Wednesday, November 29, 2006

HP Gets it Right With Their "Change Artists" Lead Generation Campaign

Arguably the whole concept of comments on a blog make blogs authentic and entertaining. On many blogs, a web visitor may find a post with some rich interaction between the original author and some commenters. Typically the item that is being discussed is one that both the author and commenter are passionate about. The new visitor can either be satisfied with just reading the interaction or even add a comment themselves.

How can businesses capture the excitement of blogs?

I was really inspired when I saw a new campaign by HP called "Stories of the Real World: CEOs, CIOs, and change". This consists of a landing page in which a real CEO and another VP from Nestle discussing their challenges and how they solved them. Obviously they will indirectly discuss how HP helped solve their business challenges but what better way to do this then to tell a story via a video conversation with executives just like the target audience that they are going after. This is simply brilliant.

For Nestle, this gives its CEO and VP a little PR as well as making them human while enhancing HP's image immensely with a testimonial that doesn't seem contrived. The excitement of watching an interaction in an area of interest just like on blogs makes this extremely exciting.

Another cool thing is that HP uses the brand "Change Artists" and doesn't overtly advertise. In addition, the conversation doesn't focus on HP. You hear about a real story as to how they made change. This included setting up meetings, who setup the meeting, the feeling at the meeting and even what was happening at lunch. Chris Johnson the Deputy Executive VP even asked his team if they wanted his job - how real is that?

HP goes further - they include related content, a case study and podcast for busy executives who can't watch the whole video and even have a refer a friend function to promote a viral effect.

How can HP make this "Change Artists" concept even better?

This is an easy answer - place these videos on a blog. I'm sitting here watching this great conversation (I personally liked the story about the Chilean Navy) and I'm saying "Hey, I want in on this conversation too!". While they do take questions from "audience members" when the video is shot, this doesn't seem very real. There is no better way to continue the conversation then with blogs. Imagine placing this on a blog (even for a limited time) and allowing people to respond. Just like there is a Q/A following a webinar, blogs can act in a similar way in this situation. Perhaps they could have a scheduled launch date for these videos so people could be the first to watch and comment on the video and only have a limited time to add comments? Putting a time constraint works with selling products, it will definitely work with people accessing information that is informative and entertaining (I kick myself when I don't read each of the MarketingSherpa articles before they expire).

Anyways, great concept HP - keep it up! I would much rather hear a CEO talk about a real life situation then hearing them spew out a list of benefits of their products.

Have you seen any other great B2B lead generation campaigns that really stood out for you?

Chad H

PS - I'm reading Seth Godin's' "All Marketers Are Liars" which discuses how important authentic stories are in marketing.

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