YellowBrix, Inc. hired Middleberg Euro rscg to help them market their automated "contextual commerce" technology, IntelliClix, to major Web sites' strategic leaders and marketers. Their goals were three-fold: 1. To increase awareness of their technology 2. To position the company as a "first to market" leader 3. To grow online buzz about the YellowBrix brand
Middleberg's Sara Topolosky shared the details of the campaign with us (with YellowBrix's permission of course!)
Middleberg created a grassroots campaign using message boards and listservs. "The primary goal was branding, the secondary goal was to drive sales" Middleberg targeted the leading 18 "high level" listservs and 13 message boards that fell into the following four categories: 1. Affiliate marketing 2. General emarketing 3. ecommerce 4. Online advertising
"We only submitted messages when it would be seamless to current conversation." Topolosky explained. To make sure their postings were a "value add" to the community, the team carefully followed each forum for a few weeks prior to posting in order to identify preexisting discussions.
Middleberg developed a "shell describing the product" with wording pre-approved by YellowBrix. "They gave us leeway to change the beginning and the end of each message so it fell into what was going on in the discussion. You need that client leeway in order to post in a timely manner." Topolosky says. "It's important not to just say 'I work here, this is my product, blah, blah blah.' At the ends of postings we also asked 'this is only one tool, what else are people using?' to continue the conversation."
Topolosky notes such grassroots campaigns are notoriously hard to monitor, "people read the post but they don't respond. They save it for another day until it's relevant, etc. So to determine effectiveness we look at the moderators' acceptence and audience response in terms of comments sent in reply to our posts."
As you might imagine, this particular campaign was very successful by those standards. 80% of all posts were accepted by the moderators; 40% generated additional comments within the online community; and, 60% of the forums generated at least one independent enquiry sent directly to the company. In addition, 100% of feedback was positive. And to date one sale can be directly attributed to this campaign.
NOTES: Topolosky wants everyone to be aware that "it's very difficult to generate sales this way, but it can generate awareness. However I don't recommend this for all of my clients. It's really a case by case basis."
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