For those of you who hail from the San Francisco area or frequent the 101, you probably have seen our billboards, sporting the Bizible logo and highlighting some of our phenomenal customers who are just as stoked about pipeline marketing as we are.
At first, it might seem ironic that a company offering a SaaS solution for marketing attribution put up a billboard - one of the few marketing channels that can’t be tracked directly. We kind of agree, so we thought we’d take a few minutes to explain ourselves.
Why Put Up Bizible Billboards?
Bizible has grown a lot in the last couple of years, and having a billboard feels like a company rite-of-passage, a chance for us to communicate our brand message in a big way.
You know you made it when your startup has a billboard in SF... pic.twitter.com/KQhlr5SAWI— Sam Reid (@s_reid9) July 12, 2015
With big marketing campaigns, onlookers really only see the end result (e.g. a Bizible billboard suddenly appearing along the 101 and in downtown San Francisco). We wanted to share the story of why we decided to do a billboard and how we think about it’s branding influence.
1) We wanted to highlight our customers
When the brainstorm and design process began, we looked at all types of billboard formats, some with value propositions and service highlights, others used clever sayings, oneliners, and more. But we just couldn’t pull ourselves away from the customer-appreciation approach that Gainsight took with their billboard.
We’re proud of our Bizible team and we believe in our product, but our success is because of our customers, and we wanted to use our billboard to highlight our best tech/SaaS customers -- Optimizely, MongoDB, Okta, Xamarin, and OpenDNS.
2) We wanted to say ‘hi’ from Seattle in a big way
As a startup that has a large number of SaaS customers in San Francisco, sometimes we feel a little left out being in Seattle. We’re growing (and hiring) like crazy, and as a marketing team, we needed to provide more brand “air cover” to our sales team (more on sales air cover from Jason Lempkin if you’re interested).
Since we’re not in San Francisco every day, we don’t get the benefit of random coffee bump-ins or after hours networking to help provide that brand air-cover. This billboard helps do that -- and on a much more massive scale -- in a location that represents a significant amount of customer opportunity.
3) We wanted to represent Bizible at Dreamforce
Dreamforce is gearing up to be a fantastic event and we definitely wanted to join the party. We had a booth last year, which cost $50,000 and we barely spoke to 300 people. Our second billboard, just 3 blocks from Moscone, costs much less and will reach hundreds of thousands of people -- including everyone traveling between Moscone Center and SFO.
So while we couldn’t connect with the 100,000+ attendees with a booth, a billboard gets really close. Plus, we get a chance to reach all the startups whose offices are in the SOMA neighborhood.
For those of you attending Dreamforce, know that the billboards aren’t the only thing we’ll be doing. Your phone battery life shouldn’t get in the way of your experience at Dreamforce, so we’re sending some of our elite Bizible reps to keep you #PoweredByBizible. They’ll be wearing portable backpack charging stations, and you’ll find them strolling around Moscone North/West, ready to give your phone an extra boost. Just look for the blue flags!
(During Dreamforce, you can click here to see their location in real-time!)
So, how do we plan to track billboard ROI?
Like we said, a marketing attribution company participating in outdoor advertising that is universally considered difficult to track seems, well, backwards. So how are we going to determine success?
1. Brand Survey in San Francisco
First, we conducted a brand survey in the San Francisco area just before our first billboard went up. After Dreamforce, when all is said and done and the billboards come down, we’ll do another brand survey to measure the change in brand awareness.
2. Measure Inbound Traffic
Next, we’re going to measure the change in inbound traffic to our site during the period -- i.e. how many more people visited bizible.com than normal from sources like direct and organic search? We can use this information to tie our billboard marketing success directly to revenue.
3. Flood of E-mails About the Billboard
Finally, we’ve had a flood of emails from customers, prospects, and audiences we weren’t even targeting, such as agency partners and investors about our billboards. All of these outreaches can be directly attributed to the billboards.
To all of you headed to Dreamforce or just traveling around San Francisco, keep an eye out for our Bizible billboards. When you see them, know that we say ‘hi’ and that we hope your Dreamforce experience is a screaming success.