ROI of a serial social marketer (Sandy Carter)

Drew’s Note:  As you know, I try to host guest bloggers every Friday.  Sandy Carter just finished writing her newest book, The New Language of Marketing 2.0.  The book contains 54+ case studies of companies who have successfully blended traditional marketing tactics with their web 2.0 brethren.

Sandy kindly offered to share summaries of three of her book’s case studies.  Rather than cram all three into one very long blog post….I’ve broken them up and will post them separately throughout today.

Without further ado…enjoy Sandy Carter!

OK.  I admit it.  I tweet multiple times a day, I have 2 blogs, and I love technology.  My passion is reaching customers and having them connect with my company in new and smart ways.  As such, I experiment, learn from my peers, and measure these new tools for marketing.   

As a marketing executive at IBM, I have found that these Marketing 2.0 techniques, combined with traditional marketing methods, drive down costs and increase revenue. My passion led to a book which resulted in over 54 case studies of companies using these hybrid combinations today and I’d like to summarize highlights from 3 of those stories.

Case Study 1: The Coca-Cola Company and use Lightly Branding

People are very visual.  In a recent preview of Google’s year-end Zeitgeist, “youtube” is so far listed among the fastest-rising search terms of 2008.  Combine that interest in video with word-of-mouth and you have a powerful influencer in your marketing mix. Let us have a look at a compelling example of “lightly branding”, or the impact of others putting a face on your brand and then “endorsing” it by virally passing it around!

We are no doubt all familiar with the video of 2 “scientists”, 101 bottles of Diet Coke and over 500 Mentos that showed the reaction of the 2 products together in a huge fountain effect.

After initially being posted online and shared with just one person, by the end of that night, there were over 20,000 views. Interesting, but perhaps less well-known, is the background on the inspiration for those videos. A juggler and a lawyer/entertainer, Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz, respectively, are the originators of these experiments and it was the wildly enthusiastic response (both online and in-person at their local theatre where they perform) that set them on a path to spending the next several months working on creating more effects and the concept was born.

Their company, EepyBird, combines the power of entertainment and marketing to assist companies in lightly branding their products. Not long after the initial buzz, EepyBird had heard from both Mentos and The Coca-Cola Company. Michael Donnelly, director of Worldwide Interactive Marketing at The Coca-Cola Company, realized the potential from this viral video and its impact on the company brand and sales, and said he saw it as an opportunity to celebrate creativity, self-expression and amateur artistry. The two companies formed a partnership and went on to create another experiment (#214), including a viral video advertising contest called “Poetry in Motion”, in which customers were challenged to produce and create their own videos and the winner was flown out to work directly with EepyBird on the next video.  Once again, this video saw a huge amount of viral buzz, with EepyBird citing over eight million views.

In this case study, EepyBird’s videos helped customers to see the Diet Coke and Mentos brands in a new medium that was both authentic and fun. Customers were experiencing the brand without watching a commercial and this propelled users to share it with their respective social networks resulting in buzz around the world. 

But what was the ROI of lightly branding?  The results were that Diet Coke saw significant sales of 2-liter bottles and, Mentos’ sales increased by about 15%.

Sandy Carter is author of the new book, The New Language of Marketing 2.0, which leverages the ANGELS methodology (ANGELS stands for: Analyze the Market, Nail the Strategy, Go- to- Market socially, Energize the Channel & Market, Leads and Revenue, and Scream with Technology.)  Sandy is IBM’s Vice President, SOA and WebSphere Marketing, Strategy, and Channels. She is responsible for IBM’s cross-company, worldwide SOA initiatives and is in charge of one of IBM’s premier brands, IBM WebSphere.

Sandy blogs at Marketing 2.0: From a whisper to a scream and you can catch her on Twitter too!

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew’s Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.

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