The inaugural Best Co-Marketing Campaign category is aimed at the business partner who makes the best use of its marketing budget. The judges were looking for impact, creativity, clarity of offer and a measurable return.
OSS’s original campaign, around a nurturing theme, was aimed at encouraging attendance of a sponsored breakfast in Wellington, highlighting a University of Auckland storage virtualisation case study.
OSS engaged Creative Circle to develop a theme and target a select number of businesses via handmade invitations to an intimate event. OSS’s sales and marketing manager, Gavin Stone, says the theme was Creative Circle’s brainchild, with the agency using the idea of nurturing and control of IT to draw a parallel with the ancient art of bonsai cultivation. “They listened to us talk about our business and what makes us different, sought to understand the solution then came back with a theme that encapsulated both our business and the solution. Once we heard the bonsai theme we were sold on it,” he says.
The touchpoints included a handmade box with the recipient’s name in Japanese-style characters, and an invitation to ‘Shape the growth of your IT’ by attending the OSS and IBM sponsored breakfast. While at the event, the attendees received a book entitled 101 Essential Tips for Bonsai and, meanwhile, bonsai trees were delivered to their offices.
There were gifts for those who RSVPd but didn’t make it, and even for those invitees who didn’t respond or attend.
Stone says OSS was careful in its selection of invitees. “The target audience was key decision-makers at IT management level; specifically people and organisations we thought might be open to innovative approaches.”
Although he acknowledges that there are always opportunities to improve any campaign, OSS was comfortable with both its concept and execution. “I don’t think there has ever been a campaign where the call at the end was, ‘We made too many sales!’ We always hope for more engagements than we get. Our ‘dropout’ rate was a little higher than expected, but the weather was a big factor in that.”
For a budget of $20,000, OSS sent out 40 invitations and received 14 RSVPs. It calculated its return on investment based on two leads and an estimated return of $500,000, but Stone says OSS’s metrics for success were more qualitative than quantitative. “We were looking for an opportunity to introduce our innovative approach and key people to clients in Wellington, and we certainly achieved that.”