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October 10th, 2007

BigFix: Leader of the Free Social Marketing World?

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p>”Let’s make some viral videos!”

Sure, we’ve heard that one before. It’s easy, right? You just make a video, upload it to YouTube, and the next thing you know you have 250,000 views and the qualified leads are falling from the sky. That, and the Easter Bunny is a CIO with $500k of budget to burn through this quarter.

But there is a reason people want viral video, because once in a great while it hits and it hits big. “Big” as in “Bigfix” and their Ray Hopewood viral video campaigns. You want stats? How about 1.4 million video views, 44 qualified leads and extensive coverage in the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and on NPR (see “related links,” below).

The Ray Hopewood campaign began as an extension of BigFix’s successful “Software Truth Commission” viral video campaign, conceived by BigFix CEO Dave Robbins and implemented by marketing firm Rassak Experience. That ficticious campaign was set in Washington, D.C., to investigate the heavy-handed billing practices (and over-promises) of big enterprise software companies.

“We needed to do a follow-up given how popular the first series was,” said David Appelbaum, VP of Marketing at BigFix. “Given that it was an election year and the software truth commission was in Washington … not to mention the outsize of egos of so many enterprise software entrepreneurs – a presidential campaign seemed like a natural extension.”

BUT DID IT SELL STUFF?

The first Hopewood campaign ran for nine months, and produced 40 qualified leads as well as 250,000 visits to the BigFix site, 370,000 page views and 1.2 million downloads. The entire campaign was bolstered by banner ads on several sites, so it’s difficult to say if the Hopewood campaign itself resulted in the new business, or if it was actually a result of banner ads catching a prospect’s attention and then driving that prospect to the Hopewood site. That may not be true “viral” exposure, but it’s hard to separate elements of a cohesive campaign and say which element was or was not responsible for the new business.

AND DOES IT STILL SELL STUFF?

The new Hopewood for President campaign has only been running for 2.5 months, and has generated 4 qualified new leads along with over 100,000 unique visitors and 125,000 page views on the Hopewood site, 200,000 video views across all sites, and 25 Hopewood swag items sold (Appelbaum said they didn’t sell any Hopewood thongs, however). BigFix is thrilled with the numbers, considering that as of yet they’ve run no banner ads to bolster the campaign.

BESIDES SELLING STUFF, WHAT DID IT DO?
The coverage from the New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, NPR and dozens of blogs drew ample attention to the BigFix brand.

“We’ve gotten better brand coverage than any press release or ad we could ever run, short of an IPO or acquisition announcement,” Appelbaum said. “These campaigns encapsulate the irreverence and disruptive nature of our solutions better than anything and so become superb branding exercises.”

RELATED LINKS:

Filed in Public Relations, Social Media

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