Win Ross, Product Marketing Manager, INTTRA, an e-commerce platform for the ocean-shipping industry, had to roll out a new product to an audience that was comfortable doing things the old-fashioned way.
The company was founded eight years ago by a group of ocean-shipping companies. It uses a standard, Web-based platform for shippers, freight forwarders, and others to manage and schedule shipments without the traditional use of faxes and phone calls.
“Initially, there wasn’t as big a need for a big, cohesive, integrated go-to-market approach,” says Ross. “As time went by, the leadership of our company said: ‘We need to have a very systematic and disciplined approach for how we take products to market’.”
Releasing a new version of the company’s Web-based tool for transmitting shipping instructions gave Ross and his team an opportunity to test a new marketing strategy to put INTTRA front-and-center with an old-line industry. Internet connectivity in key shipping markets, such as South America, also had expanded in the three years since the original product.
Ross set two campaign goals: raising awareness of the new version of the product, dubbed I-ACT SI; generating leads for the sales team among an audience used to traditional scheduling practices, not the Web. CAMPAIGN
Ross and his team planned a product-launch campaign that centered on an online demonstration and promotion through multiple channels worldwide. Here are the six steps they took:Step #1. Create online demo to highlight features, value
Ross planned their marketing campaign in collaboration with the I-ACT SI product manager. “The product manager said, ‘The user interface is so new that once shipping clerks and booking agents see it, they’ll love it,’” Ross says.
To show prospects how different the online system is from traditional electronic, fax or manual processes, the team created a three-minute online demonstration. The animated video used voice-over and images to highlight:
- Similarities to existing shipping instruction processes, but easier, faster and more accurate
- Ease of set-up, requiring no software downloads and installation
- Ability to create templates that accelerate the process
- Other key featuresStep #2. Include voluntary registration form for prospects to get more info
Ross knew that marketers typically view online demos as premium content that requires prospects to register before viewing. They wanted to use a registration form, but they knew that requiring registration for content was not a familiar practice to ocean shippers.
“We weren’t sure how our user audience would respond to something that would require them to register to consume it,” says Ross.
Instead of making registration mandatory, the team used a voluntary form to request additional information in a column on the right side of the demo screen. The form used the headline, “Complete form below to receive more information on I-ACT SI,” and included the following fields:
o First name
o Last name
o Business role
The demo screen also used additional calls-to-action for viewers to learn more, such as:
o Button to chat live with the support team
o Link at the end of the demo for prospects to download product sheets and brochuresStep #3. Promote online demo through multi-language email campaign
With the demo ready, Ross’ team promoted it through an email campaign to the company’s house list. They identified three segments of the database:
o Existing users of I-ACT 1.0
o Inactive users of I-ACT (those who had not used the system for 30 days)
o Users of the company’s online booking product that had not used I-ACT for transmitting shipping instructions – the second step in the scheduling process
A promotional email announced the launch of the improved shipping instruction application and listed bullet points of key features. Hotlinks took prospects to the website to view the online demo or to the login page where existing users could try the new system.
They sent the message in three languages – English, Spanish and Portuguese – to target international business, particularly in Central and South America.Step #4. Support launch with press release and sales team materials
The team distributed a press release announcing the new version of the product at the same time as the email promotion. They also gave materials to the sales team to get them to participate in the campaign.
Sales team materials:
- Product collateral for their prospects and customers when discussing the new version of the application.
- Email message template so sales reps could contact customers and prospects on their own lists. (The company’s CRM system automatically de-duped names from the marketing team’s promotional mailing.) Step #5. Create media plan for trade pubs
The team created a media plan for third-party outlets, such as industry trade publications. Like the email to the house list, these promotions were designed to send prospects to the online demo.
Regions with a high concentration of activity in the shipping industry, like the United Sates, Europe, Asia and Latin America, were targeted. Promotions included:
o Banner ads
o Print ads
o Messages to third-party lists
Media outlets included:
o Journal of Commerce Daily e-Newsletter (US)
o Transport-Logistique e-Newsletter (France)
o MundoMaritimo.cl (Latin America)
o EXIM Newsletter (India)Step #6. Send automatic email response to registrants
Visitors who registered for more information after watching the online demo received an automatic follow-up email thanking them for their interest. The email message contained links to several sources of additional information, such as:
o Downloadable brochure
o List of INTTRA’s shipping carriers
o Contact information for the local sales team, based on country entered on registration form
Contacts collected through the registration form were sent to the appropriate local sales team for follow-up.
The campaign proved to Ross, his team and the CEO that their audience responds favorably to this type of lead-generation marketing.
o 23% of those who viewed the online demo filled out the voluntary registration form, creating new leads for their sales team.
The email promotion delivered open and clickthrough rates of more than 30% across the board:
o 30.31% open rate
o 34.81% clickthrough rate
o 33.27% open rate
o 40.68% clickthrough rate
o 33.07% open rate
o 33.59% clickthrough rate
That response rate made I-ACT SI the fastest-growing product in company history. In one year, INTTRA went from processing less than 1,500 container transactions each week with the service to more than 12,000 container transactions per week.
“We’re doing this for all future product launches,” says Ross. “Animation and demonstrations lend themselves well to showing what we deliver.”Useful links related to this article
Creative Samples from INTTRA's Online Demo Campaign: