Innovation Workers, Unite!
Turning a top-of-funnel concept into a
full-blown experiential campaign
Excellent Effects of Elegant Marketing
Generated a total of 180
new qualified leads
Standing Room Only Attendance
at ATD speaking engagement
Doubled expected attendance
at post-engagement cocktail hour
Cemented Intrepid Learning
as an Innovative L&D organization
Once upon a time...
It started with an idea: individual workers using their expertise and creativity to help transform their organizations in their own unique way. Cue: the accompanying ebook and matching social campaigns.
But, as Marketing Director of Intrepid Learning (a Learning and Development company), Maureen Jann wanted to take it further. So she asked, “How do we create a large concept that gets people excited about what we’re doing and build a sense of community amongst prospective clients?”
The answer would have to come in time for ATD, the largest conference for talent development professionals in North America.
How do we create a large concept that gets people excited about what we’re doing and build a sense of community amongst prospective clients?
Say hello to our little friend... Hank!
The Innovation Worker ebook was an aggregation of state-of-the-industry (at the time) insights from Learning and Development leaders couched by Intrepid Learning’s thoughts on the shift from white-collar "knowledge work" of the 20th Century to agile, problem-solving "innovation work" in the 21st and original research and psychographically relevant statistics pulled together via survey and with the help of in-house data analysts. Pretty soon, the concept of the 21st-century worker had a face: a fun little guy who looked like an engineer for innovation named Hank.
According to Maureen, this is when things really took a fun turn, with more and more people joining in. “We provided a PDF of Hank that people could download and print, then send back pictures of themselves with him (or of a solo Hank) in different situations [...] kind of like our version of a Flat Stanley.”
And, with ATD just around the corner, Maureen knew she wanted to replicate this interactivity in the Intrepid Learning booth. “We wanted to figure out a way to engage with people and help them get excited about this concept.”
Let's Generate Buzz, Baby
Under Maureen’s leadership, the Marketing department at Intrepid Learning became a lean, mean, buzz-generating machine.
“For each marketing effort, we would send out a campaign email,” she explains. “[It was] like a sharing kit for internal employees. This kit would include three different versions of copy that they could copy and paste onto their social profiles, including relevant hashtags and an easy way for followers to sign up, get more information, or add [an event] to their calendar.”
While many marketing departments often struggle to get inter-departmental buy-in, Maureen was able to pinpoint that looping everyone into the campaign process went a long way. “We would do a whole brief for them. [It covered key points like], ‘what are we doing? Why are we doing it? How can you help?’”
Maureen employed this same system when it came to a speaking session hosted by Intrepid Learning’s CEO: generating enough buzz to get a sold-out, standing-room-only session and driving those (now warm) leads to a follow-up cocktail hour.
Warmer… warmer… HOT!
What do you get when you combine the time-honored tradition of free swag, a conference booth, and the intrepid (pun intended) mind of a seasoned Marketing Director? Why, a Do-It-Yourself Screenprinting Station, of course!
“There were two designs: the tabloid-style shirt and a simpler, smaller version of Hank just looking cute in a block, like a woodcut. And we’d set it up so people could do their own screen printing.”
And, while potential leads were busy getting their DIY on, the rest of the team was hard at work. Team members would chat with each prospect to determine whether they were a Hot, Medium, or Cold lead.
Then, while booth-goers sat at the heat-setting station, waiting for their newly inked shirt to dry, sales reps would have six to seven minutes to close the deal.
“We got to talk to them about the innovation worker,” recalls Maureen. “And we had little cards and QR codes that would allow them to download The Innovation Worker ebook.” Thus, creating a full-circle moment.
“We were able to create this whole visual concept that was tied back to this critical thought leadership campaign concept and then turn that into a physical experience for people that could, in turn, benefit our sales team.”
Extra, Extra! Learn all about it!
Maureen points out that the success of the physical campaign was just as much a result of the team’s creativity as it was in the eager execution. After all, “the Devil’s in the details”, as they say. “We really focused on having cute, funny designs -- things that people would be excited to wear. That's why we went with the whole tabloid theme. You can see that the headline is ‘Innovation Worker Rescues City of Denver’. [The swag became] a souvenir from the conference and [their] visit to Denver that went beyond standard crap.”
“And then [the other shirt option] was this hat and this bulb. Our logo was on it, but it wasn't the most important thing. The message was more important. We were able to really celebrate the concept of The Innovation Worker, which really made us very popular.”
We were able to create this whole visual concept that was tied back to this critical thought leadership campaign concept and then turn that into a physical experience for people that could, in turn, benefit the sales team.
Be the change you wish to see
Looking back, it’s easy to see that fostering the natural human need for belonging was really what glued every aspect of this campaign together. From keeping internal stakeholders in the loop to giving prospective clients countless opportunities to engage and see themselves in the concept, Maureen was able to turn a top-of-funnel awareness campaign into a one-of-a-kind, bottom-of-funnel experience.