10 Refreshingly Useful Ideas That Also Sell Wine & Beer

In the world of wine and beer marketing, sexy, clever and or entertaining ads are the headline grabbers. The purpose of this article is to reveal another framework in which the promotional activity of these beverages also provides intrinsic value—an approach we Renegades call “Marketing as Service.” Here are 10 refreshing examples that hopefully will inspire you to bring more utility to your marketing regardless of the product category. (FYI–if this article seems familiar, then you read it first on MediaPost.com).

Packaging that does more than pop

1. Nothing says, “drink me now” like a wine bottle that also doubles as a glass.  Caps off to the folks at Copa Divino or making a re-sealable container called The Copa Glass. Zipz Wine is taking a similarly picnic chic approach and is now available in six-cup-packs at major ballparks.

Copa Glass

2. Heineken has found a way to help its fans light up the night, literally, with its prototype “Ignite” bottles that respond to toasting, drinking and even pulsing music at coolly dim events, the first of which was the Milan Design Fair.

Heineken lights up
Heineken Ignite bottle

3. In a bid to attract millennials away from cocktails and craft beers, Uproot Wines is trying a whole new type of labeling system that describes its “Flavor Palette” with a color coded guides versus traditional grape-type descriptors.

Encouraging social and antisocial media behavior

4.Brazil’s AmBev offered Rio carnival partiers a free train ride home simply by scanning their Antarctica beer and then handing in the can at a specially designed turnstile, simultaneously limiting drunk driving and freeing the grounds from the usual post-revelry rubbish piles. What’s not to love?

5. New Castle Brown, a brand distinguished by ads with attitude, brought its tongue in cheeky approach to Twitter, offering $1 for its first 50,000 followers. While one buck won’t buy brand love, it does start the conversation, one that New Castle can continue online and offline with its new address book (the checks are sent by mail!).

Camera blocker
Norte photo blocker

6. Norte beer recognized that every night out need not be recorded for posterity and thusly created a beer cooler that doubles as a Photoblocker , providing both utility and distinctive on-premise signage.

7. Another clever brand, Sol beer set up a recycling bin for neck ties next to the ones for paper & cans at commuter stations, offering a free beer to anyone who got into the spirit, which I guess we could call “tying one off.”


Tie recycle bin
Sol Tie Recycling Bin

Inspiring online, offline and mobile

8. From the savvy folks who created a Book of World Records as a means of inspiring fun pub conversations, comes the Guinness pub finder app, which is another quintessential example of Marketing as Service. The app does exactly what you’d expect helping even Android users find the nearest pints of their beloved Irish dry stout.

9. At a music festival in South Africa, beer sponsor Windhoek delighted attendees by enabling them to order a free beer via their smartphones, which was then promptly delivered via specially designed drones to their GPS-identified location. Now that’s service with a smile.

Beer drone

10. Surrounding brand marketers are a number of apps designed to help connect consumers with the right place or product. The TastingRoom.com offers a personalized wine finder based on your preferences while the TapHunter helps you locate the nearest Craft Beer venue.

Final Note: Admittedly some of these ideas seem more like PR-chasing stunts than genuine efforts to deliver a service of value but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.  For more thought-provoking ideas, join me for a panel discussion on innovative marketing at the upcoming Wine/Beer Technology Symposium in Napa on June 30th.

Behind Fusion-io’s Crappy Code Games

Interview with Trip Hunter & Mat Young, Co-Marketing Directors for Fusion-io in Europe about a new promotion called the Crappy Code Games which I will be writing about on FastCompany.com.

When do the games begin?
TH: The Crappy Code Games will launch in the UK, and take place over three events in March and April. The first event is at Revolution, a modern nightclub/bar in Manchester on the 17th of March. The second event is at Revolution in London, on March 31st, and the third event, which doubles as the Grand Finale, will take place in Brighton on April 7th, on the first night of SQL8, which is the largest SQL community event held in the UK, and be hosted by Apple co-founder and Fusion-io Chief Scientist Steve Wozniak.

What is the idea behind the Crappy Code Games?
TH: The Crappy Code Games highlight the problem that most SQL programmers are constantly experiencing in the workplace, and demonstrates the performance and efficiency gains of Fusion-io Memory.  Badly written SQL code can really stink up an enterprise database, resulting in poor performance, increased resource allocation and ultimately system breakdown. But cleaning up crappy code hasn’t always been easy. It can mean hundreds if not thousands of man hours spent rewriting inefficient code to conform to best practices. Until now. Fusion ioMemory is so powerful, that it actually flushes away crappy code.

Where did this idea come from?
TH: Crappy Code is not a term that Fusion-io made up. If you do a Google search on Crappy SQL code, you will see that this is language that the community understands and uses to quantify this problem. We are just using this insight to engage our audience in a more entertaining way. Crappy code is the problem. Fusion is the solution, but if we talk about how great our solution is it is just marketing, and no one will pay attention. By engaging our audience through the problem, we can show people how our solution works, which is much more fun, engaging and effective.

How are you measuring success?
TH: On a number of different levels; PR impressions is certainly one, as is event attendance, which we are hoping will be around 125 SQL coders for each event, and 300 for our final event at SQL8 in Brighton. We will also be conducting pre and post interviews at each event which should gauge how well Fusion is telling their story, and how compelling it is to our audience. We also have a robust social media program, so success will also be judged by the number of followers and level of engagement we can drive through social media efforts.

Why do you think your target will respond to this promo?
TH: Because the Crappy Code Games, despite its name, actually celebrates great coding. In order to win these challenges, you have to be really good at what you do. This is a very competitive community. Every SQL coder in the UK will want to prove to their peers that they are the best. The Crappy Code Games is the perfect platform to do this. Not to mention that there are some really great prizes that you can win, like developer laptops, win-mo phones, X-box 360’s, and more.

How are American tech companies perceived in Europe?
MY: In general American tech companies and their products are very well received over here in both the UK and wider EMEA. From my personal history there is quite a good amount of UK folks that go and work for US tech companies at their HQ in product development and that can further reinforce that bridge.

Why are you starting this promo in the UK?

MY: What I find interesting is that in general the UK and Germany tend to be early adopters of new technology, especially if it makes a radical change to the value the business derives from it. That’s not to say there aren’t innovators in every European country but the others in general terms tend to wait until there are a number of good cases studies, at that point they move quickly to adopt.

Why do you think the Crappy Code Games will cut through in the UK?
MY: In the UK market there a number of major players with large budgets that dominate pretty much all traditional marketing approaches but to my mind with limited real engagement. What we are trying to do is engage in a slightly humorous way, educate and then let the prospects decide (we know how good our products are and believe in them).  Also, the technical heart of Crappy Code Games is based around some very real performance issues.

What does the fact that you are running a Crappy Code promo say about Fusion-io?
TH: It says that Fusion understands the day-to-day challenges and issues facing our customers. It also says that while our solutions are completely serious, we as a company like to have a little bit of fun.

Do you see a risk in this approach?
TH: I’d be foolish if I said no, but if we weren’t taking calculated risks, we just be one more boring,  invisible marketing program. As we see it, risk is proportional to reward. So obviously, we believe that the potential reward is greater than the potential risk.

What are you really selling?
TH: Fusion-io sells a family of NAND flash-based ioMemory technologies that offers an entirely new building block for data center applications. Containing 100 times the density of RAM, ioMemory overcomes the physical and thermal limitations of the medium and provides near limitless amounts of fully scalable memory for accelerating throughput, driving higher performance density and efficiency in applications server platforms.

What problem(s) does your product solve for your target?
TH: Fusion ioMemory reduces latency so markedly that CPU’s can be used more efficiently, enabling our customers to do far more with far less than they could with other storage technology solutions.  In a recent survey of 274 Fusion customers, 95% said they bought us for performance gains, and 75% of them experienced performance improvement of 3-10x over what they had prior to deploying Fusion.

The State of Guerrilla Marketing

The following is a Q&A with yours truly on the current state of affairs in guerrilla marketing.

Q: How has guerrilla marketing evolved?

Guerrilla thinking has evolved tremendously in the last 24 months. Press seeking guerrillas have shifted away from street theater to something with online legs. Part of this is fishing where the fish are. Part of this is that if you can gain Likes or YouTube channel subscriptions, your initial contact can turn into a more lasting relationship. Part of this is the press itself—the press is more likely to wax on about a social program than a purely street program at this moment in time.

Q: What’s up with street stunts?

Frankly, I’ve never been a fan or promoter of the street stunt approach. They are typically a brief encounter with little residual value. The challenge with guerrilla has always been to provide a reasonable exchange of value between brand and consumer. In exchange for a consumer’s time, the brand must provide some value, either genuine utility or at least a good laugh. The reason the HSBC BankCab is still on the road after seven years is that the value exchange is extraordinary. First, people love to see an old Checker driving around the streets. Second, when they get in the BankCab, it is a refreshing experience complete with a truly knowledgeable cabbie. Third, HSBC customers get a free ride when engenders brand love. We recently renovated the HSBC BankCab, enabling it to run on compressed natural gas, thus making it a more “green” experience. As street programs go, this is about as good as it gets.

Q: What’s cool right now?

The most exciting area of guerrilla right now, is the social to offline movement. Skittles “Mob the Rainbow” program is one great example of this. Skittles solicits ideas from its 10 million strong Facebook fan base, which sometimes lead to hilarious offline executions. For example, fans suggested sending Valentines to a particular postal worker. Skittles did just that and produced a funny viral video which brought the program full circle. JetBlue is using its strong Twitter following in a similar fashion. Earlier this year, @JetBlue tweeted they were on a particular street corner in Manhattan giving away tickets. In a matter of minutes, 300 eager travelers showed up and of course, JetBlue got some nice ink for this as well. In this way, social media has replaced email as the ignition switch for flash mobs.

Q: How does social fit into a guerrillas plans?

Any marketer considering a physical guerrilla interaction would be crazy not to also bake in a social component. The social component should give the program legs, extending the offline interaction online. It also provides a home for videos and or photos taken of the physical interaction thus sharing these experiences with a larger audience. The social component also helps amortize the cost of the potentially expensive offline component. Finally, the social component provides an opportunity for feedback something that is not always easy to get in the physical arena.

Q: Is the physical street experience dead?

Since marketing success has often been about zigging when others zag, a few enlightened marketers will renew their emphasis on the physical experience and the true engagement opportunity it represents. Touching someone deeply often requires a physical touch. Online dating sites do the matchmaking but typically the fire doesn’t flame until the couple actually meets.

Q: What roles are left for guerrilla marketing?

Guerrilla thinking has never been dependent on one particular type of interaction. It has always been about making more out of less, breaking the ice in order to build meaningful and hopefully lasting relationships. Social marketing has proven its ability to maintain and nurture relationships but the jury is still out on its ability to generate trial from new customers.

Q: How has Renegade evolved from a guerrilla standpoint?

I see social marketing as an evolution of our long-time guerrilla practice. The goals haven’t changed but the tactics  we use continue to grow and evolve. Five years ago, three out of four incoming calls would be from clients seeking guerrilla ideas. Now those same clients are requesting social marketing ideas. The impetuous for the calls is the same—help us engage customers cost-effectively.

[“Delivery.com Street Stunt in October”][]

Guerrilla Marketing Insights

Business Insider ran a feature today on guerrilla marketing which included a couple of quotes from yours truly.  Here are my notes from my interview with reporter Bianca Male.

What is the best way to define guerrilla marketing? And what is it most definitely not?

Guerrilla marketing is a state of mind not a particular channel. Guerrilla marketing is about making more out of less, combining innovation and elbow grease to cut through. Guerrilla marketing can also be defined by what it isn’t. It isn’t traditional media like TV and print. Today’s guerrilla marketers capitalize on social media with a vengeance; listening, researching, conversing, engaging, supporting and ultimately selling. That said, just using social media channels like Facebook doesn’t make you a guerrilla. Using Facebook in a fresh way like Burger King did with Whopper Sacrafice is guerrilla. It simply isn’t guerrilla if it isn’t newsworthy.

How can a business decide if a guerilla marketing campaign is right for them?

There are a few highly regulated industries like financial services and insurance that make considering guerrilla approaches a risky proposition. That said, just about every other marketer big or small can benefit from guerrilla, its just a question of risk tolerance. Guerrilla marketing typically carries some risk since it requires a brand to step outside its comfort zone and do something they’ve never done before. Guerrilla marketing done right is newsworthy. As I said earlier, It isn’t guerrilla marketing if it isn’t newsworthy. One of the risks of guerrilla marketing is that it simply won’t cut through as planned simply because it wasn’t original or it was just a dumb idea. Another risk is that the guerrilla idea was a mere moment in time and didn’t include sustaining elements. One of my favorites: Renegade launched the HSBC BankCab in 2003 with a search for the “most knowledgeable cabbie in New York” which got tons of PR and concluded with a one-year contract for Johnnie Morello. Seven years later Johnnie is still on the road providing free rides to delighted HSBC customers in a vintage 1982 Checker Cab.

How does a business develop a guerrilla campaign? Any guidelines?

The article I just wrote for my blog on Fast Company provides several relevant guidelines. Generally, its best to start by setting clear objectives followed quickly by doing your homework, really thinking through your category, brand and consumer. Ideally, this process will yield a true insight that can be transformed into a big idea. Then its time to think 360°, imagining all the ways your idea can come to life, online, offline and in-between. It often helps at this point to imagine the story headline you’d like to see, the tweets you’d like to read, the photos you’d like to be taken and YouTube videos that you’d want to view. Talk to some PR professionals you trust to make sure these story ideas might in fact find purchase in your ideal media outlets. Google your idea to make sure it hasn’t been done the same way you’re planning to do it. Guerrilla programs usually start when a client says to us, “we don’t have any money but we’d really like to get some media attention.”

One of my favorites: A few years ago, Panasonic was introducing a new line of alkaline batteries called Oxyride that were far more powerful than Energizer. Since they didn’t have the budget to compete directly, Renegade came up with a truly guerrilla program called “Neuter your Bunny.” This tongue-in-cheek “public service” effort focused on heightening awareness of the benefits of bunny neutering. Turns out it calms the male bunnies down and prevents female bunnies from getting cervical cancer, a disease that otherwise strikes them with remarkably frequency. So Panasonic Oxyride batteries established Neuter Your Bunny day, donating 5 free neuterings and $10,000 to the House Rabbit Society. And despite the fact that PETA gave Panasonic an award for caring, the American press thought this was veiled yet hilarious competitive campaign writing headlines like “Panasonic Wants to Neuter Energizer” in over 30 publications from Time Magazine to Newsday.

Is there anything a business should NEVER do when it comes to guerrilla marketing?

It is generally not a good idea to do something that will cause someone on the team to go to jail. If you have to break the law to get attention then you probably need a different business model. Try not to annoy your target. A street team performer once shoved a donut in my face in order to get me to stop and go into a bank branch—this was not a fun experience for me or productive for the bank who would never ever get my business after that. Try not to think of guerrilla as a moment in time or as a simple street stunt. This will limit your horizons and the potential impact. And never tell the boss that your guerrilla program is going to be a hit before it becomes one. Its always better to under-promise and over-deliver especially with often unpredictable guerrilla endeavors.

CMO Insights: How A Cosmetics Brand Achieved Beautiful Growth in An Ugly Economy.

When Ted Rubin grabbed the reins as CMO of e.l.f. cosmetics in 2008, he knew he was going to have to be inventive.  “There’s not a lot of margin in a $1.00 cosmetic,” he noted in my interview with him last week.  “I simply didn’t have a budget for paid media,” he added.  Yet despite this limitation, in just under two years Ted was able to help the company significantly increase its sales in one of the worst recessions in history, providing a textbook case for any aspiring guerrilla marketer.

1. Listen Up

Anyone who’s ever met Ted knows he’s a great talker who prides himself in responding to any query from any person as fast as humanly possible. BUT what they might not know is that he’s also a great listener, and he made listening his first priority when he arrived at e.l.f.  What he learned in his first 90 days provided the foundation for his subsequent success.  Scouring the web, Ted found hundreds of fans across multiple channels, many of whom provided invaluable feedback — feedback that he continued to seek as ideas began to percolate.

2. Sniff Out an Insight

Up until recently, e.l.f. cosmetics were sold mainly online, direct to consumers at an unbelievably low price point. Therein lay the challenge.  Even bargain hunters asked, “How could a one dollar cosmetic be any good?”  Ted realized that this rampant skepticism could not be overcome by any company messaging, and in fact would require extensive word of mouth in which one consumer reassured another that e.l.f. is indeed a high quality product.  Fortunately, during Ted’s listening period, he had found hundreds of delightfully chatty fans dispersed all over the web.

3. Hug Your Fans

Though e.l.f. had been early to the blogosphere, in late 2008 they had almost no presence on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube.  So this is where Ted started, zealously responding to any mention of e.l.f. and engaging customers with instructional content that emphasized conversation over sales pitches.  In the process, Ted discovered hundreds of consumer-generated videos that featured e.l.f. products and consolidated these on a branded YouTube channel and created a hub for them on the distinct AskELF.com url.  During the course of 2009, e.l.f. became a social media powerhouse, accumulating in excess of 50,000 Facebook fans, over 50,000 Twitter followers (including Ted’s presence), and an astonishing 2.3 million+ views of user-generated videos!

4. Hold the Right Hands

Lots of brands pay lip service to the influential blogging/micro-blogging community by parsing out chunks of content they hope will be repurposed.  Ted took a far more personal approach, “nurturing each relationship” to the point that many became his close friends.  They also became a sounding board for ideas, one of which became the “Make Up at Home Parties,” a program that delighted the targeted bloggers so much that after 70 such parties, there is a waiting list of 250, and a galaxy of party-related content including text, pictures, Whrrls, and video that has been shared and shared again by thousands upon thousands of e.l.f. fans.

5. Tap into Metrics

As e.l.f.’s social media efforts were starting to take hold, Ted realized that “just building a large base of fans was insufficient.”  He needed to understand who was really engaged and if/how this was affecting sales.  Fortunately, the news was good.  As the fan base grew, so too did traffic to their online commerce site from social media sites, 75% of whom ended up being new visitors.  These new visitors demonstrated their commitment by buying product and signing up for the e.l.f. newsletter.  In fact, the e.l.f. database nearly doubled to 2.3 million by the end of 2009, a metric that was music to the ears of the company’s owners AND prospective marketing partners.

6. Reach for Partners

One of the ways Ted was able to stretch every precious marketing penny was by partnering with a host of brands with shared interests.  Conde Nast’s Allure Magazine provided content and gifts for the House Parties while the SheSpeaks.com network of product testers and bloggers helped find party hosts that would spread the word.  ExploreModeling.com was the perfect partner for a marketing contest called the “New Face of e.l.f” which sought out 4 models of various ages. Viral by design, contestants garnered over 800,000 votes supported by 40,000 pictures that in turn gained 35,000 comments.  With results like these, it is little wonder marketers like Virgin Mobile and Warner’s Bra along with J.C. Penney reached out to e.l.f. for more cross-promotions, most of which cost e.l.f. next to nothing.

7. Kiss and Tell

In the 4th quarter of 2009, e.l.f. was suddenly in 1700+ Target stores with a 4 foot end-cap. For a primarily online brand this was a huge retail expansion. “Target was totally enamored with our social media presence,” noted Ted, who suddenly had a “currency” he could exchange not just with other marketers but also retailers eager to share e.l.f.’s social media cache.  Marveling at how quickly the product sold once in Target, Ted noted, “A good part of what we built in social media enabled that to happen.”  With over 400 blog posts about e.l.f. entering Target, 2000 retweets of the new retail presence and customers snapping photos of product flying off the shelf, Target was so thrilled with the results it helped e.l.f. secure a permanent in-line presence in a significantly larger percentage of stores in early 2010 than originally planned.

Final Note: Early in his career, Ted worked for “America’s Greatest Marketer” Seth Godin, who by then had already co-authored The Guerrilla Marketing Handbook. Clearly Ted learned at the feet of a master, one who instilled the guerrilla credo that inventiveness and elbow grease can make up for a small budget every time.  Ted is taking that same spirit of inventiveness to OpenSky, introducing Relationship Commerce, and something he says “will change the face of e-tailing.” Ted is also a proud member of The CMO Club.

CMO Insights: The Importance of Innovation

In October 2008, Barbara Goodstein, Chief Marketing Officer of AXA Equitable was only slightly nervous as her company launched an unprecedented customer retention program called MyRetirementShop.com.  Creating a “retirement portal” more focused on “value add” than lead generation, Ms. Goodstein was moving her company into unchartered territory, delivering a “marketing as service” program that became far more successful than even she had anticipated.

Since its inception, MyRetirementShop.com has attracted over ½ million visitors who spend a whopping 11 minutes browsing highly relevant content from top experts like Kiplingers, Service Magic and MyRecipes.com.  Current customers were quick to thank AXA for this resource with not just words of praise but also by buying more AXA products, generating revenue far beyond the program’s cost. The press responded to this innovative marketing approach with over 200 stories that yielded an equivalent of $4.0mm in paid media coverage.

Since the old proverb “success has many fathers but failure is an orphan” also applies to marketing, it is often difficult to get the real story on what it takes for innovations like MyRetirementShop.com to come into being.  In this case, however, after an extensive interview with Ms. Goodstein in which she reviewed the development process, it became very clear that her journey has provided a textbook case on innovation, yielding the following seven critical elements of success.

1. Innovation Starts at the Top

Ms. Goodstein is no stranger to innovation.   Having guided the highly effective 800-Pound Gorilla advertising campaign for AXA into being four years ago, she knows a big idea when she sees one and she knows how to stretch a budget for maximum impact.  But she is also the first to acknowledge that “innovation more than anything starts at the top” and that if her CEO, Kip Condron, didn’t encourage and support innovation, her efforts would never see the light of day.  With senior management saying, “We should try multiple creative options and see what’s going to work,” and encouraging innovation with financial incentives, the virulent skepticism that typically inhibits new idea development is diffused if not silenced.

2. Listen to Your Customers

The impetus for MyRetirementShop.com sprung from an annual study AXA conducts among its customers. According to Ms. Goodstein, “We built MyRetirementShop.com on years of data that revealed the topics that were most relevant to pre-retirees, so we just had to take all of this content and make it accessible.”  Pre-retirees noted their interest in everything from home and family to health and fitness, from travel to finance, from self-improvement to entertainment.  So it came as no surprise to Ms. Goodstein that these topics gained traction with their target.  The only surprise was divergence between the expressed interest in volunteering and concierge services in the research versus the actual behavior on the site.  Ms. Goodstein speculates that disinterest in these areas may be more a reflection of current economic realities than the ultimate value of the content.

3. Make Sure It’s Truly Innovative

Before developing MyRetirementShop.com, Ms. Goodstein and her team did an extensive review of retirement portals and competitor’s websites.  When it was clear there was nothing like it out there, the AXA team then “did our own screening to find the best possible content providers.” According to Ms. Goodstein, “It took over a year to line up all the partners, and an internal SWAT team dedicated to every area of the site” to pull it all together. To insure relevance, they insisted that all the content had national reach and users could even “drill down by zipcode.”  And though much of MyRetirementShop.com content exists on other sites, AXA is the first to aggregate it all in one place, and is the only retirement portal without highly intrusive advertising.

4. Service First, Then Branding

The intention of MyRetirementShop.com from the beginning was to be a service – not an advertisement, a service that would help retain existing customers, and one that would reflect the deep expertise of AXA Equitable and its sincere commitment to help consumers with retirement planning.  “We wanted the site to be value add” noted Ms. Goodstein, “and we didn’t want it to be a commercial for us.” This commitment to service had a strong influence on the design of the site, which has almost no AXA ID other than their 800-pound gorilla who serves as “branding anchor and host.” The now familiar gorilla sits on top of each section and offers a “pithy audio message” that Ms. Goodstein anticipated “would create more of a connection” with site visitors.

5. Service First, Then Sales

Once the site was launched, AXA representatives were provided with a number of tools to share it with existing customers.  Direct mail, email and brochures described the content and invited customers to visit the site.  Then the unexpected happened, this so-called retention program started generating sales. “For $40 worth of DM, our reps generated an incremental $60,000 in sales,” added Ms. Goodstein with glee.  Suddenly the sales team that usually put the kibosh on programs considered “non-revenue generating,” embraced the site, acknowledging its power to increase sales among existing customers and even to attract new ones.  By providing a genuine service to its customers and prospects, AXA found a friendly way to break the ice and renew the conversation about retirement with a now receptive target.

6. Innovation Requires Perseverance

MyRetirementShop.com took over two years from conception to launch, with multiple hiccups along the way.  Getting the technology right was challenging and the site, which was developed by internal IT resources, went through several iterations.  “It took us a while to get it right,” acknowledged Ms. Goodstein and of course, she did not have “universal support initially.”  Importantly, AXA Global and top management voiced their confidence in the project, which Ms. Goodstein gained by outlining a clear vision, defining the content with crisp wireframes and by providing prototypes that fueled expectations.  By demonstrating what it would look like and never wavering from the quest, Ms. Goodstein and her team were able to build consensus from top to bottom, setting the stage for its ultimate success.

7. Don’t Rest on Your Laurels

Despite exceeding expectations on every metric, Ms Goodstein and her team continue to seek ways to improve MyRetirementShop.com.  New original content is in the works that will simultaneous enhance the visitor experience and increase the natural page rankings on the search engines. New content partners that could increase consumer appeal are being evaluated.   “We are also going to change the enroll button so interested visitors can reach us more easily” added Ms. Goodstein who marveled at the unexpected benefits of a true “value add” program, “Because we are willing to work so hard, people want to connect with us.”

Bottom line: Marketing innovation is neither easy nor linear, requiring support from the top, a clear vision from the start, steadfast determination along the way and ultimately a desire to do right by the consumer, a consumer that will thank you many times over with not just words of praise but also their pocketbooks.