Enter the Binary Matrix: An In-Depth Look at a Multi-Touch Technology Event

PR Guidebook Content Marketing

By Erin Dunkel

Binary Tree is a “20-year old start-up” – with the energy of a new company and 20 years of history and growth, it’s a unique type of organization. Binary Tree makes email migration software products, which is a very narrow market niche. Only a very few companies play in this niche, with the largest company being Dell/Quest Software. Competing against a “Goliath” inspires a team of “Davids” at Binary Tree to produce innovative marketing and publicity activities that drive brand awareness and drive revenue for the company’s team members and stakeholders.

The company’s brand plays off the binary tree/binary code technology on which the company’s product portfolio is built. The target market of enterprise IT decision-makers understands the binary tree concept, and the brand connotes expertise and knowledge in this arena.

The decision-makers and staff responsible for ensuring that email (messaging) works during and after a migration may only be in a position to migrate every few years, so there is a continual need to promote the Binary Tree brand in the market for those intermittent or opportunistic purchases. In the case of a small company like Binary Tree competing against a much larger competitor, PR and content marketing are ideal tools to perpetuate Binary Tree’s message in the market.

From ongoing blog posts to outbound campaigns, from social media to event marketing, Binary Tree has focused its marketing and public relations activities using an annual “theme” for its brand to resonate with audiences. This past year’s theme was a play on the movie series The Matrix, where people were encouraged to “Enter The Binary Matrix.” This theme has been integrated into all of Binary Tree’s marketing, PR and social activities, from events to social media posts, email marketing and more.

Planning for the Matrix Challenge

One specific Binary Tree live event incorporated the Matrix theme, which resulted in increased revenue for the company, as well as thought leadership and brand awareness. For a large industry event attended by IT decision-makers, a full experiential environment was created over the course of several months incorporating several types of media, including:

  • An exciting photo contest on social media, a nationally-distributed press release and targeted email marketing to build buzz and engage prospects before the actual event;
  • A unique in-booth experience, including a daily challenge to solve binary code puzzles, with a creative video based on the theme playing in the background. There were also theme-specific promotional items – instead of the red and blue pills from the movie, this event featured branded red and blue M&Ms and even a roaming movie character! Social media and additional public relations activities rounded out the live event experience; and
  • Post-event activities included additional branded email marketing, scripted inside sales follow-up, follow-up social media posts and strategic phone and email communications between sales reps and interested prospects.

Pre-Event PR and Content Marketing

A deeper look into the company’s pre-event activities includes both PR and content marketing. A pre-event photo contest was promoted on Facebook for all Binary Tree followers. The company’s followers were encouraged to take a photo of something that clearly displayed “0s” and “1s” (the basic elements of binary code), and to post the photo on the corporate Facebook page or tweet a link to a photo on that page. The winner would receive a $100 gift card, and some basic information on the winner would also be posted on the page. With dozens of entries, the contest solidified the company’s brand in the minds of its target audience.

To build buzz and encourage booth traffic, a targeted email marketing campaign was sent to attendees from the prior year’s event, as well as additional prospects and partner companies. The campaign flow began with a message containing binary code, and an offer to visit the company’s booth and solve additional challenges to win prizes. Follow-up email messages included information about the company’s products, highlighting specific product elements that differentiated the company from its competition, as well as other content on the company, such as recent award wins and completed client engagements.

The remaining pre-event activities included a timely press release, associated social media and frequent website updates on the event. Social media engagement rates markedly rose leading up to the event as existing followers and fans continued to engage with the company through these media, and new prospects were engaged in the pre-event timeframe.

Live Event PR and Content Marketing

The onsite atmosphere was one of excitement and novelty. No other exhibiting company was sponsoring a challenge similar to Binary Tree. Every day during the event, a binary code challenge was offered at the top of every exhibit hour. The code was prominently displayed within the company booth, and attendees were encouraged to solve each challenge for a chance to win a prize. The company’s booth staff included solution architects and sales reps, who engaged attendees during and after each challenge to identify buying needs and to provide product information or schedule a product demo at a later time.

The technical audience not only enjoyed the opportunity to solve the binary code challenges, some attendees returned to the booth to attempt additional puzzles on other days for more chances to win the prizes being offered! The binary code challenges themselves incorporated elements of Binary Tree’s corporate history, its product portfolio, and other technology phrases and words that the tech-focused audience would appreciate (e.g., best-in-class, throughput, etc). A unique event Twitter handle had been created, which was displayed in the booth, and was also imprinted on the company’s team shirts (#BinaryMEC). An event-focused social media calendar was created for the show, with a stream of posts on Twitter and Facebook announcing each new challenge, the answer to each puzzle, and each day’s challenge winner.

Post-Event PR and Content Marketing

Post-event activities included additional branded email marketing to allow booth visitors to self-qualify themselves for follow-up and potential product sales. The call to action was for attendees to answer several questions about email migration timing, budget, and decision-making authority. An accompanying phone script was developed for prospective customers, and email templates were designed and branded to continue to engage prospects after the event. Social media posts were slowly diminished to allow the sales process to ramp up. Last, a post-event corporate blog post encapsulating the Binary Tree team’s collective experience at the event was produced and promoted through the company’s social media sites.

Overall Event Results

Binary Tree’s participation at this event far exceeded expectations among the company’s executive team, as well as its Sales, Marketing, and Partner

Management teams. Results from the experiential event included:

  • More than $180k in new direct customer and partner business opportunities were identified
  • Brand awareness within the firm’s target markets increase
  • New followers and fans were acquired on the company’s social media sites
  • Sharp pickup was measured in North American news outlets
  • A positive attitude among booth visitors was built
  • Binary Tree was promoted as a thought leader

 

 

 

Integration of Channels Equals Greater Interest

  • For a live event, use all communication channels available, whether company- or event-sponsored. Your company’s existing social media and public relations channels should always be utilized, and take advantage of event-specific channels such as an event Twitter handle, sponsored tweets, event-specific Instagram account, or other ways to promote your company leading up and during the event. Remember that the combination of channels generates exponential audience interest.
  • Pre-schedule as much of your firm’s channel communication as possible. Live events are always hectic, and your team can be pulled in many different directions once onsite, including customer meetings, partner discussions and even networking events. Be sure to schedule your messaging as much as possible so you can focus on your live audience.
  • Be flexible to allow for new or timely content or PR opportunities. A great onsite photo, a customer’s comment from an in-booth meeting, or content from an event session can all be incorporated into your live event feeds – so stay alert and agile during the event to incorporate timely content into your customer-facing communications.
  • Don’t forget to follow-up after the live event ends. You’ve worked so hard to get onsite, and the event will quickly come and go. With your newly-identified business opportunities, partner or network leads, or new personal contacts, you need to make time after the event to continue your communications with these audiences. You have a fairly short window of opportunity to engage with these contacts before they forget the goodwill that you built onsite. Take time to formulate a follow-up process that continues their buying decision, expands your reach, or increases your visibility.

 

 

 

Tools For Your Event Toolbox

A variety of tools can enhance your pre-event, onsite and post-event presence. Use as many of these tools as possible to maximize your onsite investment:

  • Unique event Twitter handle
  • Press release
  • Social media posts
  • Branded promotional items for giveaways
  • An in-booth activity, such as taking a quiz or something physical for attendees to do
  • Running slide demo presentation
  • Signage
  • Themed exhibitry or branded booth backdrop
  • In-booth audio, such as a theme song, sound effects or staff wireless mikes to interest booth traffic
  • Product/services collateral
  • Branded email messages
  • Follow-up telemarketing or call-down scripts

As published in PR News Guidebook: The Book of Content Marketing Strategies and Tactics, 2014. This material cannot be used without written permission from the author.

 

 

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