- mDialog offers a unique suite of tools for online video producers
- The Advance Guard developed the marketing strategy to create buzz and gain users
- Programs at SXSW and PodCamps introduced the brand to new audiences
- A customized outreach featured personalized video messages on iPod Touches to influencers
- A special episode of French Maid TV introduced the brand to over 1m new viewers
When launching a new technology tool, using French Maids as your spokepersons may not seem the obvious choice. But as mDialog found out, in an increasing competitive landscape, getting noticed increasingly means taking an unconventional approach.
As a new startup in a growing field - mDialog’s problem was one faced by many new technology companies - how to convey a unique set of services to a target that is already inundated with messages and pitches.
mDialog offers much more than other competitive video hosting sites. With embedded surveys, private channels, opportunities for monetization, an integrated iPhone application and instant high resolution encoding for Apple TV and iPhone, mDialog has created a diverse toolbox specifically geared to new media content creators.
“mDialog had just returned from a successful Macworld Expo where our services and technology were very well received.” says mDialog President Greg Philpott. “But it was apparent that no one knew about us. In fact we had a lot of people asking ‘Why have I never heard of you folks before?’”
Faced with this challenge, The Advance Guard was selected to worked with the company and its partners to develop and implement an ongoing strategy to increase their profile, generate use of the service, and sign up new users.
The first challenge was to identify market segments that could benefit from mDialog’s unique offering, and among a sea of sticky notes and research, the brainstorm began. What resulted from the initial strategy phase was a program with multiple components, beginning with a push to introduce the mDialog brand to new media content creators who were already using online tools for video production. It was felt they could be told the mDialog story, quickly appreciate why it was different, and be used to evangelize that message.
The program began at the 2008 South By Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. This hot bed of influencers, filmmakers and musicians from every corner of the globe has become one of the must-attend events for online creators and video bloggers. The SXSW For Newbies Channel on mDialog was created, featuring The Advance Guard’s CC Chapman exploring the festival with online influencers such as Fast Company TV’s Managing Director Robert Scoble, wildly popular technology podcast hosts Cali Lewis and iJustine, and social media guru Chris Brogan.
Interviewing such high profile creators realized two goals - firstly it served as an introduction to the brand, giving each a personal demonstration of mDialog in action. Secondly, by offering online content to the followers of these creators, it increased the potential for the clips to spread virally across the Blogosphere.
After the success of this initial exposure, The Advance Guard planned a full program of attendance by representatives from mDialog at events targeting new media influencers. These growing gatherings were the perfect location to interact with mDialog’s target and sponsorships of both PodCamp Boston and PodCamp NY lead to exposure and new users of the service.
And to insure that all these people being introduced to the brand didn’t miss out on the growing list of improvements and new features, a custom newsletter was set up to be sent out monthly and keep the members up to date
With buzz growing around the brand, the next step was to was to expand the reach to other vertical markets. Key influencers and bloggers in politics, technology, pop culture and parenting were identified and targeted with a very unique outreach.
Engraved iPod Touches were loaded with the mDialog iPhone application, along with a personalized video message from President Greg Philpott, and sent out. This resulted in multiple blog posts, twitter mentions and even this extremely positive video post from technology guru and Gnomedex founder Chris Pirillo.
Which leads us to those French Maids, the stars of the wildly popular French Maid TV.
“Social media has changed the rules for advertising forever.” says Tim Street, creator and producer of the show. “Marketers and content creators need to understand the power of new social media tools and how they can take advantage of them by starting new conversations with their consumers before their competition starts conversing with them.”
Working with his team, a customized episode of the show was created, featuring mDialog technology, and viewed through the mDialog player.
The resulting episode received over half a million views alone, with double that across the French Maid channel, showcasing mDialog to a new mass audience, creating renewed buzz around the brand and delivering site visits, and - most importantly - a legion of new users to the service.
“The Advance Guard’s understanding of social marketing, and the enabling technologies that support the various social networks, are a key strength they brought to the table.” says Greg Philpott. “Today you need both, it is not enough to only understand social marketing, you need to be a practitioner too. And that is what The Advance Guard is.”
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