How GE Modernized an Old-School Strategy With Social and Mobile, Reaching 40 Million Local Shoppers

Making co-op easy for retailers

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For an appliance brand like General Electric, partnering with retailers for sales is nothing new, but this year the tech company is taking a fresh approach driven by social and mobile. 

GE recently invited 40 merchants to promote local offers via Promoboxx's digital marketing system. In a two-week effort, GE reached 40 million local consumers on Facebook while garnering 1.7 million geo-targeted impressions on mobile apps such as TuneIn Radio, MeetMe, MLB, TextNow, WeatherBug, Accuweather and ABC News.


Here's how it worked:

Promoboxx developed ads and landing pages for General Electric's Slate Appliances line, offering a $500 rebate that was co-branded for the retailers, highlighting one of their local stores. The static ad's content could be repurposed for the merchants' organic posts via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and email newsletters. When it comes to paid and organic marketing, participating retailers included brands like Karl's, RC Willey, P.C. Richards, Famous Tate and Spencers TV & Appliance.

"Retailers were awarded at no cost to them," said Jason West, general manager merchandising and training at GE Appliances.

Indeed, it's not exactly a classic case of co-op advertising, where the three tiers of retail—manufacturers, distributors and store owners—pool their resources in order to boost product sales. This is more of a case of GE putting a twist on the old-school concept by spearheading it with Promoboxx, making the program simple for the retailers.

With Facebook ads, West said the brand quickly learned which ad approach worked best: "We purchased both on the right column and mobile newsfeed. Our focus now is entirely on the newsfeed."

GE said last summer it paid a cost-per-thousand (CPM) rate of $3.65 on Facebook and achieved a .5 percent click-through rate across various mobile apps and sites. Such stats are why the strategy continues to be leveraged.

Promoboxx, which works with Nissan, Pepsi, Timberland and Trek Bikes on similar efforts, explained how it recruited the 40 retailers for GE's endeavor:

"We sent an email invitation for retailers to participate in the campaign, and the local ads were run automatically as retailers promoted the campaign through their digital channels," said Ben Carcio,  CEO of the Boston-based Promoboxx, which competes with other social-ads vendors such as Moontoast. "Local consumers engaged with the content across the retailers' digital channels."

@Chris_Heine Christopher Heine is a New York-based editor and writer.