I came to an interesting conclusion while researching social media marketing case studies: cases reporting actual ROI results are hard to find. I found a lot of hay but very few needles. After some time with my digital pitchfork, I did find one case that engaged me to share it with you because it supports the foundational rule that quality content gets your audience engaging and sharing.
Vestas, a Danish wind energy company, embarked on it’s largest marketing campaign in company history in 2011 primarily through LinkedIn. Its goal was to “accelerate name recognition, increase awareness around its issues, and get their message in front of more decision makers”. (Turner, 2014) Vestas chose LinkedIn as its primary vehicle because it contained the largest active network of business decision makers that could be reached in targeted segments with strong personalization.
- Sent InMail to 657 decision-makers (executive level) from organizations engaged online in the renewable energy conversation
- Customized LinkedIn banner ads for 400,000 employees of those same organizations using their organization’s name in the ad. For example, an HSBC employee saw an ad saying, “Consumers would reward HSBC if they knew about its use of renewable energy. Learn More >.” And a Starbucks employee saw an ad saying, “34% of consumers worldwide perceive Starbucks to be climate friendly. Learn More >.”
- Industry-specific, customized micro-sites were built as the destination for those wanting to ‘learn more’.
- A 16-page ad insert in Businessweek magazine accompanied the online campaign.
- 11 million impressions with a click-through rate of .11-.21%
- 10,680 corporate execs visited the microsites with an average stay of more than 7 minutes
- Vestas knew where to find their audience online – not an easy task in a B2B campaign about a topic not often “trending”
- Vestas used LinkedIn data (company name and type of organization/interests) to selectively target the messaging. Efficient.
- This campaign delivered content, not just a catch phrase and a visual. The ads contained content and sent them to microsites tailored with information of how renewable energy decision can impact their organization.
- Social media was only part of the campaign. As stated in every social media textbook I’ve read so far, social media communications can not be the only vehicle for an effective campaign, it must be part of a bigger plan. (Li & Bernoff, 2011)
I understand that Vestas’ campaign was intended to increase name awareness and inform/engage the target audience in its brand, but I would have preferred deeper ROI showing actual conversion-to-sale rates because that’s the bottom line, how much sales it generated. Beyond that detraction, I found this case a valuable example of targeting and customization with true intent and purpose.
Image courtesy Vestas Media Kit – http://www.vestas.com/en/media/images