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WavePhore surfs for OEM partners in online campaign

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K2 Design's integrated print and online campaign for client Wave-Phore, Phoenix, proved that the business-to-business and consumer audiences for emerging push technologies are more seamless than marketers might think.

The New York-based agency launched a print and Web program that broke Feb. 17 to market the company's new technology platform WaveTop, which offers computer manufacturers the capability to bundle desktop push technologies via broadcast TV signals.

BUILDING THE BRAND

The first wave of the campaign, launched to help WavePhore nail original equipment manufacturer partnerships with at least five of the top dozen computer manufacturers by mid-1998, also had the pleasant byproduct during its first month on the Web of generating more than 1,000 consumer leads from early adopters eager to get the technology on their desktops.

At press time, Sandy Goldman, VP-WaveTop consumer group at WavePhore, said he'd already signed one deal with Compaq and was working on two more OEM deals.

"What we're working on overall is a branding strategy. . . . I can put the technology on a desktop for a $20 cost, but there's no content to add to the platform right now. . . . Our basic goal right now to the OEM marketplace is to tell them they should put TV tuners in their PCs."

THREE GOALS

The overall $5 million to $6 million yearlong campaign attempts to solve three challenges for WaveTop.

K2 helped the company create its logo, then set about planning and executing a tripartite business-to-business and consumer marketing effort to grow OEM partnerships with business partners; grow interest among potential content providers who could choose WaveTop as a distribution platform; and build consumer awareness about content providers and OEM manufacturers making WaveTop's platform available. The service is slated to be available to consumers this fall.

While K2 used print to build exposure for the product, running ads in The Wall Street Journal and San Jose Mercury News, as well as such trade titles as Computer Reseller News, WebWeek, Wired, Upside and Advertising Age, it placed heavier emphasis on targeted Web banner buys, with both the print and online efforts pointing to a demo Web site.

80/20 PRINT/ONLINE SPLIT

Of the $1 million spent on media in the first wave of the campaign, which runs through second quarter 1997, K2 NetMedia director Joe Apprendi said that 80% of spending went into print, while 20% went into online, though exposure should be equal.

The company put a phone number and address in the print ads, but the main goal was to drive readers to the company's Web site, which was featured prominently, Mr. Apprendi said. "The Web is really the platform everything is being targeted toward."

He added, though, that print was important to the campaign because "as WaveTop's brand awareness has increased so has the response rate to the online campaign, and that's a very important component of the work we've done."

On the Web, K2 worked with DoubleClick, New York, to place about 25% of its banners in vertical content venues as defined by IP addresses and SIC codes.

CLICK RATES AT 5%

For breadth, Mr. Apprendi said K2 also made online buys on C/net, Wired News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and ZDNet.

"Each execution we did was animated," he said, of the first group of 15 pieces of online creative K2 is running. "What we learned was that the pace at which frames were rotated was a little too fast. We made modifications to slow the animation down, and the click rates went much higher."

Click rates hovered around 5% at the highest levels, which occurred mostly in the SIC and IP venues.

300 E-MAIL LEADS

According to WavePhore's Mr. Goldman, the site generated 300 e-mail leads during the first three weeks. What was surprising, though, was that 90% of those inquiries came from consumers interested in getting the technology in their homes while the other 10% came from businesses wanting to bundle WaveTop.

The pace of inquiries rapidly increased during the next two weeks of the campaign, with 1,500 qualified leads coming from the WaveTop site, and 15% of those leads coming from potential OEM partners.

On the business front, Mr. Goldman said he received solid inquiries from companies including Sony, IBM Corp.'s Aptiva group, and at least one other major computer manufacturer. Content companies including Sony Music, Quote.com, Bloomberg Business News and The Weather Channel have also contacted WavePhore about partnership possibilities.

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