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Rich-media campaign success stories

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Flashy and colorful consumer marketing efforts have a history of overshadowing hardworking b-to-b ads. Yet business marketers are now finding they’re able to level the playing field with rich-media technology that helps them grab as much attention as their consumer counterparts. Here are three recent campaigns that successfully used such technology.

Fun and games

Siemens AG, which markets automation, communications, power and transportation equipment to municipalities and other large customers, wanted to educate its sales representatives about products that fell outside of the prospects’ areas of expertise. Because many of its product features are complex, the company wanted to educate customers in a way that would hold their attention and help them retain what they learned.

So the company worked with Los Angeles-based YaYa Media Inc., an interactive advertising agency, to create a campaign that used rich media to target resellers and customers.

Siemens and YaYa decided on an interactive game because users tend to spend between 10 and 20 minutes playing such "advergames," said Keith Ferrazzi, YaYa’s president-CEO.

YaYa created a game called Spinopolis, which allows players to "build" city divisions after demonstrating knowledge about Siemens products. The company e-mailed links to the online game to its sales force, who in turn sent the messages to their top 10 to 20 prospects.

Results of the program have been impressive. "A recent study says retention rates for video games are 10 times that of the broadcast medium," Ferrazzi said. "We’ve found our games have the same retention rates. People are playing them and becoming engaged."

Eyeblaster grabs eyeballs

How do you get busy IT executives to download and read yet another white paper about a new personal digital assistant? Symbol Technologies tapped New York-based agency Stein Rogan + Partners, in conjunction with Eyeblaster, to create a Macromedia Flash banner ad to do just that.

The ad, which touts Symbol’s PPT 8800, a new PDA format for the PC, is a Flash interstitial that morphs into a 120-by-90 banner ad that prompts users to download a free report. The real meat of the ad is its tracking component, said Rory O’Flaherty, associate media director at Stein Rogan.

"We can tie back not only the number of people who download the PDF, but also tie back into Symbol’s back-end sales system and see how many qualified inquiries are generated," O’Flaherty said.

He reported that the ad, which debuted within the past month, has been successful, but he wouldn’t disclose specific conversion figures.

O’Flaherty said his agency constantly looks at how well the ad is doing on each of its placement sites. "A b-to-b campaign—any b-to-b campaign—requires more manual work [than a consumer campaign] because the sales cycle is a bit longer."

Operation integration

San Francisco-based ad agency MRM Gould, an MRM Partners Worldwide company, recently planned and executed a successful rich-media campaign for Microsoft Corp. by coordinating its client’s offline advertising with its online plan of attack.

Microsoft was launching a new operating system, targeting both the small business and enterprise markets. "The message in the b-to-b campaign was: Whether a company was a small, 50-person organization or a 5,000-person enterprise, the new operating system was more reliable, secure and mobile," said Patrick O’Neil, account supervisor with MRM Partners. Making sure that message was the same across all media (outdoor, print, television and online) was key, he said.

The agency created Flash banners, negotiating larger-than-normal placements on sites frequented by IT professionals. Every banner contained a link to a specific offer or giveaway. For example, one Flash presentation included a quiz. Those who scored highest on the quiz received a free wireless mouse.

The campaign was successful, O’Neil said, because of its integrated media plan—and the prizes. He would not disclose specific metrics.

The ads used images similar to those in Microsoft’s offline campaigns. And the message was relevant: Every ad proposed a fix to a business problem. In addition, because the ads were larger than usual, they stood out without being too intrusive. Finally, they offered something that other ads don’t: freebies.

"By integrating the campaign, you stretch your marketing budget, because your message appears to be present in numerous media," O’Neil said. "The Web is filled with clutter and disjointed messaging. The key is to create ads that go beyond the obvious."

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