Pipe Tech Company Stands Out With Baseball Pitch

Looking for a creative way to generate leads and excitement?

Then take a look at Marsh-McBirney Inc. Marsh-McBirney is a leading manufacturer of “innovative and accurate flow measuring instrumentation for both open channel and full pipe applications.” (Now, that’s a mouthful!) The company wanted to launch an email campaign that would promote its presence at an upcoming trade show, the Water Environment Federation’s Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC), which took place just a few weeks ago.

The WEFTEC is the largest trade show targeting the waste and wastewater industry. It attracts more than 18,000 attendees, and nearly 800 companies were scheduled to present exhibits in Chicago. Marsh-McBirney needed a way to stand out from the hundreds of other exhibitors.

So, the challenge was to come up with an email marketing campaign, sent prior to the event, that would capture the attention of the recipients and tie into the events at the trade show. Marsh-McBirney teamed up with Inbox Interactive Inc., a full-service, direct response email marketing agency, to come up with an innovative way to solve this puzzle.

Hmm. Well, Marsh-McBirney uses a radar velocity technology that powers its new generation of Flo-Dar flowmeters. And here in the United States, sports fans know that October means just one thing: baseball’s World Series (a bit of a misnomer, I know…). So put the two together, and what do you get? An email campaign that took advantage of baseball fever to drive traffic to Marsh-McBirney’s trade show booth.

First, the two companies created an animated email message that, shortly before the trade show, was sent to the house list of clients and prospects that Marsh-McBirney knew would be likely to attend the show. This was a simple two-color animation to keep it “light” for recipients to open in their email inboxes. When the individual opened the message, a baseball appeared to be pitched directly to the recipient. If the recipient clicked through to the landing page, she learned that if she printed out and brought the page to the trade show booth, she would receive a personalized baseball card and be entered in a drawing to win a baseball bat autographed by Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa.

Plus, attendees who stopped by the booth were invited to enter a pitching contest. How does this tie into Marsh-McBirney’s brand? The company measured people’s pitch speeds using the same technology as in its Flo-Dar flowmeters. The fastest male and female pitchers received baseballs autographed by Johnny Bench, Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Nolan Ryan, and others. Marsh-McBirney also handed out custom-made baseball cards showing the attendee’s photograph and pitching speed.

“Marsh-McBirney sought a way to cut through the noise and be noticed at such a large event,” says Inbox Interactive’s president and creative director Kim MacPherson. “The message was targeted, trackable, and immediate.”

Not only was the message targeted and immediate, so were the results. The trade show generated what Marsh-McBirney describes as more than 300 qualified leads.

There are a couple lessons to be learned here, in my eyes at least. One, creativity can be key in promoting your company’s goods and services. Marsh-McBirney took its core technology and tied it into a fun event that many people, not just techie folk, could relate to. Two (and most of you know this, but it serves as reinforcement to those of you who do and as an example to those of you who don’t), email campaigns can do more than simply sell a product or service. When done well, they can generate interest in and excitement about your company — which ultimately leads to sales.

Heidi will speak at ClickZ Email Strategies in San Francisco, November 18-19.

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