A company called Marqui is attracting a lot of buzz lately. Almost everyone is talking about it. Or in other words, they have achieved what they wanted to achieve by budgeting a mere $200,000.
So how are they using Guerrilla marketing? Marqui sells a web-based service for communication management by an enterprise. To create awareness about its products and to highlight successful case studies, the company is paying a meager $800 a month to 15 bloggers to write about Marqui (company, offerings, etc.) and/or success stories, put links, and display an ad.
How did the buzz start?
Google is the only major company right now that treats bloggers with respect and helps them make a living with blogs (through online advertising through its AdSense program). The number of online publishers (sometimes referred to as nano-publishers) that make a living with blogs is rapidly growing as several blogs compete with large media companies and attract more traffic than companies with multi-million dollar advertising and marketing budgets. More importantly, since the advice is unadulterated and unedited (as a management consultant, I do the same), people like it more than the traditional, politically-correct, risk-averse content you come across on conventional media.
But there is a problem with the Google's offer. The advertising model is pay-for-performance. So in the worst case scenario, your income could be zero. What Marqui is doing is basically buying advertisement on a blog (though at extremely low rates, and thus it has a huge ROI) by paying a guaranteed amount and then it also offers a bonus for leads generated. Or in other words, Marqui is treating bloggers like a traditional publisher and that is great news for online nano-publishers.
But while this development has made bloggers a powerful group to deal with when it comes to creating instant buzz about anything, many in the blogosphere are worried that bloggers who get paid are selling out. That their content will no longer be unadulterated and unedited. While Marqui does not control what the bloggers write (they are free to criticize the company or the offering), chances are that some marketing/advertising strategists will now hire bloggers to mention their products but force them to write only positive things (for a price, of course). The net result: So many bloggers (including yours truly) are blogging about Marqui that the company is getting free advertising simply by breaking convention.
Why Marqui's model deserves to be emulated by other companies targeting B2B space?
- Bloggers have a lot more influence than many in the advertising industry are currently willing to admit.
- Business professionals are more likely to be blog readers. Most readers of this blog are senior-level decision makers committed to competing in the marketplace using innovative business models and creating value for shareholders.
- Even a mention on a blog has far higher ROI than an ad in the print media or a television commercial. As a management consultant, when I say something, people listen more carefully than just looking at an ad in a business publication.
- Trade publications rely heavily on advertisers for content and most articles are written with the help of advertisers who provide quotes, images, and access to new products prior to their release to the customers. Bloggers are simply an addition to that group.
- Hiring bloggers to advertise your product is one of the new paradigms that we have developed in the 3Es of advertising.
- To succeed online, a company needs links (from popular, relevant websites) that can significantly impact how easily it can be found in organic search results. Marqui will soon achieve rankings that will rival those that may have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising.
Recommended article: Traditional advertising is in danger