Guru.com is one of the top sites duking it out in the freelance (independent) professional space. We called their VP Marketing Michelle Cassayre to find out how she's answering the marketing challenge.
Q: What challenges does Guru.com face in reaching the freelance/contract market?
Cassayre: Our largest challenge is really breaking through the deluge of marketing messages targeting all media consumers. Guru.com has a very distinguished value proposition for the freelance/contract market and that has really helped us gain the leadership position in this space so far. Our brand awareness and recall is highest among the IP sites, and our challenge will be to make sure our messaging remains consistent and will convert awareness to understanding and usability of the service.
Q: Which online and offline media have you used to get the word out about Guru.com?
Cassayre: Guru.com has been running online advertising campaigns for over a year. Our sites are selected by core industry relevance to gurus and hirers, and performance is measured by the cost to acquire a particular member. We also purchase opt-in email lists and newsletters and measure the performance in the same manner as online. Guru.com launched an offline brand campaign in March 2000. This print in national publications, newspapers and local Business Journals. The creative also evolved into outdoor executions in five top markets. And radio delivered the frequency and reach we needed for both gurus and hirers in our top seven markets.
Additionally, Guru.com has had a very unique PR and event strategy since the beginning of the company. We have developed Guru mixers (offline informal gatherings where gurus can get together and share stories and business cards.) and speaking events in several major cities as well as launched an annual Guru Award program.
Q: Out of all of this, which campaign worked particularly well for you?
Cassayre: The PR, offline events, direct marketing and brand campaign have all worked synergistically to establish Guru.com as an invaluable resource for independent professionals.
Q: What hasn't worked well in terms of marketing?
Cassayre: Hirers have sporadic needs and hiring patterns. Ideally, you want to reach them when they have a need, which is always a challenge.
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