Contact: Kirsten Watson, Director of Marketing
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Industry: Software, B2B
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: 120
Double your fun, double your pleasure... or, at least, that's how it worked for supply-chain software provider Kinaxis, which realized it needed to do something different if it was going to continue expanding market share.
Intrigued by the popularity of online video, the company worked with The Second City to produce a series of comedy videos to be used to drive traffic and conversions on the Kinaxis site.
The videos quickly became the most visited content on the company website. They also helped Kinaxis achieve "all-time highs" in overall site traffic, search-engine traffic, and conversions, and they doubled the number of subscriptions to the company's RSS blog feed within the first month of launch.
Founded in 1995, Ottawa-based Kinaxis helps manufacturing companies improve their demand/supply planning, monitoring, and response capabilities via an on-demand supply-chain management service called RapidResponse.
Although service subscription sales had continued to climb, allowing the company to more than double its subscription revenue between 2007 and 2008, brand awareness was not as strong as the company had hoped for after more than a dozen years in business.
To expand awareness in 2009, the company resolved to "find a way to resonate with the people in our marketplace who deal with the problems we solve, in a new and engaging way," said Kirsten Watson, director of marketing for Kinaxis.
Step 1: Creating the hook
In conjunction with The Second City, Kinaxis produced a series of sitcom-esque "Married to the Job" videos, which used a comedic angle to speak to three specific business issues common in supply chain operations.
Using a company microsite as the main campaign destination, Kinaxis launched the first video on February 26, 2009, and followed with two others, two to three weeks apart.
Step 2: Drawing people in
Kinaxis used the following tactics to push traffic to the microsite:
- Email: After testing a couple subject lines on a small sample, the company engaged in large-scale email outreach and emailed to its complete database.
- Website resources: It also used space on the company homepage and blog to promote and link to the videos.
- Video networks: The videos were also posted on the Kinaxis Supply Chain YouTube channel, as well as a variety of other video sites, including Dailymotion, Break, Vidler, Crackle and Metacafe.
- Professional networks: Company staff posted notices on professional networking and knowledge-sharing communities—such as LinkedIn, EMS people, and toolbox.com—inviting users of view lighthearted videos featuring supply-chain humor.
Step 3: Driving engagement and conversions
Kinaxis's primary goal for the microsite was to stimulate that "next step," i.e., to encourage visitors to request further information or interaction with the company. So, in addition to the videos, the microsite included links to...
- Subscribe to the company blog via RSS feed and email—a channel the company leverages to further shape relationships with users
- Download supply-chain-related whitepapers, which showcase the company's expertise
- Subscribe to the "Married to the Job" RSS feed—an effort to encourage return visits
- Sign up for the company newsletter—to continue building its contact list
- Receive company news and press releases—to help keep Kinaxis top of mind
- Follow the company on Twitter and help build its presence there
Kinaxis also spurred engagement by using...
- Detailed character profiles for each character introduced in the videos, which not only helped build affinity and connection to those characters but also infused personality and keyword-heavy content into the site
- Promotions of upcoming video releases and the other videos already available in the series, which encouraged visitors to spend more time on the site and return to see how the story continues
- A share widget, which prompted visitors to circulate the videos via email; content sharing sites such as Reddit, Facebook, Delicious, Buzz Up, Technorati, FriendFeed, Xanga, and Blinklist; and posts to their blogs and other online profiles
- Contests that provided an opportunity for visitors to submit their ideas for subsequent episodes and win prizes, if selected
Adding the video microsite to the company website resulted in a record volume of site traffic, with the microsite quickly becoming the company's top content page and new visitors accounting for 72.67% of all visitors in the first month after launch.
According to Google analytics, the site's search engine traffic shot up 72% in that first month, aided in part by increased keyword density via the character-profile pages.
In addition, on-site conversions (e.g., whitepaper downloads, blog and newsletter signups, new Twitter followers, etc.) grew about 60%, again achieving all-time highs for the company and doubling the number of blog subscribers within the first month.
- Connect with people's pain: Amid the economic doom and gloom, Kinaxis is using comedy to relate to potential customers and show that it understands their everyday issues. And by encouraging visitors to submit their own ideas, the company is able to further cement that connection with some users while also gathering insight into specific user needs.
- Optimize for search: Adding character profiles was a good way to add personality and interest to the video microsite and still generate a tangible win for the company in the form of improved search result rankings (due to the additional content available for the search engines to crawl) and the highest volumes of search traffic to date. The key was to incorporate plenty of related keywords into the profiles, but to still make them interesting and entertaining for users. (Kinaxis likely further improved its rankings in search results by incorporating highly searched keywords into its video tags, as well.)
- Encourage sharing: A share widget is an important component of any video dissemination strategy, since a friend's or influencer's recommendation will carry far more weight than any company promotion. Kinaxis's videos were forwarded and posted around 4,000 times in the first month alone—that meant 4,000+ additional impressions (keeping in mind that a blog, Twitter, or Facebook profile post can potentially reach all of that user's readers, followers, or friends), without any further investment by the company.
- Focus on a select call-to-action: Kinaxis offered a smorgasbord of ways for visitors to further engage with its brand once on the microsite, hoping to simultaneously appeal to broad interests. Watson said, however, that in hindsight it may have been more effective to focus on a single call-to-action, such as subscriptions to its blog, where the company says it has a better opportunity to continue the conversation with potential customers.
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- The Kinaxis campaign microsite
- The Kinaxis Supply Chain YouTube channel
- The Kinaxis blog
- The Kinaxis website
- The Second City corporate services website
Looking for more video inspiration? Check out Secrets of Viral Video: Three Keys to Launching a Campaign That Resonates to learn how to create a winning viral video program. Premium Plus Members may also enjoy viewing YouTube for Business, Part 1: Making YouTube Part of Your Online Marketing Strategy and YouTube for Business, Part 2: Creating Effective YouTube Business Videos, a YouTube-video "how-to" seminar doubleheader in the MarketingProfs Seminar Library. We hope these resources help you make videos an effective part of your marketing mix.