Smarter Cities, Smarter Marketing
Smarter cities

At its simplest, a marketing strategy starts with a problem and ends with a solution. But why settle for simply solving a problem when you can break new ground (and pick up a gong) in the process? The Ogilvy IBM team took their Smarter Cities project one step further than a solution, and ended up nabbing the Best Targeted Campaign at the Festival of Media for their collaboration with IBM.

With more than 2,000 city engagements across the transportation, energy, education and healthcare sectors, IBM were struggling to make their diverse range of clients and stakeholders aware of the breadth and richness of expertise that their consultants could offer. For the most part, they were only brought in to aid projects when the potential for innovation had already been squandered.

It became evident that a huge campaign rethink was necessary, in order to ensure that the timing of IBM’s message corresponded with that of target projects, and to enable a dialogue where IBM’s thought leadership could form a natural, integral part of the project ecosystem.

Once it was established that LinkedIn provided the ideal, trusted space in which IBM could engage with project stakeholders, a logical continuation was to spearhead a community to foster relationships and conversations. What followed was a strategic and targeted membership campaign comprising paid banner ads and eDMs with a focus on quality, not quantity. The campaign ensured that every single member acquired was a high level decision maker or thought leader who had a direct and relevant connection to the cities in question.

This focused approach has smashed LinkedIn engagement benchmarks, with video interaction rates and click to join rates beating the averages by 29.3% and 16% respectively. And while the Smarter Cities Connect group’s targeted approach was all about finding the right kind of people, at the time of writing this, the Smarter Cities Connect group has over 14,000 members. Approximately 97% of these individuals are non-IBMers, and non-IBM stakeholders account for 75% of discussion drivers.

Smarter Cities Connect also succeeded in its aim of transforming online discourse into business-enhancing leads. IBM experts have experienced an 18% boost to their LinkedIn connections in the last year, and IBM has received a number of direct collaboration enquiries from Smarter Cities Connect group members without the need for any promotional activity.

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