Advertorials good tool to communicate value proposition

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Bosch Rexroth Corp., a Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based provider of drive and control technologies used in industrial and factory automation, wanted to promote the new "safe motion" technology built into its IndraDrive product, which is part of the company's drive and control line. The product protects machine operators by slowing down a piece of equipment when the operator needs to make a manual adjustment.

A competitor was rolling out a similar product, so Bosch Rexroth needed to differentiate itself, said Joe Biondo, e-business manager. Plus, the company needed to educate the market about how its safe motion technology is different than other safety products and solutions.

"There's a lot of confusion because, when you talk about safety, there's safety devices, there's safety networks, there's safety PLCs [programmable logic controllers]," Biondo said. "A lot of it is making clear to the audience that this isn't just a safety push button. This is a very intelligent device that, although it's intelligent, doesn't require a lot of programming."

Bosch Rexroth decided to launch an integrated marketing campaign dubbed "Safety on Board" to educate influential buyers about the product. The campaign, which was created by Lancaster, Pa.-based b-to-b integrated marketing agency Godfrey, began with a public relations effort aimed at educating trade magazine editors about the technology.

The company also chose to run several white paper advertorials in magazines such as Automation World, Control Design, Control Engineering, Converting, Machine Design, Manufacturing Engineering, Motion System Design, PackDigest and PackWorld.

Biondo said Bosch Rexroth chose to do advertorials instead of standard print ads because theirs was a subject that required a significant amount of education, rather than making a big splash with the product. "We felt that the entire community did not understand the concept of safe motion," he said. "So we were pushing the envelope with them to say, `We need to go one step beyond that. It's not just about safety relay or safety PLC, it's about safe motion. And this gives you an opportunity to do something better and cheaper.' "

The best way to explain that value proposition was with a lot of copy, Biondo said, and advertorials proved the ideal vehicle for that.

Bosch Rexroth also ran display ads online and in e-newsletters, contextual advertising in articles discussing topics such as safety and motion control and a paid search campaign using Google AdWords, he said. Last, it had employees participate as speakers at conferences and trade shows.

The campaign is ongoing, but since its launch in second-quarter 2006, the "Safety on Board" destination Web page has had about 2,900 visitors from online ads, press releases and direct links, and the white paper has been downloaded more than 3,000 times.

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