A security software development start-up had an innovative software product but a limited budget for launching and promoting the offering. The company used a combination of an event marketing strategy and social media to take its first product to market. Over the course of several weeks, the company not only launched its product but also won an industry-recognized award. The firm engaged R2integrated (R2i) to develop a series of product-centric microsites based on social media campaigns.
TAKING A NEW PRODUCT TO THE MARKET
Since the firm was a start-up, its executives were watchful of the budget given the costs of launching a company. For this reason, the company used open-source software and lightweight social media tools to support its marketing efforts. An open-source content management system supported the company’s marketing initiatives, while the popular blogging software WordPress allowed the firm to post relevant content quickly.
As part of the company’s event-driven marketing strategy, it used a series of industry conferences to launch its first product, a software tool designed to recognize network intrusions before they happened. The firm employed a variety of social media to not only document its product-related events but also to interact and engage with potential prospects online.
The firm decided to launch its fledgling product at the industry’s leading conference and trade show. For several weeks leading up to the event, it accelerated its use of social media tools. Executives wrote several blog posts per day, posted multiple “tweats” and even published product demonstrations to Flickr.
THE PROBLEM WITH SOCIAL MEDIA CAMPAIGNS
The firm realized that its Web-based marketing efforts existed both on and off the corporate website. The website, however, included little mention of the company’s activities on Blip.TV, Flickr or Twitter. The first problem with this approach to social media was that off-site activities had low visibility for visitors on the corporate website. How would a website visitor know, for example, that the firm’s team was hanging out on Twitter or had interesting interviews on Blip.TV? The second problem the company faced was that its corporate website was becoming less relevant because its marketing content was formal and static rather than social and dynamic.
A combination of RSS feeds and widgets solved both of the above-described problems. R2i was able to “widgetize” the content from its blogs, Twitter and Flickr, and as a result, this content was aggregated into one place on the corporate website. These pages, known as “learning centers,” gave prospective customers a unique look at the company and featured a range of content that included white papers, analyst reports, “webinars” and social media.
For example, when the firm gave a product demonstration at an industry conference, the event sponsor provided all attendees with a video of the performance. Immediately after the video became available, R2i was able to embed the video via a widget directly into its website. When the team arrived back home, it used the same widget to post the video on its blogs.
Widgets also solved website relevancy issues in that the learning centers were able to feature a variety of new content. For example, visitors to the website were able to scan Twitter messages posted from the conference room floor. Other content included blog posts that were “live blogged” and Flickr photos of the firm’s employees socializing with various groups from their booth. For visitors to the corporate website, the learning centers provided an immersive experience.
SOCIAL MEDIA RESULTS
After attending several trade shows and creating three purpose-built learning centers, several benefits have emerged for the firm. The website became more relevant at the same time that it directed visitors to a variety of off-site content items and experiences.
Since many content items were posted live from industry events, the learning centers provided website visitors with a unique vantage point, giving them a direct line of sight into the process of launching an award-winning product as well as an opportunity to learn about the product itself through a range of content types and file formats. Visitors to the learning centers were able to consume formal content items like analyst reports that shared the page with more conversational items like Twitter “tweats.” Even a low-tech video (described as “gorilla cool”) joined the company’s arsenal of marketing collateral.