Intraware, a provider of Web-based IT management solutions, wanted to attract more buyers with substantial budgets from the Fortune 1000 while lowering its cost per qualified sales lead. This challenge was made more difficult by the fact that it's hard to stand out in the advertising noise in that particular marketplace.
More magazine space ads and ordinary direct mail campaigns wouldn't do the trick, so Intraware asked digital communications agency Lot21 to come up with a lower-cost, higher-performing alternative. Barry Peters, Lot21's Director of Emerging Media, shared the details with us.
Peters knew IT professionals tend to be early technology adopters. He says, "It wasn't necessary to go with a wireless campaign per say, but when we looked at the usage of handheld devices, we realized the demographic was IT professionals for the most part." At the time (May 2000) AvantGo's wireless realtime, updateable news service had about 500,000 users -- but the service had never carried ads on its home page before. Peters knew he'd get two advantages from being the first -- he'd probably get an unusually high click through rate purely "due to the novelty of it"; and, he figured he could talk AvantGo into selling him the space at a low CPM because, hey it was an unproven media!
Next the team put together a creative plan. Peters says, "We were very, very careful about how we presented the ads. A lot of people just slap up a smaller version of their 468x60 banner. We didn't want to put a heavy graphic up. It's all about the customer. We didn't want to scare away AvantGo's customer by throwing a page of ads before their channel. We all agreed the best way to do it is to put a bit of text up there." The creative team brainstormed up five different, short, phrases and tested them out on friends and colleagues in a "grassroots focus group."
Two phrases won. One said, "Find out where IT pros go >>". The second invited IT pros to win a years' salary. Both clicked through to a second level, also with very short copy explaining the offer; and then to a third page to capture opt-in email permission.
Peters wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to respond; and, he knew requiring people to enter their email address on their handhelds would be enough of a pain that he'd lose response. So, he worked a deal with AvantGo to pre-populate the field. "When you get to that third level, you only hit submit instead of typing."
Lot21 worked with Intraware's marketers to craft follow-up email newsletters for responders. The sales department then stepped in to convert the leads over its average 3-6 month sales cycle, ending in December 2000.
Peters says, "The campaign brought in a mass volume of highly qualified leads we didn't even expect!" In fact the leads were so cheap and so qualified that Intraware saw a 97% reduction in their customer acquisition cost. As of December 2000, Intraware had a total of 8,800 customers, including more than 50% of the Fortune 1000.
Peters admits that these campaign results (and extra-low costs) would be tough to duplicate today now that so many ads run on AvantGo. However, he still recommends that B-to-B marketers test wireless ads. He says, "It's not so mainstream that you're getting college kids or what have you. You can get into BusinessWeek, WSJ and that's where we're looking to take our clients."
This Case Study's results also show that for the IT audience, it can be worth being the first advertiser on the block to test a new gizmo. And you can bet there will always be new gizmos to test advertising on!
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