TBT: Dancing hamsters – creative & tech DO mix!

We’re at the Florida Venture Forum, and at yesterday’s Women in Venture Capital event we were reminded how often technology companies forget that creative campaigns work! So with a nod to Throwback Thursdays, we wanted to share a story of how the unexpected brought unexpected success.

A few years back, we had an amazing client who had a skincare product. Based on tech developed to help burn victims, this small company had begun to move into the beauty market. And we were launching a press initiative for them.

So — a quick note about beauty editors. They get swag. They get serious swag. And they get invitations to spectacular events like Paris Fashion Week. So, how were we going to stand out in the midst of ALL that “stuff?” And how were we going to explain the tech behind the product in a way that editors could easily share with their readers?

Enter Carly, the Dancing Hamster. Carly wore a business suit, carried a cell phone in one hand, a briefcase in the other and sang, in her squeaky hamster voice, “She Works Hard for the Money.” We donned Carly with a custom banner, added a great promo card complete with a limerick which hinted at the advanced tech in the client’s products and supported all the fun pieces with a detailed press backgrounder and online “quiz.” (You can find more details here!)

BUT — the reason we got traction wasn’t because of the detailed tech explanation. It was Carly. With follow-up calls to our targeted editors we simply had to say “We sent you the hamster.” And no matter the reaction (usually laughter) there was a REACTION!

This simply gave us the hook to get our clients product on the radar cost-effectively in an industry where $1000s of dollars are spent per editor just to get a 10-line-mention in a beauty favorites page.

Why is this important? Because we see so many technology companies who forget to bring the creative — which means they forget to connect to emotions. They so busy selling the features of their next-generation, earth-changing tech, they forget their audience is made up of HUMANS who laugh, cry and love.

The approach changes for every customer you target, but never forget to tap your creative side (or let us help you tap it!) to connect to their emotions. That’s what gets your next-generation technology noticed and makes it memorable!

 

Spark Rocket Has Babies! — A social marketing experiment

We just gave birth at Mission Command! Well, sort of. We’ve had “babies” as a social marketing experiment. Yes, egg babies.

 

Remember that low-tech teaching tool of giving adolescents eggs to carry around to teach them responsibility?

 

Well, we’ve decided to have a similar social marketing experiment at Spark Rocket. You see, we’re great at advocating for our own technology and start-up clients. We’re all about creating engaging content for games, security, real estate, prosthetics, cosmeceuticals, aeronautics and other technology markets and teaching clients how to share it via social marketing to build a following.

 

But it’s giving ourselves the same social marketing love that we kind of really stink at. We forget to pay attention to our own needs and, as a result, neglect to share via social networks some really valuable marketing information. This not only reduces our own self-promotion, it keeps us from engaging with the start-ups and entrepreneurs we adore helping! And it’s pretty hard to stand by our teachings if we’re not following them (that “the cobblers children have no shoes” saying wears thin after a while!)

 

Oh — and we want to be better stewards of our personal health too. After all happy, healthy Spark Rocketeers means better service for our clients!!!

 

So in that vein — our core team had babies. Raw egg babies. (Uhm, as an aside, we are amazed that the first question people ask are if they are raw? I promise, we have NO plans to eat our babies at the end of the experiment. Just sayin’.) Two of them. Each. And each baby has a series of “feeding times” and we have to keep them with us at all times as a physical reminder that taking care of ourselves is important.

Social Marketing Progress: How are the babies?

Thus far, in three days of our social marketing experiment, no one has killed cracked their baby. So that’s good. And at “feeding time” we have done things like:

  • Written several blogs
  • Updated our social accounts
  • Done training in new social media best practices and analytics management
  • Added a REALLY NEAT software script to our Twitter account to boost engagement!
  • Cleaned up our emails
  • Practiced self-care: stopped to mediate for ten minutes, drink an extra bottle of water, chat with co-working office members (who are really enjoying seeing how this experiment is going!) or take a walk around

So, we’ll let you know how on this blog and via our social channels how things go (of course, if we don’t — you’ll pretty much know the results!).

 

Meanwhile — wish us luck with our babies. Feel free to ask us YOUR questions about them (and tell us they are the cutest raw egg babies you have ever seen), and feel free to share what crazy practices YOU use at your office to stay on top of “entrepreneurial self care.”

 

Happy entrepreneurial technology marketing from the gang at Mission Command!

 

 

No F***s left Friday: Guerrilla doesn’t always mean “good”

We LOVE guerrilla marketing campaigns. We can’t get enough of them. We build flash mobs, send out flying pigs, create dragon costumes, give away cute plush puppies…

BuddyWithBuddy

…here’s ADORABLE DIXIE with her Prempoint BUDDY? “Buddy” was a promotion that helped drive up our client’s web traffic by 230% for three days and made them hugely successful at an industry tradeshow!

 

Our campaigns are fun, engaging, memorable, socially shareable and really stand out in an all-too-often BORING technology market.

 

BUT, all of our guerrilla marketing campaigns would be a WASTE. OF. MONEY. if they didn’t have solid, strategic thought behind them. Because none of them would yield measurable ROI if they didn’t build on a solid, strategic path.

 

 

So, here are a few of the strategic “musts” you have to consider when building an effective guerrilla campaign.

Know your customer profile

Before you determine the creative part of the campaign, where you plan to execute it. the choice of offline or digital and so forth, you have to know your customer profile. This is more than the demographics of gender, education, income and location — but is rather the delving into “a day in the life” of your customer. Where do they get their coffee — Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts or the office sludge machine? Do they bring lunch from home, dine with office colleagues or use lunch to run errands? Do they have dinner at home  All of this MATTERS when you’re building incentives, determining if your target customer will respond to everything from the music you use for your flash mob (Liz Phair for security industry guys? Uhm, NO!) to the prizes you offer for your contest.

 

Campaigns are for people — not companies

When you go to create that incentive, if you’re thinking of offering a FREE unit of the business to business product you sell as a reason for someone to enter your contest, engage with you at a tradeshow or make an appointment with you — think again! If I win a free printer for my company, well, how does that really help me personally? I’d be more enthused to join your mailing list if you offer a happy hour for me and 10 of my friends! Or if you have a swath of Mom-types who are the purchasing managers for the companies you target — might they love a mother-daughter pedicure? The point is — at least in the business-to-business marketing we are known for — it’s easy to forget you’re building a relationship with your customer as a person. And that goes beyond how your widget may help their company improve. You’re selling to a person, and appealing to their wants and needs.

 

You’ve about a nano-second to tell the story…

This one’s simple. If you have to explain it in more than a breath. Kill it.

 

…You’ve got less to connect to your product or service

And just in case this follow-on isn’t obvious. If it’s hard to tell WHO the promotion is for. Kill it.

 

Those are the basics. We’d love to tell you more about the importance of strategy when developing creative campaigns! Contact us before you plan your next promotion, advertising, event or show!

ROCKET-FUELED READ OF THE WEEK!

We like the following post from Heidi Cohen. We’re planning a future post to help technology business builders by providing our view on the differences between marketing, marketing communications and the many marketing sub-categories. We think it can be incredibly challenging to know the difference when your day-to-day revolves around inventing and building advanced technologies. But if building your advanced technology into a viable business is important, you’re going to want a foundation in the terms so you can best select the marketing resources and activities–like content marketing, branding, promotions and public relations–that you need!

We think this article is a pretty good pre-tutorial to that, so it’s our Rocket-Fueled Read of the Week! Thanks Heidi!

What Marketing Is NOT – Heidi Cohen

My recent post of marketing definitions with contributions from seventy-two different sources generated a lo . . .http://heidicohen.com/what-marketing-is-not/

Copyright © 2015 by Heidi Cohen, some rights reserved.

 

 

Marketing 101 for Mad (and not so mad) Scientists

We’ve been involved in helping emerging technologies right out of the laboratory go from tech to successfully sold product or successful exit for over 20 years (we’re kind of bad a**es in that area.) So we’re confident in giving you this piece of early advice.

Your technology may be the neatest thing since sliced bread. But poor brand choices, not properly evaluating your customer or customer profile, implementing the wrong tactical marketing or, prior to that and most importantly–not validating your market potential prior to moving out of the lab–can be costly or even business-ending.

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A toast to resolutions!

It seems to have become fashionable to eschew resolution-making. Provocative headlines citing studies of how often resolutions fail are filling my Facebook feed.

But we’d like to raise a toast to resolutions! (BTW- we’ll admit it’s a slightly self-serving toast — it seems that greater temperance in one form or another is a collective resolution for 2016 among Spark Rocket’s team and clients, so we have to get in all the martini toasts we can, NOW!)

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