I Just Won The An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year.

Last month I got very exciting news. I was shortlisted for the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year. This week I got even more exciting news. I won the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year for 2015!!! 

 
 

I could not believe I won, it was a great honour! Here is how it happened:

 

I flew home from New York to accept the award at a gala event in the Mansion House in Dublin, Ireland. I can only compare it to the Oscars!  

The annual Smart Marketing Awards are sponsored by An Post in celebration of the most ingenious, innovative and creative marketing campaigns of the year. It is a fantastic idea! The big US and UK agencies get plenty of coverage so it is wonderful to have an event just to recognise the great work of Irish marketers and marketing agencies!

Table 24: Zoo Digital, Three Q, Horizon Digital and Padraig O'Connor (UCC).

Table 24: Zoo Digital, Three Q, Horizon Digital and Padraig O'Connor (UCC).

I was in great company at the awards. Sitting beside me was the crew from Zoo Digital, who were nominated for their work on the Red Bull Cliff Dive on Inis Mór among other nominations. You need only glance at my past posts to realise I am a huge fan of Red Bull marketing! I listed Red Bull as one of the 10 Businesses Who are #Winning On Instagram earlier this year. (They put me at the right table!)

I was also lucky enough sitting beside Cora Barnes and the marketing team of Three Q. They were shortlisted for their wonderful direct mail campaign and overall small business marketing, which they won (well done Three Q!). Not to forget Horizon Digital Print, who gave me a marvellous high five after I won, cheers for that!

 

Here is what my campaign "The Business of Keeping Ahead", was all about:

Imagine this:

You are a business person....

It is 6pm; you just finished work and you are walking down Grafton Street in Dublin, just like you do every day. On this particular evening, something is different. There is a display on the street with a live feed of the people walking in front of you.

You are curious as to what it is. So you stop. It reads "The people in front of you are ahead". 

You wonder what this possibly means till you come to the next display that says "Look behind you". You turn around to see the back of the first billboard you passed, it reads "Now you're ahead. Keep Ahead with The Sunday Business Post online".

This experiential and experimental marketing was part of my overall marketing campaign for the Sunday Business Post online, entitled "The Business of Keeping Ahead".

 
A mock up of the digital displays as part of the experimental.

A mock up of the digital displays as part of the experimental.

 

In January, I was tasked with devising a marketing campaign to launch The Sunday Business Post online. I found out two weeks before the deadline, but like any marketer would do, I worked tirelessly on the campaign for those two weeks. I heard that people tend to be more creative late at night - well then it is probably the only time jet-lag worked to my advantage (I was just home from New York). 

The Sunday Business Post needed a marketing campaign that would drive subscriptions of their online offering. The campaign needed to be aimed towards businesses who would buy subscriptions in bulk for their employees and individuals who would buy a subscription for themselves.

Through market research, I found that the main reason people read business news online was, as you might expect, to keep ahead with the latest business news. That is where my campaign all started and when I decided to call it - "The Business of Keeping Ahead".

 
My campaign cover.

My campaign cover.

 

When I delved deeper, I found that people were reading the business news to keep themselves and their business or the business they worked for ahead of competitors. These business people from CEO's to MD's, Marketers to Entrepreneurs all needed to know what was happening in their industry and others in order to drive their business ahead of competitors and keep ahead overall. This was the strategy. By having the latest business news and industry insights from The Sunday Business Post businesses and business people could keep ahead of competitors.

 
A snippet of the research from my campaign.

A snippet of the research from my campaign.

 

Thus, my strategy for this prestigious national newspaper was devised from my living room couch in Ballyduff, Co.Kerry, Ireland. And there was no better place to do it! Coming from a family of entrepreneurs and business people there was always someone in the house or on the other end of the phone that I could bounce my ideas off! 

After examining the market of readers of business news and non-readers. Online business news readers, offline readers and those that engaged in a bit of both I was ready to choose my target market. I decided primarily to target those that only read business news online.

Why were they the perfect target - They were the easiest target to convert to subscriptions and ultimately sales. They were already online reading business news online, they just didn't know the Sunday Business Post was available online. It had the latest business news they needed to stay ahead, at their fingertips. This target also would not have any effect on print sales since they did not gain business news from traditional media. They were the perfect target. I referred to this segment as the Biz Net-Newsers'.

The Media Consumption of the Biz Net-Newser.

The Media Consumption of the Biz Net-Newser.

My subsequent targets were those that read business news online and offline who I call the 'Modern Savvy Traditionalists.' Finally the business people of the future, college students and recent graduates; the 'Collegians'.

The campaign would show successful businesses and business people who read The Sunday Business Post online as being always ahead. In contrast, it would show business people who did not. In various scenarios, those ahead will succeed, and the others will be left behind. The business people ahead represent online Sunday Business Post readers. The business people left behind are non-readers.

 
Storyboard for a video advertisement to be used as part of the campaign online and offline.

Storyboard for a video advertisement to be used as part of the campaign online and offline.

 

Now that the strategy to drive subscriptions was in place it was time to work on tactics. My tactics involved digital static advertisements as well as video advertisements online that lead straight to owned media, just like the one above. It included social media marketing, email marketing, the creation of a microsite, events all over Ireland, direct mail and a small amount of outdoor, television, radio and print advertising.

The media plan involved heavying up on online media as this hit all of the campaign's targets but also had an investment in traditional media to target the Modern Savvy Traditionalists and maximise the visibility of the entire campaign.

 
A mock up of what the digital advertisements might look like.

A mock up of what the digital advertisements might look like.

 

The direct mail aspect of the campaign involved sending a gold envelope to business owners with the words ‘Open this if you want to keep ahead’ written on the outside. The inside contained a free trial of The Sunday Business Post online as well as information about the campaign.

The other tactics consisted of a microsite where business leaders would share stories about how they keep ahead. On social media, the campaign would ask people to share how they keep ahead. It also included advertising on the boards.ie business forum and other business related websites.  Advertising on business television and radio programs and in business related magazines. Outdoor advertising in areas surrounded by lots of businesses and much more. 

That is "The Business of Keeping Ahead" in a nutshell! And my secret to keeping ahead; reading the online edition of the Sunday Business Post.

Padraig O'Connor wins the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year (anpostsmartmarketing.ie).

Padraig O'Connor wins the An Post Student Marketing Campaign of the Year (anpostsmartmarketing.ie).

Well done to all the other winners!

Thank you to Gavin Fox and everyone at An Post for hosting the awards, they were a tremendous success.

My deepest appreciation to Anne Cogan, Dr Brian O'Connor and Lisa Herlihy for their exceptional guidance. They have been my marketing influencers throughout my short career.

A huge thanks to everyone who participated in my market research for the campaign and the media who I 'plagued' for media kits over the course of designing the campaign! I feel RTE, TV3, Newstalk, Boards.ie, Google Display Network, Accounting & Finance Magazine, Accounting & Business Magazine, An Post Mail Media Unit and JCDecaux Outdoor all deserve a mention.

To the judges who look fierce in those headshots on An Post Smart Marketing but are lovely underneath it all - Thank you for selecting my entry!

Finally, I strongly encourage all students with an interest in marketing to enter the awards next year. Creating this campaign was a lot of fun!

 
 

Until my next post, stay cunning, stay Smart - just like this fox!

My signiture