One of the biggest hot buttons for IT departments these days is network security—the ability to both safeguard corporate and customer information from prying eyes and maintain computer system operability against malicious virus attacks. Lexington, Mass.-based Arbor Networks has become a leader in the network security space and has deployed its software on the backbone of major service provider and MSO networks across the globe, including AT&T, Comcast, EarthLink, Sprint, MCI and Asia Netcom, as well as many Fortune 500 enterprise networks.
Arbor wanted to deepen its brand awareness and stature with corporate enterprises and Web service providers—its two core target markets—as well as demonstrate its unique vision for warding off security threats with its Peakflow X technology platform. One of the primary challenges of doing so was engaging a senior-level audience with a modest marketing budget, said Tina Stewart, VP-marketing at Arbor.
"Budget constraints are always a challenge," Stewart said. "However, I feel proud with what we've been able to accomplish this year with the dollars we were given for the campaign. Not only were we able to create an integrated marketing campaign that spanned print, online and direct mail but we were able to also incorporate new forms of social media, including podcasting, blogging and gaming, all of which have provided a high level of value for the campaign."
Targeting a technically adept and well-connected audience drove Arbor to be extremely creative in how it communicates with prospects. "We wanted to be at the forefront of creating new types of connected conversation with our savvy communities, [using tactics such as] blogs, wikis, podcasts, folksonomies and anything else viral in nature. Effectively, we embarked on driving social networks as a focal point in our marketing activities."
Arbor employed three nontraditional tactics for its campaign, dubbed "Once They've Found Your Network, You've Lost," which—you guessed it—plays upon ABC's popular "Lost" TV series.
The first tactic, launched last February, was an online game called the Security Game: Defend Your Network, which prospects could find at www.thesecuritygame.com after being pointed there by multichannel advertisements. It's a simple game that tests players' abilities to destroy security threats such as worms and data thieves, and it illustrates in a fun way what Arbor Network's security technology is all about, Stewart said.
A podcast series launched last April and called Secure the Cure represented another major facet of the campaign. "The 12-part series was intended to engage a diverse audience, including decision-makers and technologists among service provider and enterprise markets, in an entertaining way," Stewart said. "But at the same time it conveyed practical, expert commentary and information that would help them best protect their networks from external and internal threats."
Listeners could also access additional information and technical reading materials online to support each weekly topic.
The third nontraditional tactic was Arbor's Security to the Core blog, also launched last April. "While the podcast series was designed to engage and entertain our target audience, the blog was designed as a true resource for our more technical audience that offers tips and tricks for avoiding security threats altogether," Stewart said.
By integrating social networks and traditional media such as print, events, e-mail, search engine marketing and sponsorships, the "Once They've Found Your Network, You've Lost" campaign helped Arbor create a connected conversation community well ahead of its competitors, Stewart said. "Since the launch of the Security to the Core blog, we've received more than 40,000 unique visits," she said. "And the 12-part podcast series has garnered nearly 11,000 downloads."
To drive further awareness and traffic, Stewart and her marketing team tied the blog and podcasts to other content such as online banners, print advertisements, white papers, seminars and webcasts.
The true ROI of the campaign has been a significant number of leads, several field trials and increased sales and awareness in Arbor Peakflow X, not to mention tremendous sales traction, Stewart said. However, obtaining such success required constant tweaking of campaign tactics—and expectations.
"Demand generation proved to be more difficult than if we were targeting a more junior-level audience," Stewart said. "Response times from senior executives were much slower and harder to track; despite that, eventually we learned the message resonated well with this audience."