Imaginary Marketing

How do you capture the attention of online influencers, tech bloggers, analysts and journalists with a marketing campaign? You delight them with a fun, personalized campaign. That's what we set out to do when Intranet solutions company, ThoughtFarmer, brought us on board to devise an effective marketing campaign. The result was Tubetastic--a fake company that used the ThoughtFarmer intranet--complete with fake logo, domain name and lots of content. Each blogger and journalist we pitched were welcomed to Tubetastic as new “employees” with their own special login. They could see the ThoughtFarmer intranet in action and enjoy the inside baseball jokes we littered the Tubetastic internet with.

Build Around Your Beliefs We based the Tubetastic campaign on five beliefs:

  1. Everyone is really busy. You need to be creative to interrupt the fire hose of inputs.
  2. When you work hard to craft an original approach, people respond to it. If you invest a lot of effort, it demonstrates respect for your audience. It says “we value your attention, so we went to a lot of trouble to get some of it”.
  3. Marketing works best when your marketing strategy is as close as possible to the thing you’re marketing. It seemed obvious to use a Thought Farmer intranet as the centerpiece of this campaign.
  4. What do we care most about? Ourselves. Marketing works best when we can see ourselves in the context of the campaign. When influencers visit Tubetastic, they see themselves and their peers.
  5. Find the funny. The slogan for Tubetastic is “We make tubes. A whole series of them.” Savvy readers will recognize this as a nod to United States Senator Ted Stevens’ infamous metaphor for the internet. This opening gambit, in theory, entices our audience to log in and find out what the heck is going on. It seems to have worked. Rob Lewis was “instantly curious”.

Risky is Safe By project's end, we built the intranet, prepared media packages, contacted bloggers, journalists, analysts and launched our fake product with a very real marketing campaign. As Seth Godin says, “safe is risky, and risky is safe”. In our experience, the best campaigns are the ones where we feel queasy about their launch. Tubetastic was no exception. Thankfully, this one was a winner. Campaign outcomes included getting play in top-tier tech blogs, like ReadWriteWeb, more site visitors and a reputation for fun, effective marketing.

“The blogger relation’s campaign that Capulet did for ThoughtFarmer doubled our web site traffic. We were covered in our industry’s top blogs, like TechCrunch. Five months later, we still get inquiries from people who saw that campaign.” Chris McGrath, ThoughtFarmer