Ever heard of the Maker's Mark Ambassador program? Neither had I until my boyfriend introduced me. It's an "exclusive" word of mouth program that is by invitation only. Essentially members are rewarded for sharing their positive experience with the Maker's Mark brand... but it's more than that. An effective WOM program is incredibly hard to develop and maintain but it's incredibly cost effective. We all know that we trust our peers more than we trust advertising. Most if not all consumers rely on some sort of peer feedback when making purchases. This program has taken WOM to a whole new level!
When you enroll in the program you receive gifts periodically, and with each gift comes a few postcards or business cards for you to pass out to friends. You are encouraged to invite your friends to join the exclusive program. Keep in mind that the gift is typically some sort of branded item. This past Christmas my boyfriend received wrapping paper, tissue paper, gift cards and a gift bag, all branded with the Maker's Mark logo. So each ambassador is continuously advertising for the liquor by spreading the gifts and postcards among friends! Quite ingenious.
Anyways, the ultimate goal of the program is having your name put on a barrel of whiskey! Once you register as a brand ambassador it takes 9 months to get your name on a barrel. My boyfriend received the "historic" birth announcement today. The barrel will age for 7 years and all the while he will continue to receive special gifts for being a member. Once the barrel is ready to be distributed he is invited to purchase a bottle from his batch.
This is an amazing marketing campaign in so many ways!