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Viral Hall of Fame 2007

Viral Hall of Fame 2007
#9. Exeros Inc.

MarketingSherpa Summary:
What better way to engage a techie audience than to challenge them to a digital contest and dangle a $25,000 prize in front of their noses? Exeros intelligently synched a contest with an upcoming annual conference to create an online-offline bounce. Not only did they receive more attention than they thought they would get, but they also received an unusually high qualified lead rate and a big lift in website traffic.

Agency: in-house
Client/company: Exeros Inc.
Brand campaign was conducted for: Fastest Data Mapper Challenge
Launch date of campaign: Jan. 9, 2007
Target audience/demographic: Fortune 500 IT staff

Campaign Goal:
To generate buzz about a new and unique data management software product (from a pretty unknown new software startup) that automates a formerly manual task -- data mapping -- by holding a contest that would show just how much time could be saved using the software and offering $25,000 if anyone "beat the machine."

The campaign consisted of the contest itself, the promotion of the contest (in conjunction with the annual meeting of the Data Management Association), the presentation of the awards and other events at the show, including a hospitality suite and exhibit booth.

The promotion consisted of two emails from us and several from the conference promoters, Wilshire Conferences: One email using our Eloqua software to our house list (3,300). This email had an open rate of 23%. One sent to a rented trade list (DMReview magazine) of about 5,000 names. Wilshire Conferences had a graphic link to our registration site on all their online promotions for the DAMA 2007 Conference.

Registrants were directed to a page on our site to find out about the contest. If they clicked through to register, they went transparently to an Eloqua hypersite, which caught the actual registration info and sent a confirmation email. A second email was sent through Eloqua closer to the contest to give information about the kickoff Web seminar and receiving the contest materials.

On the day of the contest, we used Webex to have a kickoff meeting and used Eloqua again to send out the contest materials. Contestants emailed back their answers within a two-hour time window.

Three winners were chosen and were eligible for the following prizes: first prize, $2,500 and travel and expenses to the DAMA Conference in Boston, second prize, $1,000, third prize, $500. Winners were announced at the conference. The first-place winner physically accepted the terrifically tacky trophy at the luncheon on the first day of the conference, of which we were a gold sponsor.

We also sponsored a hospitality suite at the conference to show how our unique software was 20 times faster at the contest task than the fastest human data mapper. To promote attendance at the hospitality suite, we held a mini-version of the contest for a prize of $500 and a raffle of an Apple iPod.

Seed Strategy:
Graphic element on the conference promoter's online communications. Graphic element in Exeros personnel's email signatures. Door hanger and invitation to the hospitality suite in conference attendees' bags and on their hotel doors. Emailings through Eloqua. Other onsite conference activities. Press release for contest on PRNewswire.

Buzz Generated:
All of the above!
Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
The week after the conference, we sent another email to announce the winners of all the prizes and used an embedded form to allow people to register for a Webex demo of the product. We had a 52% open rate and 8% clickthrough rate for that email, resulting in five active opportunities; which, for an enterprise software product from a brand new company with an average price tag of $150,000, was great. Five weeks after the conference, we are currently engaged in active discussions with 16% of the leads collected at the conference. We also had a 50% increase in website traffic during the two weeks following the announcement of the contest.

Biggest Learning:
Start the promotion about four weeks earlier. Do more viral stuff -- post on lists, groups, etc. Get more thought leaders to talk about it.