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How MasterCard Generates ROI Through Social Media

ImageI produce an event called the Westchester Digital Summit. This year we were named by Forbes as one of the "Must-Attend Marketing Conferences For Leaders in 2014." Each year we curate the brightest minds in tech, media, and entertainment. This year's event, held on May 15th, lived up to that moniker.

The panel I moderated included speakers (L to R in the photo above) Brett Wein, Sales Director at Facebook; Andrew Goldman, Global Brand Marketing, Agency Partner Lead at LinkedIn; myself; Gregg Weiss, VP Social Media at MasterCard; and Linda Boff, Executive Director, Global Brand Marketing, GE. A true powerhouse lineup.

A highlight for me was the moment when Gregg Weiss was explaining to the audience how MasterCard keeps “Priceless” fresh – by offering their fans “priceless surprises.” The way he pulled this off in a room of 300 digital marketing executives was a thing of beauty. 

Gregg turned to the crowd and posed the question:

"What are you passionate about?"

To which an audience member blurted out:

"The Mets!"

Gregg replied:

"Do you have a MasterCard?"

Audience member:


Gregg turned to the other side of the room:

"What are you passionate about?"

Another audience member shouted:

"The Yankees!"

Gregg replied:

"Do YOU have a MasterCard?"

Audience member:


"Great," said Gregg, standing up and reaching into his pocket. "You just won a $50 MasterCard gift card."

The crowd erupted in applause.

Greg sat back down in his chair and explained why that exchange was important and a great real life representation of how MasterCard engages with their community via social media. He started by saying that MasterCard is interested in their community - so they ask questions and engage with them. He also created something he referred to as "card envy." The first audience member didn't have a MasterCard, and missed out on the "priceless surprise" of a $50 gift card. Envy ensues. Brilliant. I'm certain that some in the audience were upset that they hadn't chimed in as well. He trained them to always be on the lookout for "priceless surprises" guaranteeing future engagement.

The final maraschino cherry on top was that after Gregg sat back down at his seat and began explaining what he'd just done an audience member shouted:

"Can I get an application for a MasterCard?"

If that's not ROI, I'm not sure what is.

Photo Credit: Pinksy Studios

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