I’m not sure if there are any statistics, but the internet seems to be one of the best niche-marketing platforms out there. It’s easier for communities that share a passion for a very particular object/service/hobby to network around each other with the tools that the internet provides.
While roller-coaster love isn’t exactly that niche of an interest, I guess it does take a serious adrenaline fanatic to join a club or read a blog completely dedicated to all the scary rides out there. The Journey to Atlantis Sea World campaign reaches out to these digital enthusiast by giving them VIP treatment.
The Idea: VIP Treatment for Adrenaline-Addicted Netizens
Working with Kami Huyse, Sea World reached out through social media to an influence community called “American Coaster Enthusiasts” to market a ride called Journey to Atlantis. They invited some of bloggers and digital communities to try the ride a day prior to the ride’s public launch. They also made the content related to the ride available on Flickr and YouTube.
Fortunately for the video-loving people out there, this campaign is explained in depth on FastCompany TV:
Buzz Generated: Let’s All Try It Out!
While “conversation” was minimal, the content available on YouTube and Flickr was downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. That obviously worked well for them. According to Fran Stephenson, during the launch phase of Journey to Atlantis, in an exit survey at the park, the number one answer to “Where did you hear about the ride?” was “On the internet.”
What is more interesting though is the amount of “Social media punditry” that was unleashed. The FastCompany TV video aside, E-Consultancy, a blog about digital marketing, spent a good time writing a post claiming why this campaign was terrible. Meanwhile, popular blogger Jeremiah Owyang applauded it as a success. Kami Huyse, who created the campaign, also has a long post describing the objectives and the methodology.
If it gets the pundits arguing, it must be a good campaign, yeah?
Lessons Learned: Some People Online Really Do Have Reach
If you want to get buzz going around a certain product, then locate and target its passion community online (AKA its geeks!) then market this product through them. People are more likely to trust the opinion of someone in their community than that of a marketer.
In a nutshell:
- Sometimes, it all it takes it to get trustworthy people to talk about your product to drive sales.
- Conversation is not the sole driver behind a social media campaign’s success.
- While elaborate ideas that use a lot of money and a lot of resources can indeed create a lot of buzz, buzz can also be gained by just inviting a few influential people.
- Finding a passionate community for your product is very important.