Nov 06, 2000
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This June Web application security software company Sanctum Inc. had a tough three-part marketing challenge. They needed to get the word out about their recent name change; to get orders for a brand new product; and to get noticed by "C-level" execs at some of the biggest companies in America. Plus, as VP Marketing Diane Fraiman explains, "We're a small company. Most people had never heard of us." Fraiman couldn't spend millions on a glitzy branding campaign. So she used clever online marketing tactics to make a big impact with a limited budget.
First Fraiman decided to throw launch parties in her two key markets, New York and San Francisco. But parties are a dime a dozen in those cities, so Fraiman needed an invitation that would really stand out. With the help of event managers Ellen Michaels Presents, Fraiman developed a rich media emailed invitation for each party using flash technology and streaming audio. Each contained a short text message, plus a picture of the appropriate venue. Both venues, the Angel Orensanz Foundation in Greenwich Village and the Old Mission Regency building in San Francisco, were "magical, incredible spots" with religious connotations which played off Sanctum's theme of sanctuary from hackers. To reinforce this, when recipients opened the email the sound of monks' chant music played softly.
Fraiman needed a list of email addresses to send the invitation to. She says, "If we just sent it to the people who knew us at the time, it wouldn't have been a very long list!" With help from her business development team, she aggressively built a highly targeted email list of potential customers. She also persuaded Sanctum Inc.'s various business partners to contribute their lists. In all she garnered 2,000 great names to send the email to.
At the same time, Fraiman worked with integrated agency Frankfurt Balkind (who had already helped with Sanctum's name change from Perfecto Technologies) to create a Web site that could turn all the attention she hoped to receive into qualified sales leads ... and ultimately sales. Because Sanctum's products were both new and unusual in the marketplace, the site focused nearly 100% on educating visitors.
The usual white papers and corporate info were included, but the high point of the site was a series of interactive demos where visitors could see the product in action. Frankfurt Balkind's CEO Aubrey Balkind explains, "It's part entertainment, part education. These are not small sales, the average software purchase from Sanctum is six figures. So the site needed to be engaging and content-rich."
After the parties, Fraiman ran a few traditional ads in the trade press and sent direct mail brochures to her targeted list. In both cases, the art and message matched the Web site for higher impact. Plus, the Web URL was included everywhere.
More than 200 C-level executives from targeted companies responded to their emailed invitations and attended the events. In addition key analysts and press thronged to the "magical" locations.
Traffic reports and conversations with prospective customers have both revealed that Sanctum's target market likes to interact with the new Web site. Fraiman says, "People actually surf quite a bit. If they're going to one of the demos they're averaging 20-25 minutes per visit. If they go to get a white paper or to a specific information site they stay 5-10 minutes. They are definitely on the site to get content." This length of visit is exceptional for any business Web site!
Final results: since the product launch at the very end of the second quarter on June 21st, Sanctum has closed deals with 13 new end users and 10 new partners. Fraiman says, "For us in just 90 days this is unbelievable! And the pipeline of qualified leads is stupendous. We're meeting all our numbers right now and are on target with financial goals."
NOTES: Fraiman continues to add useful content to enhance and update Sanctum's Web site. For example, after her CEO taped an audio interview to run on American Airlines' business radio last week, Fraiman got a digital copy gratis. She added the four-minute audio clip entitled, "Busy Executive's Guide to Internet Security" to the Sanctum site last Friday night.
The results completely surprised her. "I was shocked this Monday morning when I got the first two days' traffic reports on it. More than 100 sales prospects downloaded it over the weekend!"