QWEST Wins Over Developers Through its “Ultimate Problem Solver” Campaign

Blog Post #4: PR and Community Management

B2B Marketing is a different animal from the catchy B2C viral videos we often see on YouTube.  To be successful, you have to do more than simply hire Kobe Bryant to perform extraordinary jumps or go dynamite surfing. There are, essentially, three PR categories – campaigns that make you go “Damn!”, campaigns that deliver impressive results and campaigns that simply do both.  2011 MOBI Awards nominee Qwest are of that rare third type with their ultimate problem solver campaign.

Qwest, a telecommunication services company that offers high speed internet and phone services, partnered with WIRED magazine to introduce this campaign that relied on quick brainteasers that were perfect for the usually “techy” target crowd of the publication. I randomly stumbled upon some of these questions when my brother-in-law showed me an old issue on his tablet. The campaign is brilliant because it elegantly fulfills a main success factor for B2B marketing – selling to the reasons why your customers buy. It is an online game that challenges technology buyers to solve problems in creative and programming ways that play to the Qwest’s differentiating strengths. The message is loud and clear – buyers of Qwest services are professional problem solvers and the company appears closer to its buyers by aligning with that self-image. Only a few days after the campaign went live developers forums were busy with the news of the breakthrough capabilities showcased in the campaign (it was specifically designed for tablets and had many interactive features (bouncing pebbles that need to be aligned)).

I consider this a remarkable campaign because it is very rare to see customers in a B2B setting excited about a product and the people behind it. While it started as one aimed at the traditional press (WIRED magazine) it quickly took a life of its own and spread through communities of non-press bloggers and developers. B2B doesn’t always have to be boring, and my hat is off to Qwest and their ad agency (Conde Nast) for creating a well-scripted and flawlessly-presented campaign.

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