Viral Video Revitalizes B2B Brand

CHALLENGE

TIBCO is a well-known brand to IT professionals; however, the company does not have the brand name recognition of its direct competitors IBM, Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. These competitors all have significantly larger marketing and advertising budgets, customer bases and sales resources. Many industry analysts, media and bloggers were beginning to publicly question TIBCO’s viability as an independent software company, making it challenging for the company to sustain healthy revenue growth as well as recruit new talent. TIBCO turned to the Bateman Group to help reinvigorate its corporate image and influence IT buyers to choose its software solutions over that of the competition.

STRATEGY

The vendors in TIBCO’s market segment are well-known for communicating their value using complex acronyms and overhyped buzzwords, often confusing their customers as a result. One acronym in particular, SOA (service-oriented architecture), had seen its share of hype. While TIBCO could never outspend its larger rivals, there was a unique opportunity to leverage the IT buyer’s frustration with marketing campaigns featuring overblown claims and complex buzzwords. In fact, SOA had recently been ranked most despised buzzword in an industry poll conducted by one of the more prominent IT trade publications. TIBCO and Bateman Group saw a unique opportunity to satire common IT industry stereotypes and techno-speak as a way to engage with the IT architect, and the IT “Everyman” Greg the Architect was born.

Greg the Architect was developed as a B2B viral video campaign to inject humor into an otherwise stodgy and jargon-laden market and, ultimately, generate interest in TIBCO’s new SOA product, ActiveMatrix. Executive management allocated a limited budget on the premise that a B2B video must be compelling enough for target audiences to view, but also forward on to their own industry contacts. In each of the four-part video series, a confused and besieged tech worker named Greg has pressure from the top brass to implement SOA coupled with a variety of vendors pitching him on complex solutions. The problem is that nobody seems able to articulate exactly why SOA is needed or how their product will help his company meet its business goals.

Bateman Group promoted the video series through direct outreach to the top SOA influencers as well as more mainstream business press and marketing trades that would appreciate the inventive use of social media by a B2B company. Days before each webisode went live on TIBCO’s microsite and YouTube, Bateman Group advanced the videos to these influencers, actively engaging them around their feedback on story lines that would ultimately be incorporated into future episodes.

In addition, Greg the Architect t-shirts were mailed to TIBCO’s broader universe of influencers, including industry and financial analysts, middleware industry beat reporters and top tier technology trade media.

IMPACT

With nearly 100,000 views on YouTube to date and visitors from every continent (60% North American/40% International), the Greg the Architect series ended up appealing to a much wider IT and media audience than expected, and significantly higher volume than anticipated. As a frame of reference, copy-cat campaigns produced by IBM generated less than a third of the YouTube impressions. The grassroots campaign was hailed as a critical success by media outlets ranging from the Wall Street Journal to InformationWeek. Greg the Architect has been featured in more than 2,600 blog posts worldwide. The creativity, innovation and impact garnered TIBCO an IAC Award (Internet Advertising Competition); an award for Best Online Campaign from BtoB Magazine; and a Stevie Award for Best Corporate Film or Video in the Public Relations category at the American Business Awards. The campaign was also written about in a book from Harvard Business Press entitled Groundswell about use of social technology in marketing.

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