Toshiba scores with sports event

By Published on .

Most Popular
Toshiba Network Products (TNP) of Irvine, Calif., pulled off one of its most successful events ever—a sports-themed party at ESPN Zone during last year’s Broadband Plus 2002 show in Anaheim—for 20% of the cost of a show booth.

The party, promoting a new wireless cable modem, was a textbook example of event integration and outsourcing, as TNP got its Internet agency and PR firm working together to create pre-, in- and post-event strategies.

TNP’s PCX5000 DOCSIS Wireless Cable Modem Gateway is said to be one of the first routers of its kind to provide wireless computer service in residences and homes served by cable companies. These companies, which include TNP customers AOL Time Warner and Cox Communications, are small in number but large in influence. That’s because when they roll out a new product or service, it’s usually to thousands of consumers at a time.

“Since we felt we knew our cable system customers pretty well, we decided that a trade show booth wouldn’t be the most efficient or effective way of spreading the news,” said Christopher Boring, TNP’s marketing communications manager. “Instead, we wanted to give them a fun, interactive experience they’d long remember…[and be] a prime way to differentiate ourselves as something to look forward to.”

The marketing strategy for the event, however, wasn’t all fun and games.

“Right up front, we planned carefully, promoting the event early and often to our most important customers,” Boring said. “Red Door Interactive played a crucial part in designing save-the-date e-mail messages that encouraged registration and drove traffic to our Web site, where they could see a Flash demonstration of the product.”

Tactical tracking One key to promoting an event by e-mail and Internet, said Reid Carr, president and strategy director at San Diego-based Red Door Interactive, is to “track everything, from opens to click-throughs, and give them every possible opportunity to commit to attending. Also, try to take away all their opt-outs by getting to them early, sending reminders, providing maps, directions and even shuttle service to the event if you can.”

Red Door also segmented the list of registrants and attendees into “buckets” for follow-up, Carr said. “You had new executives from the cable companies, a variety of local salespeople, other influential people in the industry and others that we needed to identify and respond to after the fact,” he said.

Clearpoint Agency, Solana Beach, Calif., orchestrated the entire event, chose a winning venue in ESPN Zone, secured a Cher impersonator and gave out game cards for ESPN Zone’s arcade.

Promo while you party At the Dec. 4, 2002, event, Red Door and Clearpoint took advantage of ESPN Zone’s big screen TVs for a creative multimedia blitz of Flash product demos, PowerPoint presentations and customer recognition that gave attendees the chance to learn more without having to stop the party.

“Our executives in particular were extremely pleased with the event. They don’t often get opportunities for direct interaction, since our cable system customers are spread out across the country,” TNP’s Boring said. “We expected 250 people, but our sales force during the show helped us turn up more than 600—many of whom told us it was the best party they’d even been to.” (Back at the convention, the new wireless cable modem was featured in a new product showcase.)

Boring believes one reason the event was so successful is because of the across-the-board cuts in entertaining and events expenses. “You can really stand out when you do something others have stopped doing and you do it well,” he said.

In this article: