This summer on the beach, instead of my typical stock of mindless vacation reading of assorted magazines and trashy novels, I am going to indulge myself by flipping through Pinterest on my iPad. I love to spend time delving into my interests and seeing what others are inspired by.
As a marketer, my interest in Pinterest is more than personal. We are only just beginning to mine Pinterest’s power to chronicle and curate our lives (more deeply than fleeting Facebook posts ever could). A picture, as they say, can paint a thousand words.
As the nearly 4 million users every day (as of March, 2012) are busy building boards with images that inspire their lives, I can’t help imagining the memories these pictures will evoke for these folks down the road. One day in the future, our 24-year-old Account Executive (currently pinning wedding dresses, hairstyles and party ideas) will be exploring baby clothes and then, travel spots and house stuff she loves. She’ll be able to look back on many years of her pins and smile, cringe and remember.
If only Kodak had thought of Pinterest! Once they lost the digital vs. film battle, it was time to shift their business paradigm. Too bad they didn’t catch on that they could be a brand name online platform for sharing pictures and passions.
Most marketers haven’t yet figured out how to best leverage Pinterest, but a few are capitalizing on the opportunity to reward and encourage their consumers’ passions, and recognize what Pinterest is becoming, a lifestyle brand in its own right.
Three recent standouts are:
- Kotex selected 50 women whose boards had “inspiring visuals” and sent each a personalized gift box with real-life products they had pinned and liked. Talk about targeting! Results: 2,300 interactions and almost 700,000 impressions from re-pins, FB posts, and tweets.
- Honda just launched a promotion giving $500 to a handful of active pinners, asking them to take a day off from the site and treat themselves to the things they’ve been pinning about (one guy is taking a trip to London). In return, they agree to share images from their experience on Honda’s Pinterest page after coming back. Should be interesting to see results from this one!
- State of Maryland is running a “pitch” contest for small businesses, students and entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas using 10 images on a Pinterest board. Winners will receive prizes and be featured on the governor’s website.
Beyond quick contests and promotions though, my bet (and hope) is that users will stay with Pinterest over the long haul – and continue to share their interests and inspirations throughout their lives.
Then, smart marketers will find opportunities to spot trends that endure (and don’t) and track the pathways from trivial interests to serious pursuits.
And I will have beach-browsing material for life!