Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bribe me with new music, and I'll love you forever

I usually prefer Dunkin' Donuts over Starbucks for the occasional early-morning coffee run, but that's no longer the case on Tuesdays. Starbucks wins me over each Tuesday by handing out pocket-sized cards that feature a new artist on the front. The redemption code on the back then allows me to download the song for free from the iTunes Music Store.

I love this for many reasons. First, the obvious: Free music with my drink. But it's a smart move for Starbucks on several levels. It not only drives foot traffic into stores, but it also reinforces the company's presence in the music retail space. By promoting little-known artists on a national level, the company reminds those shoppers who have bought CDs or DVDs at Starbucks in the past about its new music offerings, while it also gets the word out to the rest of its customers.

And finally, I love that the card represents a bridge to the online world. Since customers can only pick up these cards in a physical location, the free download serves as a reward to those who continue their shopping experience online. And from the end-user's standpoint, that's what I call a gratifying multichannel experience.

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