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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Customer Engagement Campaign Considered

Following a recent co-marketing conference call, I recently e-mailed an engaging marketing campaign concept to a strategic partner of my current company, a major manufacturer of scanners, faxes, and 2-in-1 machines. Their products are of significant importance to libraries, both interlibrary loan centers at academic institutions and R&D support centers at corporations.

I am not sure if the partner will reply, act upon, or evolve the idea, so I hope by sharing it on my 'Two Cents On Marketing' blog, that it may inspire others to think about how they can take traditional businesses online with smart planning and an authentic way to reach out to their target audiences.

The manufacturer's goal is to sell the newest model of its scanner. The challenge here is to identify targets and get them to give a damn, i.e. engage them. This means getting past the traditional '10% off if you act now' promotions which can diminish brand equity in many cases. My idea: to create a campaign micro-site; communicate to target audiences via press releases, listserv postings, email marketing, website postings, newsletter inclusions, etc., offering something of value (compatible software, actual free scanners, etc.), with the requirement to send in a picture of you from the time period of the actual age of your scanner. The older or the wackier the picture, the greater your chances of winning.

So, imagine hundreds of librarians - a close knit commmunity, by the way, where word spreads like wildfire (viral marketing), particularly around freebies - sending in photos of themselves (then and now) and visiting the website to see themselves, their friends, and their colleagues. Oh yeah, and entering a sweepstakes to win one of x number of prizes. The target audience could be reached, engaged, and segmented particularly along the lines of who would be most willing to, next year, and 5 years from now, since you'd know the age of the scanner.

To me, this is a winning idea. Of course, I could be very full of myself since I devised this idea. I think it has legs, but either way it could serve as the start or something even better if the concept is/was embraced.



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