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Superheros save the day at Radware

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In March 2009, Radware, a provider of integrated application delivery services, acquired the Alteon line of application delivery products from Nortel Networks in an effort to expand its customer base and market share. There had been no major investment in the product line for a few years, said Sharon Trachtman, Radware's VP-global marketing, but it still had a base of loyal customers who really loved the product. After making some upgrades to the product line, Radware set out to re-engage the customer base, create awareness that the company had acquired Alteon and create an emotional attachment to the brand among the target audience of IT professionals, Trachtman said. “We were looking for a way to engage with that specific audience—primarily technical guys—with something that would be unusual and grab their attention,” she said. Radware decided to revive a superhero figure and classic comic style of drawing that Alteon Web Systems—the original marketer of the Alteon line acquired by Nortel—had used in its marketing efforts several years before. “Their marketing campaigns were known in our space to be extreme, provocative, very bold campaigns,” Trachtman said. “So we decided to "inherit' some of the spirit of the brand and bring that back to life.” Using the superhero would allow Radware to connect with the brand's existing customer base, she said. In November 2009, the company launched the first phase of an integrated marketing campaign dubbed “Alteon Is Back,” featuring a network manager who faces daily IT challenges and can transform into a superhero to conquer those “villains.” The effort ran for six weeks and included online advertising, public relations, social media, event marketing and a microsite (www.alteonisback.com), which features story episodes, an online comic book, ringtones and background information about the different campaign characters. The effort was created by an in-house team, with 3-D animation handled by design agency Graphic Minds, Levittown, N.Y. The second phase of the campaign rolled out in March of this year and included the same components as the first strike, along with an additional episode on the alteonisback.com site, as well as additional ringtones and screen savers to increase “stickiness” on the site. Trachtman is pleased with the results and said the effort has raised the bar for Radware marketing campaigns. The first phase of the campaign had 3.5 million online ad impressions in North America, with a 24.5% average click-through rate and a 52% share of voice. RadwareAlteon.com saw a 123% increase in unique visitors over October 2009 and Radware.com, a 21% increase. After the first phase, Radware's number of Twitter followers increased by 73%. The second phase of the campaign, which lasted four weeks, pulled 24 million online ad impressions worldwide, a 26% average click-through rate and 43% share of voice. The RadwareAlteon.com site saw a 44% increase in unique visitors over the then-previous month (February 2010) and a 7% increase from November 2009, when the first phase ran. The Radware.com site had a 6% increase in unique visitors from the previous month and a 16% increase over November 2009. After the second phase of the campaign, the number of Twitter followers increased by 61%. —M.E.M
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