How a Viral Email Campaign Helped Juniper Networks Triple its Contact Base and Boost Advocacy

How a Viral Email Campaign Helped Juniper Networks Triple its Contact Base and Boost Advocacy
Stephanie Tilton - Tue Feb 02, 2010 @ 01:58PM
Comments: 98

In December of last year, Juniper Networks® announced that it had won the 2009 B2B Marketing Award for Best Use of Email with its Junos® Software campaign. Here Claire Macland, Senior Director of EMEA Marketing for Juniper Networks, shares a behind-the-scenes look at how the campaign came to be – and why it was ultimately so successful.

Q. What was the catalyst for the campaign?

A. Juniper Networks offers high-performance networking solutions, and one of our key technology differentiators – and key value propositions – is the ease of using our products due to our single operating system, called Junos. This OS runs on all of our products, be it our switches, security devices, routers, or any other offerings. To effectively market our solutions, it helps if there's a broad base of Junos skills within the organizations we're targeting.

The purpose of this campaign was to boost the number of Junos advocates within our target market. So in essence, this was a customer advocacy program aimed at making sure that technical folks who work with operating systems are aware of – and have positive feelings about – Junos.

Q. Was the campaign targeted at prospects, customers, or both?

A. We combined our prospect database and customer data and identified those already using our technologies, those who had certification in our technology, and those who had attended one of our training days. Regardless of the category, these people had two things in common: they were technical in focus and had at some point expressed interest in Junos.

Q. How did you cut through the inbox clutter?

A. We sent an email to this list of 4,000-4,500 contacts. The goal of the email was to understand what these recipients wanted us to develop so we could start an ongoing dialogue with them. We asked: "If you could have whatever you wanted from Juniper, what would it be?" And we offered them a technical book in exchange for their views: JUNOS Enterprise Routing published by O’Reilly.

Juniper email

This was a new, dialogue-based approach for us. Generally we take the traditional approach: we make an offer to our prospects and customers in exchange for their information so we can then target them with something else. Here we stepped back and said: "Since we want to build a base of advocates, we need to know exactly what our target market wants and deliver that so they'll have a positive experience and evangelize on our behalf."

Q. What was the response?

A. We got a virtually unheard-of response rate of 40%. An additional 10% of responses were from those who hadn't been original recipients of the email. In other words, the email had gone viral. We also became aware that the URL with our book offer was posted on blogs around the world. Though this campaign was focused on the EMEA region, people responded to us from all geographies, explaining what they wanted to learn about Junos. We aggregated all comments and distilled them into common requests.

Here's a sampling of what the respondents requested:

  • Virtual lab facilities to try out our equipment in a virtual setting
  • Online forum to chat with each other and Juniper experts
  • Webcasts and technical tutorials
  • Roadmap information
  • Education and certification programs

While we offer some of this as a matter of course, we don't necessarily offer it in a programmatic way. We designed the rest of our campaign around those interest areas, and created a portal, called J-Central, to serve as the main hosting platform for this Junos community.

Q. Content creation is often the most daunting aspect of a marketing campaign. Who created the content and portal, and what was the process?

A. Our EMEA marketing folks were responsible for finding and creating the content, and ultimately were pointed to our technical experts in the U.S. Based on responses to polls in J-Central, we found out which topics the program participants were most interested in. We then sent out invites for live events, featuring our chief engineering and technical experts. Our last event was oversubscribed by 200% within five hours of the invitations being sent.

The content was very compelling. We demonstrated our technology in real time, and participants in countries around the world could interact with the engineers behind our technology. The conversations went on long after the speakers had finished.

Q. The campaign ran from September 2008 through October 2009. How frequently did you reach out to the target audience?

A. We emailed alerts about site updates – such as online webinars, practice environments, online training, coding libraries, and software release updates – fairly frequently, sometimes every week. But remember, this was a strongly opted-in list because of the usefulness of the content. By the end, nearly all emails ended up going viral using the "forward-to-a-friend" mechanisms we embedded. We increased our contact base from 4,500 to over 15,000 by October 2009.

Even though the campaign was initially built off an email approach, we made great use of Web 2.0 technologies and social-media platforms, including YouTube, live chat, forums, and Twitter. While we were already involved in those channels, we had extra incentive to use them once we saw how much our audience grew due to viral activity. We made sure the right mechanisms were built into our communications to make it easy for recipients to pass them on. It was an opportunity to use these channels in a creative way. Plus, it was measurable – we could see how many contacts we had and how quickly they responded to various promotions.

We also offered the email address of one of our employees so program participants could submit feedback. While it was extremely time-consuming for this employee to respond, she ultimately built up a large Twitter following. It was a prime example of how these social-media platforms work – if people see value, they'll use them.

Q. Did your channel get involved in the campaign?

A. Our channel got involved because it's interested in learning about Junos. While we facilitated different ways for the channel to participate, we haven't passed on contacts as leads – that's not in the spirit of what we originally promised to the audience. Plus, the fact that a large number of prospects and customers responded so enthusiastically to our events and content doesn't mean we have lots of hot leads for our channel reps. After all, in an advocacy program, you're not selling anything. But you're building ongoing advocacy, respect, and appreciation for the Juniper brand within the hearts and minds of those people, which goes a long way. That said, if the channel is involved in the same events, chats, real-time polls, and other activities as the program participants, they have an opportunity to engage with potential customers.

Q. How did you measure the success of this campaign?

A. If we measure campaign success based on whether or not we're building advocacy, we can clearly see that we've been successful. We've heard from prospects, customers, and partners how pleased they are with their experience of the brand. That's like gold dust for a marketer. And these are just the ones we're aware of. Out on the Internet, we're confident when people talk about their experience of this campaign, they'll say it has been very positive.

Q. Have the results of this campaign changed Juniper's approach to marketing?

A. It hasn't altered our approach but it has given us the extra incentive we needed to build a program that helps expand our technical advocacy programs. What we did with this campaign is what good B2B marketers know they should be doing. Having said that, I know it's easy to lose sight of this best practice. When you sell technical solutions, it's easy to get lost in details about speeds and feeds and have one-way communication with your audience, telling them what they should be interested in, and that if they fill out this form with 15 fields, you'll send them a white paper. The great marketing happens when you step back from that. I'm not claiming we don't fall into this mindset from time to time, but we do step back once in a while to think more strategically about what the customer wants to hear. With this campaign, we managed to deliver on that.

While this is a great approach for building advocacy, a different approach is needed when you are trying to market and sell your solutions. Monetizing your marketing efforts and driving leads is still crucial. On a conceptual level, social media has changed that. Juniper actively embraces a number of social media efforts that are not about lead creation but are about conversational marketing and going on a journey with prospects and customers. Ideally you want to bridge the different approaches.

Q. What are your plans for building on the success of this campaign?

A. Because the number of advocates enrolled and involved in this program is so large, the campaign and program has been adopted globally within Juniper. Now Juniper's U.S. headquarters is responsible for nurturing the program, delivering additional resources, and finding more interactive ways to engage with advocates, such as via live chat, Twitter, and YouTube.

Q. What lessons can you share with other B2B marketers?

  • It's all about the content – give people what they really want, not what you want them to have.
  • People want their voices to be heard so provide a platform to allow this dialogue to happen.
  • Build your activities so that they can easily be passed on – encourage your customers to take your messages viral.
  • Once you have a solid group of advocates, don’t be tempted to start selling hard to them. They will unsubscribe super-fast!

About the author: Stephanie Tilton is a freelance marketing writer who helps B2B companies craft content that nurtures leads and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Stephanie.

Comments: 98


1. John Bottom  |  my website   |   Thu Feb 04, 2010 @ 06:05AM

Great write-up Stephanie. I'm quite familiar with this story already because we were lucky enough to work with Clare as the creative agency on the project. The main take out for me has been to confirm the power of advocacy – not just in word-of-mouth terms, but in building a community and creating content. A great project to be involved with – I'll stop crawling now. ;-)

2. Mark McClure  |  my website   |   Thu Feb 04, 2010 @ 07:25PM

A Junos cert book would definitely hit the sweet spot for Juniper users with a tech focus. I should know - back in the day, that other networking company (let's call them the big "C") used to give tech books from their C-press when they came on-site.

From your figures, it looks like 1000 + books were mailed out. Did you attach any scarcity to that offer i.e. only for the first 1xxx or apply by a certain date?

Congratulations on growing the contact base!

3. Claire Macland   |   Fri Feb 05, 2010 @ 03:55AM

we gave customer one month to respond so there was a timepressure to encourage responses....

4. Bell & Ross   |   Thu Dec 05, 2013 @ 02:49AM
5. DannP   |   Thu May 22, 2014 @ 07:50AM

This campaign has certainly served the purpose. I think it was a good idea to combine the prospect database and customer data. It has reflected in the net outcome. This is going to be even beneficial to the recipients regardless of the category.

6. Mary   |   Thu Aug 21, 2014 @ 02:47AM

Great B2B Blog I have never seen like this Great Job, I am always using and for my online shopping coupons and i am saving a huge amount.

7. Siva   |   Sat Aug 23, 2014 @ 02:27AM

Won wonderful blog, It s so great work, keep regular updates. i like it so much. My Blogs and

8. f4x   |   Mon Sep 01, 2014 @ 06:40AM

Won wonderful blog, It s so great work, keep regular updates. i like it so much.

9. bitcoin hosting   |   Wed Sep 03, 2014 @ 03:24AM

Prof Mihir Kumar Chakrabarti, General Secretary of the Asiatic Society, in his letter on February 29 said the award will be formally conferred upon Dr. Atiur Rahman at a ceremony on May 7 in Kolkata.

10. merry   |   Fri Sep 05, 2014 @ 11:41PM

Thanks a lot for sharing the detailed list of Senate names of farm bill Conferees. Most of the members are new to me. This subject has interested me for quite some time. I have just started researching it on the Internet and found your post to be informative and

11. kimkarshan   |   Sat Sep 13, 2014 @ 04:40AM

like a lot of books, but one of my recent favorites has been The Not only was this a great story that captured my attention from the beginning, but I love to hear how women band together for a greater

12. visit site   |   Thu Sep 25, 2014 @ 01:06AM

Most people wouldn't want to risk something that, although could be better for them, there is that strong chance things can go wrong and typically they do, persistence is important in these things.

13. get more google plus followers   |   Wed Oct 01, 2014 @ 06:00AM

They need to have a excellent display online marketing strategy in position that contains regular pre-show marketing emails with their concentrate on audiences and offer benefits for going to their offices, as well as interesting on-site actions and effective post-show marketing emails.

14. read more   |   Fri Oct 10, 2014 @ 08:35AM

Once completed, the project will help ease the traffic situation in Moghbazar, Madhubagh, Ulan, Mohanagar, Daserpara, Rampura, Merul Badda, Gulshan, Tejgaon and Begunbari.

15. sparxx rx   |   Fri Oct 17, 2014 @ 02:47AM

Measuring at 3.35 inches, this SparXXrX® bullet comes conveniently with a keychain – truly, what woman would not want to take her vibrator with her when she’s on the go?

16. healthy snack ideas   |   Sat Oct 18, 2014 @ 12:31AM

This blog is really great. The information here will surely be of some help to me. Thanks!.

17. marry   |   Fri Nov 14, 2014 @ 08:33AM

mentioned here will be very useful to me! I will post Anine Bing a link to this page on my blog. I am sure my visitors will find that very useful

18. girlsdoporn   |   Thu Jan 01, 2015 @ 12:08AM

From the tons of comments on your articles, anine bing I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here keep up the good work.

19. waseem   |   Wed May 06, 2015 @ 01:30AM

Most people wouldn't want to risk something that, although could be better for them, there is that strong chance things can go wrong and typically they do, persistence is important in these things.

20. Warren   |   Mon May 11, 2015 @ 12:09AM

A good seo implementation outcomes in popularity, financial gains, demand in market. With this development your business becomes a reputed item.

21. the post right here   |   Mon May 11, 2015 @ 05:03AM

A seo assistance provides huge web guests, cause and enhances product sales to the organization.

22. waseem   |   Tue May 12, 2015 @ 02:44AM

A well handled supplier system will not only be able to make material for your web page, they will be able to make top quality material, which will in turn your guests into clients.

23. waseem   |   Thu May 14, 2015 @ 05:40AM

If ever you drop into the arms of these suppliers, you would absolutely reduce a lot of cash and your web page can even get prohibited by most google.

24. click reference link   |   Sat May 16, 2015 @ 05:14AM

I found this is an informative and interesting post so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article.

25. ali khan   |   Wed May 20, 2015 @ 01:16AM

Everyone by now has got the memo. Websites material that is unique, appropriate and powerful increases the period of your energy and effort within which you can see SEO outcomes.

26. ali khan   |   Fri May 22, 2015 @ 11:33PM

Guiding there are some exterior hyperlinks towards the client's website comes under profile backlinks. Backlink listing includes listing many one-way hyperlinks to enhance the site's exposure in google for instance Google.

27. waseem   |   Fri May 29, 2015 @ 02:56AM

But internet marketers need to take care of the point that their sites have to be SEO enhanced so that these can obtain higher positions in the google.

28. waseem   |   Sat May 30, 2015 @ 02:19AM

So if you own a excellent cusine cafe in Indian, then you will probably want to improve your web page for search phrases like "India excellent dining" or "fine cusine India".

29. waseem   |   Mon Jun 01, 2015 @ 12:42AM

To discover one of the top SEO professionals available available available available available available on the industry.

30. check out   |   Mon Jun 01, 2015 @ 01:41AM

The 4th problem to consult regarding is that the protection and emails you'll get.

31. ali khan   |   Tue Jun 02, 2015 @ 01:10AM

Hiring an professional or the best SEO Organization in your area is always a very good decision for organizations who want to get the desired place in the promotion game.

32. waseem   |   Thu Jun 04, 2015 @ 05:10AM

SEO Montreal companies are amongst the top SEO solutions providers which are offering efficient and affordable solutions to those companies who want to create their existence popular and obvious among the targeted audience.

33. waseem   |   Fri Jun 05, 2015 @ 02:50AM

SEO Organization Silver Coast utilizes the best online promotion tools to discover new opportunities for your business.

34. amine   |   Mon Jun 15, 2015 @ 11:20AM
35. franklin   |   Wed Jun 24, 2015 @ 06:28AM
36.  |  my website   |   Mon Jun 29, 2015 @ 04:38PM

Should you drop to the arms of individuals companies, you'd absolutely reduce lots of money along with your site might even get prohibited by most google.

37. custom web site design India   |   Tue Jul 07, 2015 @ 01:34AM

The truth on SEO providers is that it is often really easy execute, but that will not represent its easy.

38. online game addict  |  my website   |   Wed Jul 08, 2015 @ 05:47AM

I really love playing online games specially 8 ball pool with little trick like this, how about you?

39. avataria game hack  |  my website   |   Wed Jul 08, 2015 @ 05:48AM

very easy to use avataria hack tool online

40. ali khan   |   Thu Jul 09, 2015 @ 12:26AM

Most people wouldn't want to risk something that, although could be better for them, there is that strong chance things can go wrong and typically they do, persistence is important in these things.

41. bola tangkas  |  my website   |   Thu Jul 09, 2015 @ 09:42PM

Casino is one of the most trending gambling online where in you don't need to go in any casino venue but you only need to get online to bet and most casino sites have all types of games that we saw on most casino company.

42. voir ici   |   Wed Jul 22, 2015 @ 05:30AM

Maximum blog writers and website owners do their websites' seo by themselves as their encounter basic methods.

43. waseem   |   Fri Jul 24, 2015 @ 08:04AM

They both can together develop a excellent web site. SEO has become a valuable online promotion for businesses of all styles and sizes, but for an SEO campaign to be successful, solid fundamentals need to be in place.

44. waseem   |   Mon Jul 27, 2015 @ 07:20AM

Interesting topic shown here, i am now working on it regularly here and would say keep the future posts like this continusoly.

46. edmonton spay clinic  |  my website   |   Wed Jul 29, 2015 @ 12:16AM

If you have a problem for the health of your pet then you need a vet expert to ask for and need some advice you can go to to ask what you need to take care of your pet.

47. reference link   |   Sat Aug 01, 2015 @ 03:07AM

When an on the web surfer goes to any of these look for engines and types in a keyword and key phrase and key phrase or phrase, there are two types of results that will pop up namely organic SEO and subsidized results.

48. see post   |   Sat Aug 22, 2015 @ 01:34AM

The important part to high quality composing is that when a audience areas on your content and seems that you have offered them with the item or details they were looking for, they will simply simply select the weblink that back-link support professionals offered them to get to your web page.

49. Good apk   |   Sat Sep 05, 2015 @ 05:01PM

Asphalt 8: Airborne is no longer 100% racing, but it involves many elements of action, could dibeilang 80% and 20% of racing action. Gameplay is not much different from the previous series. You can play the single player mode is divided into 8 sessions where each session represents a previously Asphalt series.

50. check out   |   Mon Sep 07, 2015 @ 06:42AM

SEO, as I said previously, is the most popular of outsourcing, because it is a long, slowly process.

Previous 1
powered by Doodlekit™ Free Website Builder