5 Reasons to Target First Responders with Personalized Promotions

Posted on Feb 3, 2020 · 5 min read

Personalized promotions can be a highly effective way to acquire new customers, but personalized emails aren’t enough. Shoppers want brands to truly support them and their communities. Nearly two-thirds of consumers prefer to buy from companies that reflect their own values and beliefs.

Brands have been using cause marketing to demonstrate this kind of alignment with their customers for years. But Tuft & Needle is taking this values-driven approach to a whole new level with a program that honors every community’s unsung heroes: first responders.

Using Personalized Promotions to Drive Cause Marketing

Tuft & Needle has been shaking up the mattress industry since Daehee Park and JT Marino realized “buying a mattress totally sucked.” The two entrepreneurs created a website to gauge people’s interest in buying one online. When the answer was yes, they co-founded Tuft & Needle. Their goals were to reshape the industry’s values and put the communities Tuft & Needle served first.  

To fulfill this mission, the company launched a personalized promotion that gave the military community an exclusive 15% discount. Tuft & Needle originally verified customer eligibility manually, but as the program grew, the company streamlined the process by switching to digital verification. It also extended the offer to first responders—a move that demonstrated the company’s ongoing commitment to causes that matter to its customers.

“First responders provide our communities with an invaluable service, so rewarding them with a discount was an easy decision,” said Melanie LaDue, Tuft & Needle’s Gives Back lead. “The program paired beautifully with our other community-based initiatives.”

5 Reasons Why Tuft & Needle’s First Responder Campaign Is a Winning Strategy 

Tuft & Needle’s program is smart marketing because it doesn’t just reward first responders, it benefits the company by helping it:

01 Raise Brand Awareness

Tuft & Needle’s first responder program is a great way to win the hearts and minds of all consumers because everyone appreciates the critical role first responders play in keeping their communities safe. And it’s a marketing strategy that’s guaranteed to turn heads: 90% of shoppers are likely to switch to a cause-branded product.

“We’re rewarding first responders with a discount because they deserve it,” Melanie said. “And because we believe doing what’s right is good business practice.”

90% of shoppers are likely to switch to a cause-branded product.

02 Increase Differentiation

Tuft & Needle already stood out with their personalized promotion for the military, but their identity marketing campaign to first responders makes the company really shine. And while standing out from the crowd is important to every business, the stakes are even higher for online mattress companies—a category that has swelled to more than 150 brands.

“Our industry is flooded with marketing and sales tactics that can overwhelm shoppers,” Melanie said. “Honoring first responders is a mission-driven approach that helps us rise above the noise.”

03 Leverage Word-of-Mouth

Brands that engage first responders harness the power of social sharing because members of consumer tribes are deeply connected and love to spread the word about a good deal. A recent survey revealed that 96% of the military would share a personalized military offer with others in the military community.

Tuft & Needle saw firsthand how this social sharing pays off. The company had been donating mattresses to local firehouses because it believes everyone deserves a good night’s sleep, and firefighters greatly appreciated the high quality mattresses. When Tuft & Needle began offering a discount to first responders, they let everyone know.   

“We’ve heard from a number of firefighters that they loved the mattresses so much they bought them for their families,” Melanie said. “Word-of-mouth among first responders has helped the program grow by leaps and bounds.”

"Word of mouth among first responders has helped the program to grow by leaps and bounds." -- Melanie LaDue, Gives Back Lead Tuft&Needle

04 Create a Customer-Friendly Experience

First responders love how simple it is to purchase a mattress from Tuft & Needle. They simply enter basic information into a form on the company’s website, and digital verification instantly confirms their eligibility for the promotion. They don’t have to jump through numerous hoops or share highly personal data. 

Tuft & Needle makes the discount even easier to access by providing a dedicated landing page and linking to it from the footer of its website. The company also displays a prominent link to the page in its shopping cart, so eligible customers who weren’t aware of the discount can click through and add it.

And knowing the promotion is truly exclusive makes it even more appealing to its audience. “When we manually verified our military offer, veterans expressed concern that we didn’t have a more secure process in place,” said Brooke Figlo, Tuft & Needle’s head of public relations. “Digital verification reassures recipients that the offer is truly just for them, which builds trust in our brand and has a real impact on revenue. In our first month using digital verification, we had more military members redeem the offer than the entire previous year.”

05 Reach New Segments

With 1.1 million firefighters, 1 million police officers, and more than 248,000 EMTs and paramedics, first responders are a significant and influential group of consumers. Using a personalized promotion to engage them helps Tuft & Needle to expand into new audiences. 

“Our personalized offer to first responders is a terrific way for us to acquire new customers—not just in that consumer tribe, but among all the people who support them,” Melanie said. “It’s a win for us and the communities we serve.”

"Our personalized offer to first responders is a terrific way for us to acquire new customers -- not just in that consumer tribe, but among the people who support them." -- Melanie LaDue, Gives Back Lead Tuft&Needle

Read our e-book: The Definitive Guide to Identity Marketing

Tony Coray by Tony Coray