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Heart of Iowa Communications Cooperative's 'go green' contest a hit.

With "going green" at the forefront of many people's minds, Heart of Iowa Communications Cooperative (Union, Iowa) wanted a unique way to encourage members to recycle. So, the cooperative went a step further and incorporated a promotion for its digital TV (DTV) product in the form of a member contest that proved to be a great success.

"So, what can you do with an old satellite dish to involve and encourage customers to switch from their satellite TV service to Heart of Iowa's IPTV offering?" was the question that served as the launch pad for the member contest. After a brief brainstorming session, the concept came together quickly as a customer contest, known as "The Dish Recycle Challenge."

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The cooperative introduced the contest to customers through a bill insert with the telco's July billing statement. The insert message asked the questions: "Still on satellite TV service? Have a big old ugly satellite dish in your yard or on your house that needs recycling?" The insert concluded with a direct call to action: "Then go GREEN and WIN. Recycle it and get creative with Heart of Iowa!"

The contest was open to any current DTV subscriber or any customer ordering new DTV service before August 31, 2009. The challenge invited customers to turn their old satellite dish into something functional, new and fun. Entering the contest was easy. Customers simply sent a photo of their repurposed dish for judging to Heart of Iowa Communications by e-mail or mail. Some customers even brought their entry directly to their local Heart of Iowa office. The winner of the contest received a free 26-inch LCD HDTV.

Throughout the months of July and August, challenge tips and ideas were posted to Heart of Iowa's Facebook page and Web site. This was in an effort to increase the cooperative's Facebook fan base and to drive customer traffic to Heart of Iowa's Web site.

The company used newspaper inserts in two local papers to promote the contest and also created and ran radio advertising during the same time period. Its customer service department also played a significant role in the promotion of the contest by mentioning the contest when speaking with customers on the phone or in the office. The telco displayed the TV it was giving away in its corporate offices in Union, along with the customers' contest entries.

Heart of Iowa Communications' employees and its Youth Advisory Council students served as the judges for the contest.

"The Dish Recycle Challenge was a great way to promote recycling while generating interaction with our customers and employees, all while increasing awareness and promoting our IPTV offering. Heart of Iowa Communications signed on 46 new IPTV subscribers during this promotion," said Heidi Mitchell, Heart of Iowa customer service manager.

By Janell King-Squires, Heart of Iowa Director of Marketing and Sales
COPYRIGHT 2009 National Telephone Cooperative Association
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Author:King-Squires, Janell
Publication:The Exchange
Date:Dec 1, 2009
Words:474
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