How did Uber become the most highly valued private tech company of all time? Now valued at nearly $50 billion, the ride-sharing startup’s success has been partly driven by engaging the marketplace with unique marketing campaigns, many of which have gone viral.
In the past couple of years, there has been strong customer interest in Uber’s campaigns, which have included free rides at Austin’s SXSW Conference, as well as, delivered roses on Valentine’s Day, among others.
A Summer Treat
On Friday, the company will continue its creative approach by rolling out a popular summer treat: ice cream. On July 24, customers can get curbside ice cream delivery in more than 100 U.S. cities, according to Uber’s website. On Friday, customers can open the Uber app between 11 am and 5pm EST. Customers then get the treat wherever they are within minutes of using the app, according to the company.
The company’s ice cream campaign extends beyond the U.S. to include countries such as Australia and Singapore. And in the U.S., those who use a Capital One card as the method of payment get free ice cream.
The viral quality of such campaigns have resulted in lower-than-usual customer acquisition costs, which means the ridesharing startup can save millions of dollars in ad spend in bypassing traditional channels and old-and-tried PR stunts. Uber’s promotional approach is also a case study of how creative and digital methods often buck classic marketing (i.e., television, print, radio, etc.). Despite the lower customer acquisition costs, the company often gets more media coverage and social shares.
In 2013 and 2014, the company’s Uber Kittens campaign delivered kittens for free in various U.S. cities. And during Christmas 2013, the company amassed more than 60,000 toys in a toy drive that leveraged Uber’s network of vehicles as collection points.
The company’s approach shows how marketing is rapidly evolving in order to attract a younger demographic, such as Millennials and Generation Z. With device-obsessed people having much shorter attention spans, creative schemes such as free rides, flowers on Valentine’s, and ice cream treats provide tangible benefits that resonate with most everyone. As a result, Uber’s brand naturally elevates and differentiates itself.
Corporate partners are lining up to be a part of the success. For the ice cream campaign, Uber partnered with Capital One, with the latter offering payment alternatives for riders. “The Uber Ice Cream offer is the latest example of how Capital One is making life easier – and more delicious – for all of its cardholders,” a Capital One spokesperson tells Business Examiner. “The sweet deal is part of a larger, ongoing partnership with Uber in which Capital One customers get 20 percent back on all Uber rides paid for with their Quicksilver card through April 2016.”