Daily Report: SNA Foundation’s North American Innovation Mission

Friday Afternoon Report from Metroland Media – Mashing Up Mobile and Group Deals with UofCheap.com

Innovation Mission attendees Brandon Erlacher, Publisher of The Elkhart Truth, and Suzanne Schlicht, COO of The World Company, enjoying some UofCheap.com swag.
Innovation Mission attendees Brandon Erlacher, Publisher of The Elkhart Truth, and Suzanne Schlicht, COO of The World Company, enjoying some UofCheap.com swag.

With a specific target of college/university students, UofCheap.com takes the student discount card concept to the medium of choice for most young people – the smart phone.

UofCheap.com has gone hyper-local and is targeting all of the colleges and universities in the province of Ontario. The site includes a mix of daily and stagnant deals (stagnant deals are anytime deals – not necessarily deeply discounted). On the daily deal side, users get email alerts each day when the new deal is posted.

They are focusing on an email acquisition strategy and have set up student ambassadors on each campus to promote the product. Students sign up on the web site and access the deals via a mobile app (branded individually for each campus). They are running cool contests such as “tell us about your last cheap date” or “cheap shots at a sporting event.” Some are video contests that appear on YouTube. They have sign ups on campus and give out Kit Kats and promotional items.

Merchants are provided extensive information about the offer downloads as well as tools to measure redemption rates.

The champions at Metroland are a pair of young up-and-comers – Graeme McIntosh and Aashish Nathwani. They are passionate and energetic and strongly believe in the product. They also believe that most college students aren’t even using online much anymore and that everything now centers on the mobile device. Nathwani would know best as he is a recent college graduate.

“The take-away here was two-fold,” said Nancy Lane, SNA President. “This awesome product allows us to use new technology to reach 18-24 year olds and it provides yet another application for the very popular group deals category.” Metroland CEO Ian Oliver told attendees that group deals will surpass outdoor advertising this year and possibly radio (and it didn’t even exist two years ago).

The UofCheap presentation was the perfect ending to the Innovation Mission study trip. Like all of the others, it was inspiring and thought-provoking. Special thanks to Ian Oliver, Betty Carr and their team at Metroland for an unbelievable day of learning.

Next Up: Key take aways from Innovation Mission Attendees from the week-long study trip.