Friday, February 8, 2008

Viral marketing: A b2b campaign shows prospects it knows their every move

"You can't build a community through a print ad." That's how the marketers behind QNX's latest offering explained their recent business to business viral video campaign.

But can you build it online. Here's more proof.

In the old days, a company like this may have held a dinner for users, ran a seminar or hosted a cocktail hour. But who has the time these days or the money to run lots of these events, let alone wait for the results to filter through? Besides, it can be nigh impossible to shake people, especially those of us who are obsessing about internet marketing, out of their offices and cocoons. ("You mean go out and meet real people? Gross.")

And it struck me that's one reason why viral marketing is taking off. In the old days, we gathered with neighbors over the backfence, we exchanged views when we met on the Main Street, etc.

Now people like QNX's prospects, software developers, are often glued to their screens all day.

QNX's game, The Pocket Geek, does something a print ad would be struggling to do. Within a few seconds, it proves that this company knows its prospects inside and out. It doesn't only know how to reach its prospects (in front of their computers, of course), it knows where these developers live (their cubicles), it knows what they eat (pizza), where they sleep (at the office or not at all) and what they do for fun ( do more programming or play heavy rock music on air guitar).

So far, the viral campaign is taking off. In the first nine days after the campaign was launched, it had gone viral around the world, reported ClickZ.

And the pay off? Instead of getting a couple of seconds' attention from each prospect, some are sticking around for 15 minutes to play the game. It is averaging 300 seconds of engagement versus the flick of an eye for a print ad.

The other day one of my colleagues left our company. I felt sad to see him go, and the funny thing was we'd met only once. We had talked on the phone, and communicated via email every day because our areas had a lot in common.

It reminded me that the communities we have these days are often just as strong as in the "old days." Only difference, many of today's communities are held together by the magic of the internet.

PS: I know there is a lot of skepticism about these campaigns (are they all flash and no substance?) so I am going to ask QNX's marketers to give us a detailed breakdown of the results when they have them.

Posted by Internet Marketing Report editor, Julie Power, Friday February 8, 2008, at 11 a.m.


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