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HP 31 Days of the Dragon Word-of-mouth Marketing Case Study


31 Days of the Dragon - Program Overview What this program was:

HP wanted to deepen its commitment to the blogosphere and its support of the new media initiatives that build strong relationships in this unique community of writers, reviewers, fans and enthusiasts of every kind. To accomplish this, HP provided 31 HDX “Dragon” systems to 31 selected influencers to give away to lucky readers on their sites over 31 days (one per blogger). Why community influencers/bloggers? HP’s mission was to build and maintain long-lasting relationships with bloggers and site owners and to support them in their endeavors. HP believes these people represent an exceptional and dedicated segment of the communications and media landscape and that their influence is on the rise. This was an opportunity to both raise awareness about the HDX and other HP products and to generate more conversation about HP in the blogosphere. Also, HP wanted to say “thanks” to the influencers for all their great work, as well as to their readers for their participation and support of blogs and forums. 2


What is the HP HDX Dragon? • • • • •

HP’s flagship notebook 20.1” 1080P Hi-def screen Intel Extreme Edition processor Blu Ray Player Prize package valued over $5,500 including: •

Microsoft Office

Corel PaintShop Pro X2

Corel Painter Essentials

Corel Ulead Video Studio Plus 11.5

Symantec Norton Internet Security

Viva Piñata

Microsoft Flight Sim

Microsoft Flight Sim Expansion Pack

Gears of War

Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl - Blu Ray

Pirates of the Caribbean - Dead Man’s Chest- Blu Ray

Pirates of the Caribbean - At World’s End - Blue Ray

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31 Days of the Dragon - What’s Amazing • During the promotion, the 31 top bloggers promoted the contest, HP, the HDX Dragon and each other – an unprecedented occurrence that showed the collective power of a community banding together • Each blogger was able to create their own unique contest , specifically tailored to their audiences and goals • The promotion garnered over 31 days of positive discussion on HP and the HDX, accompanied by third-party endorsements that quickly resulted in a significant sales increase

• Bloggers also created and shared custom marketing materials, including dedicated site, graphics, logos, videos, RSS feeds and then cross-promoted these items with each other • We could not have bought the results achieved 4


31 Days of the Dragon - Results Business advances, sales gains, increased product awareness and competitive advantage Results from HPshopping.com (month over month data) • 84% increase in sales on the HDX Dragon system • 14% increase in traffic • 10% increase in overall consumer PC sales • Sales figures for the month of the program set several records • This is usually a softer month and does not include channel sales • The sales gains are continuing even 2 months after the program Costs • Total cost for systems, shipping, software and paying to offset taxes $250K (costs shared by HP and partners) • $0 media spend 5


HP HDX Dragon Sales Results Even after the program sales are well above normal, trending up and hitting record highs showing the long-term effects of the program

Giveaways End

Giveaways Begin

Data from HPshopping.com

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31 Days of the Dragon - Results • Contest was timed to take place before HP’s largest product launch of the year • This was successful in building up significant momentum and as well as solidifying the foundation for the announcements •

By running the contest prior to the launch, HP helped grow the audience and word-of-mouth of the 31 sites and thus the value of the HP news which they covered

• Estimated reach for the program is well over 50 million impressions (Alexa data) due to the overwhelming coverage by the participating sites and others discussing/mentioning the giveaway

• HP also now has a goldmine of consumer feedback and traffic stats that can be incorporated into their upcoming planning and development processes 7


31 Days of the Dragon - Results Blogosphere embrace the promotion • Influencers delivered HP and product-specific messaging with their third-party endorsement • Giveaway and coverage reached an amazing 123 countries and has been translated into 40+ languages

Participating sites/blogs win long-term and gain readership • 31 participating sites/blogs saw an average 150% increase in traffic, with some increasing as much as 5,000%

• Additional traffic to the participating sites is sticking well after the giveaway, with the monthly volume holding at about a 50% increase

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31 Days of the Dragon - Results Enthusiastic audience reaction • Readers/entrants created more than 10,000 videos on sites such as YouTube.com and Blip.tv • Google reports well over 380,000 links discussing the 31 sites and giveaways

• In excess of 25,000 entries received by participating sites • Amazingly, there have been virtually no negative comments about HP or the promotion that we can find associated with the giveaway

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31 Days of the Dragon – Results Beyond 31 Days • Numerous bloggers outside the 31 have asked us to become closer to HP, thus increasing the size of HP’s influencer network • Many sites asked their winners to post commentary or write their own reviews of the HDX Dragon for subsequent publication on the sites intent on keeping the story, traffic and conversation alive well after the 31st unit was given away

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HP Leverages Partners HP leveraged its partners to share costs and goodwill •

HP partners provided software and shared in the halo effect of the promotion while giving both bloggers and their readers the applications and content needed to showcase the power and features of the HDX Dragon

This effort was significant not just because it highlighted the HP ecosystem, but because it further solidified the product, HP’s positioning and greatly enhanced the overall appeal

Plus, this helped HP offset some of the program’s cost

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Why 31 Days of the Dragon Worked We thought about the results we wanted and worked backwards to ensure we delivered • What do we want people to take away about HP? • How can we leverage HP’s partners to make this more impressive and also share costs? • What would help drive traffic and ultimately sales on Hpshopping.com? • How do customers search for products and what can we do so HP comes up more than its fair share of the time? • How could we drive traffic to the participating blog sites?

• How could we empower the bloggers and their readers to endorse HP and then go out of their way to share this information with others? Asking and answering these questions also defined what we would measure 12


Why 31 Days of the Dragon Worked HP and Buzz Corps took the time to build up real relationships with the influencers • We really know them at a personal level – we consider each other friends, not just cards in a rolodex • We spent over a year demonstrating that we were willing to do the right things for, with and by them and therefore earned their trust

We asked them to participate in the creation, execution and follow up of the giveaway • They helped design the rules and helped manage and organize each other – this was more of a partnership than a program

We selected the sites/bloggers to create a complementary group that could provide significant coverage/penetration of HP’s target markets and the blogosphere • Selecting just the biggest or text-only blogs would have limited the results and the coverage 13


Key Takeaways We demonstrated the true power of the community – they are greater than the sum of their parts when they work together The influencers took the messages and delivered them to the buyers with third-party credibility and authenticity • Showed how marketing can be genuine and still deliver sales • The readers and customers appreciated our “give back” approach and overwhelmingly came out to praise HP, their products and the company as a whole

• Reached the Facebook, MySpace and other social media crowds via the influencers with less risk and cost and much greater results than if we targeted these sites directly • They were also empowered them to create and use all of the marketing material and Web 2.0 tools for the giveaway

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Key Takeaways Giving control to the bloggers was never a risk or a concern – it was a benefit • We knew they would do what is in their best interest, which is to promote the product and HP via their contests • By allowing the bloggers to design their own contests and then giving them a unit to give away, we removed a lot of the legal and internal approvals required for such a campaign

• Working with the influencers delivered a real viral effect for HP -- results were far better than most companies’ attempts to create their own viral marketing and videos • It showed us how to drive traffic, place higher on Google and motivate readers to become buyers for all our other campaigns

Influencer marketing is about conversation, not news • The HDX Dragon had been shipping for 10 months when the giveaways began • There were zero new messages or products in this program 15


Key Takeaways Influencer marketing is a cross-departmental function • This was an integrated marketing program designed to sell and promote HP – it was not a PR program by any means

• We combined, used and leveraged sales programs, affiliate offers and other marketing avenues to both inform and motivate readers to become buyers of all things HP

A holistic program such as “31 Days of the Dragon” forces competitors to become reactive to our marketing • No other company can copy this once HP did it • Yet, every competitor knows they need to react and therefore are now playing catch up to our game, not focusing on theirs • When the bloggers are covering HP, they have less time to talk about competitors

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Comments From HP “Buzz Corps consistently delivers results. Through their keen understanding of how to harness the power of Google search and strong ties with the blogging community, Buzz Corps delivered record HP Home and Home Office Store traffic, conversion and sales for the HDX series during the 31 Days of the Dragon promotional period AND into the following months. Nearly double the performance of traditional paid Web ads and at a fraction of their cost: BRILLIANT marketing!” Scott Ballantyne, HP Vice President & GM Consumer Computing “By recognizing the influence of our partners in the blogosphere and tapping into the creative thinking of Buzz Corps, the 31 Days of the Dragon program achieved outstanding unit sales and great exposure for our first HP HDX series notebook.” Bruce Greenwood, HP Vice President North America Channel Development & Marketing

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Comments From HP "Designing a program that drives awareness and demand for our products by collaborating WITH the bloggers rather than one FOR them was very new and exciting to me. The enthusiasm, creativity and buzz generated by the 31 Days of the Dragon program exceeded my expectations ten fold.“ Tom Augenthaler, HP PR Manager

“Unleashing the blogging community’s creativity by giving them the freedom to promote and merchandise the HP HDX series has yielded fantastic results! The community did not stray from the product’s key selling points and drove exposure well beyond our expectations.” Michele Kennedy, HP Advertising Manager

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Comments From The Bloggers “Mad props for HP for selecting the HDX Dragon as the vehicle for this. Is there any doubt in your mind why HP is taking (market) share and making bank? They are a company that 'get's it.” John Obeto, Absolutevista.com “First I just want to say how pleased I am to be part of the promo and the fact that it's NOT targeted at the big sites like Engadget is a refreshing change.” Ian Dixon, thedigitallifestyle.com “We generally average over a million page views a month and past few days alone we are up to 574,362 page views. The uptake is much higher than any other contests or promotions we have done, due to the prize and community linking.” Steven Hughes, www.bostonpocketpc.com

“Traffic spiked first day … [I] am getting more traffic from sites you wouldn’t expect and it is sticking. This program has really helped grow my site.” Michael Reyes, www.hardwaregeeks.com 19


Select Comments from 31 Sites (unedited) “This is one of the best contests I've ever heard of or participated in, before the 31 Days of the Dragon I didn't even know about this machine. HP really knocked it out of the park I think, plus it's fun watching all of the contests that people come up with. :)” “I LOVE HP now … even I don’t win all 31 of these, I’ll probably buy a tx2000 from them.” “There is no doubt that this system is simply amazing! I can’t believe HP is giving away so many of these top notch systems; in light of that, this might be one of the best directed audience advertising campaigns ever…” “This is so good for all parties involved. Props to HP for doing this thing. It really makes me like that company more so than I already did. All the big computer companies should be doing the same thing. It’s not like these mammoth companies can’t afford it. And it would really enhance the public’s opinion of them I’d think. Even if I don’t win, I’ve still gotten something out of all this - it has introduced me to a bunch of cool sites I’ll be visiting from now on.”

“This is a great promotion from HP and to get the word out on this product. Hopefully other companies can follow suit with this strategy.” 20


Select Comments from 31 Sites (unedited) “This giveaway is a perfect example of what building community is all about.” “HP could hire a public relations company to organize a marketing campaign to build awareness about the HP Dragon Notebook but instead they look to the tech community to get the ball rolling. Well done!” “Let’s face it, sharing with your community is an effective way to build credibility. HP is right on the money to position their company in the minds of the people with this new promotion.” “Need a new notebook? Think HP Dragon. Need tech advice? Think Chris Prillo.com - perfect positioning for both! Definitely a win/win situation all around when you consider that the lucky winner of the HP Dragon will have nothing but great things to say' about HP and Chris during the winner interview. :) Splendid move on HP’s part!” “I have yet to check out the Dragon, but I guess this will push me to jumping over to HP’s website to check it out, and maybe even buy something there! (See how HP wins from this?)” “It sounds great and I want to say thanks to Chris and HP for making this possible. Now I am going to hp.com.” 21


Select Comments from 31 Sites (unedited) “HP is going all out on this one. This machine is indeed a monster, and hopefully this may spur interest in their brand. Maybe this will cause other companies to follow suit and have to do something similar.” “Wow, amazing contest put on by HP. I applaud them for giving back to the community.” “I did not think I would buy an HP. Then, you see something like the Dragon come out and you can’t help but succumb to HP’s charms. (watch the above vid and check out HP’s site)”

“Personally, I think this is an excellent opportunity for both buzzcorps and hp. it’s good for hp, because showing off is always a huge plus. frankly, whenever anyone familiar with this unit is going laptop shopping, hp will be on their brain whether they actually win or not (assumably not, if they’re laptop shopping… *smirk*). Beyond that, it is an excellent opportunity to cross reference blogs and get more people interested in sites that they didn’t even know about. I’d be a heinous liar were I to say that I was aware of all 31 sites before this particular giveaway, and even my presence on this site is a testament to that.”

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Select Comments from 31 Sites (unedited) “Wow. Benefits for all! You guys get heavy traffic, plus better interlinking between blogs, and hence better Google rank, The HP Guys get free publicity, and is cheaper for them than actual advertising. 31 blog readers, one of them, probably me :), very satisfied! :)” “Cheers to EXCELLENT marketing!”

“This is sheer genius! I wish I would have thought of this. Kudos to all involved. I now think far more of HP.” “Wow this is an amazing opportunity. HP’s are amazing machines. Currently I am writing this on an HP computer bought last November and it is probably one of the best computers I have ever owned.” “Wow. This system has to be one of the best notebooks on the market right now.” “Hey That Hp is Great It Looks So Wicked also the style of it is class and with someone getting a chance to Win it thats even better who gets that is going to be over the moon I think it class it sounds Fast good Memory :) Hp Should Get a Medal For giving this away thanks Hp.” 23


Google Results

Over 380,000 links on Google, with significant results ranking high on key word searches

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Google Results

The giveaway allowed HP to have 100% glowing results and people praising the HDX on the first 5 pages of Google when searching for the product

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Content Generated For The Giveaway

Just because the content was done by a blogger doesn’t mean it isn’t professional or won’t sell

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Content Generated For The Giveaway

The community even created a Web 2.0 tools to help readers follow the contests and drive the viral aspects of the giveaway

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Content Generated For The Giveaway Readers created videos to enter the giveaways and in one contest, even created their own commercials for the product and HP They also created videos to thank HP, as well as review, and to show off the product after the giveaways. Together, all of the videos for the giveaways were watched by well over 5 million consumers. 28


Content Generated For The Giveaway Showing the power of consumer generated content, word-of-mouth marketing and social media all at once, influencer Chris Pirillo’s numerous videos were watched by over 1 million consumers and included viewers praising the HDX and HP in his scrolling comment window.

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Website Done By The Bloggers www.31daysofthedragon.com This site was created by the bloggers to concentrate traffic, Digg results and improve the viral nature of the giveaway. They also shared traffic stats and links with us and each other.

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Contest Pages Look at how HP, the HDX systems and Buzz Corps are mentioned and positioned in the following contest pages .

This was consistent across all 31 sites as well as others that mentioned the giveaway. These are the kind of results most marketers would die for. 31


Contest Pages

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Contest Pages

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Contest Pages

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Contest Pages

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Contest Pages

The bloggers also created their own banner ads and shared and customized them for each other 36


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HP HDX Dragon