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MasterCard turns microtrends into money

News, 10 August 2016

NEW YORK: MasterCard, the payments and technology group, is seeking to drive revenue from "microtrends" by rolling out offers linked to relevant topics that are resonating with consumers on social media.

Raja Rajamannar, MasterCard's Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, reported at a recent conference that the firm has built internal capabilities – covering technology and talent – to help identify promising trends on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

"For us to identify something as a trend, it has to be in the top ten percentile in terms of how much share of voice is coming in. That's number one," he said. (For more, including further details of the brand's strategy, read Warc's exclusive report: MasterCard seeks to monetize zeitgeist moments.)

"Number two, we should find a commercialisable opportunity. Because if there is something which talks about Donald Trump – and that is always in the top 10% in any case – do I have a commercial opportunity there? I may not have."

To qualify as a relevant "microtrend", a subject must also generate widespread buzz on social media for a minimum of three days. And MasterCard can call on sophisticated software in spotting prospective candidates in this area.

Additionally, the organisation has team members who are focused on understanding where opportunities to pursue real-time promotions might exist.

"We have got a set of people who are thinking of nothing else but trying to identify: What could that commercial opportunity be?" said Rajamannar.

One illustration of this idea in practice related to Mary Kom, a film charting the life of a female boxer, which was receiving considerable discussion in India.

MasterCard reached an agreement with the movie's distributor to be able to use assets from the film, and introduced a promotion on tickets – fuelling audience numbers and usage of MasterCards at the same time.

As this example shows, the brand's approach to measurement for these activations can focus more heavily on behaviour rather than relying on softer metrics.

"The key thing is, at the end of the day: Did the outcome happen the way we wanted it to? Have people bought the offer?" Rajamannar said. "It is more about doing – 'doing' as in the purchase and commerce part of it – as opposed to just the marketing KPIs."

Data sourced from Warc