As the head of marketing for a fast-growing startup, I love the new year because it means so many things: Resolutions (sometimes). Holiday hangovers (often). Unspent budget (never). One of my favorite exercises is to gather the team and look back and assess which of last year’s campaigns worked and which didn’t. It’s like group therapy – celebrating the ‘bright spots’ that should be repeated, while getting closure by putting those under-performing (and sometimes embarrassing) programs in the rear view mirror.

Most of what I’ve learned in marketing comes from observing the successes of others, so it makes sense to share our biggest and best B2B marketing campaigns from 2014 on our blog.

Not every campaign was a clear winner; many could have been planned executed a lot better. Some campaigns were super creative…but fell a little short of our expectations. Others had incredible ROI but weren’t our personal favorites for one reason or another. It happens, right?

Here are Influitive’s 10 biggest marketing campaigns from 2014 in no particular order, with a little personal perspective from the team mixed in. Enjoy!

1. Pandemic

An interactive online team-based game generated 826K social media impressions in 6 days


We created an experiential online contest called Pandemic that pushed our advocate marketing software to its limits for something it was never meant to do: facilitate team-based gameplay. During the six-day contest, 25 teams of four worked together to collect clues and solve puzzles to win cash prizes.

Read more about Pandemic
While Pandemic created a lot of buzz among our existing base of advocates, partners and prospects, who amplified their excitement on Twitter using the hashtag #stoppandemic, we now realize that we relied too much on word of mouth to promote the campaign – a huge missed opportunity to expose even more potential customers to our software. If we were to do it again, word of mouth and social promotion would still be a key tactic, but we would also make other types of promotion – such as email campaigns – a priority. 

       

2. Dreamforce VIP Experience

3X increase in booth traffic over Dreamforce ’13 For the last two years, Dreamforce has been our single largest investment of the year. Between sponsorship, swag, contests, travel and accommodations, the costs really start to add up. That’s why our attitude is: go big or go home. For us, a perfect Dreamforce theme has to incorporate advocacy, online buzz and creativity. We started by brainstorming various themes we could run with before, during and after the event – some were better than others.

Read more about the Dreamforce VIP Experience
EM_Header_670Wide_InfluitiveWe believe that companies should treat their biggest advocates like VIPs, so we wanted to bring that idea and experience to Dreamforce. After much deliberation, we finally settled on the Dreamforce VIP Experience. Think red carpets, papparazzi, flashing cameras, designer duds – everything celebs would experience as VIPs. For the expo hall, we decided to deck our booth to look like the red carpet of a movie premiere. We invited people wandering the show floor to snap a pic (taken with a professional camera with a huge, bright flash) on the red carpet holding a movie clapper that said who they were and which company they’re an advocate for. Then we tweeted each photo with their Twitter handle, the company’s Twitter handle and the #DF14 hashtag. We were also handing out mock designer bags, which we called InfluiVuitton. We also held a series of video interviews on the red carpet at our booth. All of this activity attracted a ton of attention – and foot traffic – to our booth. In 2013, about 320 people visited our booth. At Dreamforce ’14, more than 1,000 people came to our booth – a more than 3X increase over last year. To complement our efforts on the Dreamforce expo hall floor, we also orchestrated a Dreamforce VIP Experience contest online using our newest product, AdvocateHub Experiences. All in all, 370 participants completed more than 1100 activities. More importantly, many of the participants told us the Dreamforce VIP Experience genuinely enhanced their conference experience. Read the Dreamforce VIP Experience case study.

3. The B2B Marketer’s Field Guide To Customer Engagement

Influitive’s top-performing content asset in 2014

Our content marketer is really blunt about this one: The B2B Marketer’s Field Guide To Customer Engagement was probably her least favorite asset this year. Hands down.

4. Standing out at the SiriusDecisions Summit

From an Office Space meme to an online event experience


As deadlines for various conferences and tradeshows loom, we find ourselves asking the same question over and over again: How can we stand out against dozens or maybe even hundreds of other vendors?

Read more about the SiriusDecisions Summit
For the SiriusDecisions Summit, our strategy was two-fold: 1) Lose the traditional booth branding and use a meme to catch people’s attention – risky at a pretty serious event attended mostly by marketing leaders. We had to choose the right meme with the right tone. Although we went through countless meme ideas, ultimately we narrowed it down to three:

          • Business Cat: “10X better leads…right meow”

 

 

        • Dos Equis’ Most Interesting Man In The World: “I don’t always get referrals…but when I do, they convert at 10X”

 

 

        • Office Space: “Yeah, 10X better leads…that’d be great”

 

        After much discussion, the Office Space meme came out as the clear winner. Everyone knows Office Space. Released in 1999, it hit the height of its popularity at the same time today’s Gen X marketing leaders were settling into their office jobs for the long haul. All in all, our conference booth got a lot of attention, including Standout Booth recognition by Lattice Engines in their SD Summit recap post. 2) Engage conference attendees in an online experience and contest running parallel to the event. We used our software, AdvocateHub, to launch the SiriusDecisions Summit Hub and positioned it as an opportunity for attendees to network with their peers, learn even more best practices and compete for amazing prizes before, during and after the event. We only generated 141 leads from this small conference, but those converted into 12 solid opportunities for our sales team.

5. The Rise of the Customer Marketer

Creating the first resources for an under-served marketing hero The Rise of the Customer MarketerMost of Influitive’s customers are customer marketers themselves, one way or another. Whether “customer marketing” is in their job title or not, they typically use our advocate marketing software to engage their customers. We kept hearing from them over and over again that there wasn’t much out there to help them become better customer marketers or learn about what other customer marketers were doing.

Read more about The Rise of the Customer Marketer
There were few benchmarks, blog posts, conferences or eBooks created just for them. Customer marketing had historically been thought of as a marketing backwater, but we believe customer marketers are the new rising stars on the marketing team — finally taking their place alongside demand gen and content marketers when it comes to revenue generation. We started by listening to our buyers, customers and advocates, conducting phone interviews with more than 20 customer marketers and marketing leaders about the role (some of them are our customers, some of them are not). We asked them all the same questions about customer marketing and encouraged them to tell us what they would want to see in a resource written and designed just for customer marketers. They had a lot of requests and we listened to them. demand-metric-benchmark-report-customer-marketing-cover-borderAbove all, they wanted numbers to compare themselves against, so we hired research firm Demand Metric to conduct a survey about customer marketing with B2B marketers and compile a report with the study’s findings as well as recommendations for how to maximize customer marketing results: Customer Marketing Benchmark Research Report. As a companion piece, we produced The Rise of the Customer Marketer, an eBook telling the story of how customer marketers are becoming more important than ever, supported by quotes from many of the marketers we interviewed. We repurposed the eBook and many of the interviews into blog posts, and also hosted a session at the Demand Metric Customer Engagement Virtual Summit with a Demand Metric analyst and one of our customers from HP. Together, the three assets have been downloaded more than 2,000 times, resulting in over 30 opportunities and a new customer. Download the report now!

6. Influitive Exposed

A risque, in-depth case study attracts a new customer in less than 1 month

B2B marketing and nudity…go hand in hand, right? Umm, not exactly. When we decided to bring our own advocate marketing case study to life with allusions to baring all, stripping down, being naked, etc., we knew we’d be taking a huge risk. We had to avoid damaging our brand and the reputation of our customers and employees. How’d we do it?

Read about Influitive Exposed
INF-Exposed-Portrait-2We started by getting stakeholders across the organization involved in the planning and decision-making, all the way up to our CEO. Not your typical process for a case study. It wasn’t easy to get exactly right. We wanted to give the impression of being “exposed” without coming across in a sexual or sleazy way.

After going through countless photo options and multiple drafts of the content, we shared an early version of Influitive Exposed with our advocates and asked for their feedback. With dozens of responses from our advocates in just a few days, we had a pretty good idea of what the larger reaction might be. The vast majority loved it, but a handful didn’t. We were expecting that, but these genuine reactions gave us a pretty good idea of what would happen when we released Exposed to the public. Just like our advocates, most people loved it – we got more replies to that email campaign than any other before it.

Just released in December, it’s still a little early to report results for Influitive Exposed. It’s already off to a decent start, however: 5 opportunities resulting in 1 closed won deal.

Download Influitive Exposed now!

7. Dead opps campaign

Helping the sales team bring 8 dead opportunities back to life for 2015


You know how it goes: you send your sales team tons of incredible leads, but for one reason or another, a bunch of them don’t amount to much. The opportunity goes dead. We wanted to close out 2014 by working with one of our Sales Development Reps to bring as many of these dead opps back to life as possible.

Read more about the dead opps campaign
The campaign was quick and easy: Using Marketo, we created a simple text-based email that would be sent from one of our SDRs, Kory. We also set up alert emails so he would know anytime someone clicked on one of his emails. In the span of a few days, the campaign created 8 new opportunities and helped us kick off the new year with a stronger sales pipeline!

8. Beyond NPS® eBook

Co-produced with a partner, this eBook generated the most inquiries from social ads Influitive has strong partnerships with a number of fantastic organizations, including the Waypoint Group. Together, we decided to produce an eBook on a topic that was near and dear to both of our companies: identifying and mobilizing advocates.

Read more about the Beyond NPS® eBook
Beyond-NPS-Identifying-Advocates-and-Inviting-Them-To-Take-Action-cover-flatBeyond NPS®: Identifying Advocates And Inviting Them To Take Action was our first eBook co-produced with a partner, so we split up the content creation between based on our areas of expertise. For Waypoint, it’s measuring customer satisfaction and identifying advocates. And for us, it’s inviting advocates into advocate marketing programs and mobilizing them. So, we started at the beginning – measuring customer satisfaction to identify advocates through Net Promoter® Scores – and went from there. We also gathered more than a dozen tips from our advocates to include in the eBook about how to identify and invite advocates into a program, and gave them access to the eBook before anyone else. Once we started promoting the eBook more publicly, however, we realized something interesting: the traffic and inquiries from social ads on LinkedIn were just pouring in. We were able to target people with NPS® or Net Promoter® Score as a skills on LinkedIn, so the ads were much more targeted than anything we’ve ever promoted. It was the first piece of content where inquiries from social ads were equal to or greater than organic inquiries. The ads, however, also caught the attention of the companies behind NPS®, however. They reached out and kindly reminded us that NPS®, Net Promoter® and Net Promoter® Score are registered trademarks of Satmetrix Systems, Inc., Bain & Company and Fred Reichheld…hence all the ® symbols. Download the eBook now!

9. Aaron Ross webinar

Leveraging industry influencers to create our most popular webinar

We do a lot of webinars throughout the year, but our most successful by far – in terms of registrations, engagement and long-term value – was the one that featured Aaron Ross sharing some of his Predictable Revenue best practices.

Read more about our webinar with Aaron Ross
If you don’t know who he is, Aaron is a best-selling author and expert on building predictable revenue with sales and marketing best practices. He’s kind of a celebrity in B2B sales and marketing. Thanks to an existing relationship with Aaron, he agreed to join us for this webinar and share his expertise. About 500 people signed up to hear Aaron speak and engagement during the event itself was off the charts compared to our other webinars: everyone wanted to ask him a question.

As a result of our discussions around the webinar, Aaron also launched an advocate marketing program around his own brand called the Predictable Revenue Round Table using Influitive’s AdvocateHub software and invited his followers to join. Nearly 800 advocates have signed up to participate in the program and stay engaged with Aaron and the Predictable Revenue brand over the long-term, exposing hundreds of enthusiastic sales and marketing professionals to our software.

10. BAM!TV

The first late-night style talk show for B2B marketers, viewed 2,000 times in 24 hours

We wanted to do a big product launch, announcing a new feature in our advocate marketing software, AdvocateHub. Unfortunately, most B2B software product launches are Boring with a capital B. We didn’t want to do the typical datasheet, press release, demo video approach…it had to be something different. And, more importantly, as an advocate marketing software company, it had to involve Influitive’s biggest advocates.

Read more about BAM!TV
Naturally, we decided to produce a late-night style talk show written and performed with B2B marketers in mind. The topic of the show couldn’t just be a product launch, however – it had to have broader appeal. First airing on December 4, 2014, BAM!TV is more “Jimmy Fallon” than B2B marketing, complete with an opening monologue by the host, guest stars and commercials. The content of the show centers on the changes taking place in B2B marketing, specifically around how marketers can help shape the customer experience and leverage advocacy to drive brand, demand and revenue.

BAM!TV features 5 special guests, including 2 happy Influitive customers (Meagen Eisenberg, VP of Customer Marketing at DocuSign, and Bo Bandy, Marketing Communications Manager at ReadyTalk), a highly respected analyst (Bob Peterson, Research Director at SiriusDecisions), as well as Influitive’s own founder and CEO, Mark Organ, and Director of Product Marketing, Jody Mooney. We did work our product launch into the show, with a short segment featuring Jody walking the audience through AdvocateHub Experiences – and being totally surprised by an Apple-style “leak” of a new product we haven’t announced yet. Otherwise, though, we kept references to Influitive’s software to a minimum. How did we make BAM!TV interactive? In a number of ways:

1) We used our own product – this is a product launch, after all! We created the BAM!TV Experience in our own advocate marketing program and invited our customers, partners and anyone who signed up to watch BAM!TV in the weeks leading up to the premiere to join. In the BAM!TV Experience, viewers could learn more about BAM!TV guests, engage on social media, complete fun activities related to BAM!TV and more. Along the way, they earned points and badges, and vied for the top spot on the BAM!TV Experience leaderboard.

2) We created a highly interactive viewing page for BAM!TV, featuring facts and content related to the segment currently being viewed. Viewers can also skip between video chapters. We held a Twitter chat following the east coast launch of the show featuring two of the stars of BAM!TV, Bo and Meagen. Participants could join in on the conversation about the future of B2B marketing and ask questions based on what they saw on BAM!TV.

Which Influitive marketing campaign from 2014 was your favorite?