Special Report: Case study on Inc.

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Stepping out and shouting "Win a car!" on the Internet may garner you lots of traffic, but it doesn't guarantee that you'll reach your target audience, add new registered users or build your brand.

However, by putting a unique twist on this common marketing ploy,, a search engine and portal for business information, achieved all three goals.

The site partnered with agency L90 Inc. to develop an online marketing campaign to help build its user base while increasing brand awareness and promoting its accurate, business-focused search engine. The agency placed banner ads on numerous business-oriented sites, encouraging professionals to take the "Search for accuracy challenge" and enter to win a 2001 Acura MDX SUV.

Advertiser: Inc., Santa Monica, Calif.
Campaign: "Search for accuracy challenge"
Objective: Build registered user base while creating brand awareness.
Agency: L90 Inc., Santa Monica
Budget: Undisclosed
Media: Banner ads, viral marketing, Web site
Results: 100,000 new registered users in three months
From November to the end of January, every visitor who registered on earned an automatic entry to win the vehicle. Visitors then had an opportunity to earn up to 75 additional entries by taking the "Challenge" trivia game.

Visitors were asked to answer five business trivia questions. If they were stumped, they had two chances to run a search on to find the answers to the questions. "We based it on the 'Who Wants to Be a Millionaire' lifeline idea," said Lauren Kay, L90's VP-marketing. The search function allowed us to wrap the brand and the experience in the game and, at the same time, allow the user to actually experience the brand." was very happy with the results, adding 100,000 people to its registered user base. A key feature of the "Challenge" allowed contestants to challenge their colleagues, Kay said. Each visitor asked four to five people to play the game, and 10% of those who registered were brought in by this viral tactic. "The viral component was an essential element because it stretched our marketing dollars further," said Jennifer Stephens, spokeswoman.

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