Grasshopper case study shows you how to create a viral campaign

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Remember when I told you about getting some chocolate covered grasshoppers in the mail and how effective the 3-D mailing was?

Well, now the Grasshopper team has gone one further.  They have documented in a step by step, 8-page case study exactly how they created this brilliantly executed viral campaign. 

The case study includes detailed budget numbers and short of their mailing list — pretty much every detail you might want to know.

This idea of freely sharing what you know/did is one of my favorite aspects of social media.   Do yourself a favor and go download the case study.  It is an excellent example you can use as the framework for your next effort.

Many thanks to Jonathan Kay (Ambassador of Buzz at Grasshopper) and his team for not only creating a smart and buzzworthy campaign but also sharing their secrets so we can all do the same!

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12 comments on “Grasshopper case study shows you how to create a viral campaign

  1. Karin H. says:

    Hi Drew

    Although very impressive viral campaign and detailed report, and feel free to call me a penny-pushing bookkeeper instead of a entrepreneur using webmarketing to successfully grow our business, one detail is missing: any profit in the end? (hard cash, bottom line?)

    Just saying

    Karin H. (Keep It Simple Sweetheart, specially in business)

  2. This was executed brilliantly. Mainly because it was so damn weird, unique and targeted.

    Gotta love a campaign created for less than $70k getting this kind of coverage…lets see if Grasshopper can maintain the goodwill though.

  3. Jonathan Kay says:

    Hi Karin,

    My name is Jonathan Kay (the Ambassador of Buzz as Drew so kindly pointed out). I really appreciate your comment, as well as your critical questioning (it is a good one). In this specific effort our goal truly was not to increase sales or revenue, that is why this is not a metric we tracked nor listed in the case study. As we were re-branding from GotVMail to Grasshopper we had 2 main goals. 1. Inspire entrepreneurs to get up and go do something they are passionate about, something that makes them happy. Or for that matter to inspire ANYONE to do something they are passionate about. People doing things, and creating job, they will be the ones to fuel our growth and get us out of this darn economy. 2. We wanted to raise awareness around our new brand “Grasshopper” and how Grasshopper is the brand for entrepreneurs. And I think you would agree that based on the coverage we received, it was well worth the time / money spent! The sales will follow.

    My e-mail is if you have any questions at all,it would be my pleasure.

    Thanks again,

  4. Kelly says:

    Drew and Jonathan,

    I’m with Karin on the penny pinching. If the campaign showed that Grasshopper is “the brand for entrepreneurs,” it had better at least pay for itself. If it didn’t then I guess it isn’t “the” brand at all.

    And not tracking ROI on $70k? I mean, fine if you didn’t want to share it in this case study, but not tracking it?

    Whew. I’m speechless.

    IMO, viral discussions of unusual swag shouldn’t be an end-goal, but a means to conversions.



  5. David says:

    To Kelly and Karin,

    The important key is to have a clear objective in mind. If the objective was to simply raise awareness about the brand then I would have to agree with Jonathan that the money and time spent was all worth it. As in any other situation, with the publicity it received, sales will follow.

  6. Karin H. says:

    Hi Jonathan/David

    Thank you for highlighting the goal of the campaign, the report shows that has been a great success and good on you I’d say. The attribute you used to get people talking was a great one – we as small retailers only got as far as handing out high quality wooden clogs on a keyring with our business name on it: “Wood You Like”.

    “Sales will follow”: in that respect you better call the $70k and investment instead of costs (as my astute accountant and mentor keeps reminding me when I – penny pinching bookkeeper and double Capricorn – grumble about his excellent ideas about the marketing campaign for our business 😉

    Kelly, I’m sure the tracking of the sales is in place – or in any event easily related to the campaign, it only takes one little question: How did you hear from us? Even we do this.

    Karin H.

  7. Hi Drew,

    Yes I remember the grasshopper post. It was certainly a great viral marketing campaign that’s for sure.

    Will have a good look through the case study when I get the chance, and I remember that when I first read the post, I started to make notes on potential campaigns, this could be the perfect time to revisit them.

  8. Kelly says:

    (Karin—I was quoting Jonathan, who said it was not a metric they tracked.)

  9. Karin H. says:

    Hi Kelly, I know you quoted that, but I’m sure the effect of the campaign can be traced/measured simple if this type of key points are already in place (and should be in place in any business, with or without extra or special campaigns).

    Karin H.

  10. I thought I’d jump into the — does the campaign have to pay for itself discussion.

    Pay for itself does not always equate to dollars. Now, for more retailers, it might in most cases. But in the B-to-B world — a great return might be on name recall and an understanding of the business offering. That alone might warm up the prospect so that they’ll allow you to continue to have additional conversations.

    I think especially as the price ticket goes up…the sales cycle slows down. And you can’t always hit a home run. Sometimes being a singles and doubles hitter can still help you score a run.


  11. James B says:

    Great find Drew, really interesting stuff.

    Also interesting is how they are extending the campaign by releasing this information – essentially leveraging the previous campaign to get their message in front of those entrepreneurs who are more metrics driven, and interested in the nitty-gritty of business and marketing: ‘We’re open, honest, professional, and capable marketers – just like you’.

    I hadn’t seen the original campaign (not sure how) and never heard of the brand, but, now I have, and I was interested enough to look at their offering. Ok, I didn’t buy, but, now I know they exist, and who-knows if I’ll need their offering in future.

    They’ve even managed to get a lively discussion going in this comment thread that has given them yet more opportunities to engage, get their message across, and impress.

    Mission accomplished! Bravo them.

    (PS I’d be willing to bet that this follow-on is a hell of a lot cheaper than the original – increasing the ROI on investments already made – even though they’re not measuring it 😉

  12. James,

    Once the snowball has started down the hill…it’s much easier to let it keep picking up speed and size.

    I think this follow up extends the campaign, demonstrates grasshopper’s sensibility re: social media and their willingness to be pretty transparent. All in all, it’s a heck of a second wave.


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