of the day.
A few savvy marketers included a nod to the 1040 tax form in their campaigns, such as Bruegger’s Bagels and Noodles & Company:
The deals and freebies extend beyond edibles, too. HydroMassage and Planet
Fitness have teamed up for the ninth year to offer free massages to those
who filed their taxes:
are offering coupons for free document shredding (keep in mind that the IRS
says to keep your tax documents for seven years), and the National Park
Service is celebrating its 100th birthday and National Park Week by
offering a few free weekends. Lucky for its marketers, the weekends fall
before and after Tax Day:
Contests and giveaways
Though the way to customers hearts is often through their wallets, many
marketing pros are using Tax Day to launch contests and giveaways instead
of a free extra or discount to everyone.
Most notably, JetBlue is
giving away 1,000 one-way flights
to consumers who owes taxes, saying it wants to give everyone the chance of
getting a “return”:
However, most brand managers have launched more modest contests to entice potential entrants:
Offering a free item or discount is a straightforward way of attracting new
customers while generating buzz for your brand.
However, by launching a contest or giveaway, marketers can cut down on
costs, potentially yield consumer-generated content (such as a photo
contest) and collect consumers’ data, which you can then use for direct
Calls for tax-return money
[RELATED: Attend the Big 5 Social Media Boot Camp and learn to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Snapchat and Instagram to get huge results.]
Other brand managers weren’t shy about telling consumers how they could
spend their refunds:
However, one dental office also offered a silver
, er, lining: You can probably deduct your purchase.
Tax Day (or any event that has the potential to be newsjacked) wouldn’t be
complete without branded tweets that try, but miss the mark.
Here’s one, which attempted to tie in Tax Day with the upcoming film “The
Book of Henry”:
If your organization doesn’t have an obvious tie-in to a holiday or event
or isn’t offering a promotion (such as a free sandwich or money off your
bill), it’s best to stay silent. Not every social media team is (or should
be) as snarky as DiGiorno Pizza’s team—and even then,
its snark and hunger for attention
landed the brand in hot water.
This lukewarm interaction between McDonald’s and Turbo Tax is another
example of setting your sights too high on a newsjacking opportunity:
It’s tempting for marketers to reply to another brand’s tweet in an attempt
to net viral love
a la Wendy’s
or a popular interaction between
Twitch and Overwatch. There are far more awkward interactions than successes, though.
Before you embark on an attempt, ask yourself whether an online interaction
between your organization and the one you want to publicly address makes
sense. Also consider whether the other brand will play ball. (Tip:
McDonald’s most likely will not.)