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#11. Belt Buckle Knife

Belt Buckle Knife MarketingSherpa Summary:
This is one of those classic "whups-it-went-viral" campaigns. An earnest fellow puts up a Web site to promote his home-grown product, then suddenly the world starts talking about it. This kind of tactic is impossible to copy - it's gotta be real and it's got to be luck. So why does it make Sherpa's Hall of Fame? Measurement. Turns out the site owner measured the value of each type of viral traffic to see who would buy, and who was just wasting time entertaining themselves on his server. We really wish more viral marketers would measure traffic ROI like this.

Agency: in-house
Client/company: Belt Buckle Knife
Brand campaign was conducted for: Belt Buckle Knife
Launch date of campaign: May 2002 (with revamps since)
Target audience/demographic: bikers,cops

Campaign Goal:
To demonstrate the product; ecommerce sales.

The first video we created was a little over the edge. Very in your face sort of thing with a lot of attitude. We pulled it because it was a bit offensive to some but must have left links to it somewhere because people still find it and link to it.

Seed Strategy:
We didn't. It happened all on its own. A police newsletter picked it up to warn police offficers about it. The article basically said watch out for this. Sales went crazy, all to police officers. Only one bad comment. It is now popular among police officers and we still make sales continually to them.

Buzz Generated:

I think the first big blog to pick it up was They sent around 10K uniques per day but generated no sales that we could tell. Other blogs picked it up after that and we'd see traffic spikes from this. The television show "screen savers" picked us up from the blogs and featured us on "Sarah's gems of the internet". Still linked to from the show's page. We then had several national magazines contact us. We think they found us in the blogs. We were run in sync magazine which generated a few sales. Recently Cargo magazine ran us and we have seen a dramatic sales increase.

Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
The first blogs to pick us up generated huge traffic but no sales.

The TV show didn't seem to generate much.

Cargo magazine rocked us. We are still seeing sales which we think are from awareness generated by Cargo.

Blade magazine generated very little. This is counterintuitive. It's a knife magazine. Totally targeted but didn't generate much.

Biggest Learning:
Presentation. We sold a belt buckle and never thought to put it on a belt. The Cargo magazine showed it on a belt and sales went crazy. We changed the front page picture to the buckle on a belt and sales have been consistently higher since then. So the lesson is to show the product beeing used or as close to it as possible.

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