Omniture Warms Chilly SES Crowd With Scarves

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CHICAGO -- Omniture has got attendees at this week's Search Engine Strategies show by the neck.


In a smart example of seasonal marketing, the Orem, UT, Web analytics firm distributed merino wool scarves to online marketers attending the search show in what is one of the coldest falls recorded in Chicago.


So how popular was the scarf, all white-striped detail alongside Omniture's trademark lime green? The company ran through its stock -- 450 scarves -- within the first four hours of the exhibit hall's opening Dec. 6.


"We're in the Windy City. It's cold, it's immediately relevant, comforting and wearable," said Christopher Parkin, senior director of product marketing at Omniture. "People are just whipping them around their neck and moving onto the next booth, whereas a T-shirt usually gets a thank you, a smile and dropped into a bag."


The company is known for upstaging fellow exhibitors at interactive and direct marketing shows yearlong with its lime-green T-shirt it distributes at its booth. It also previously has handed out remote-controlled racecars, pens and notebooks. But nothing prepared Omniture for the reception its scarves received. They are all over the SES show in the Hilton Chicago.


Though it may seem a gimmick to some, such marketing is serious business for Omniture.


"In our case, it's a lot more than tchotchkes," Parkin said. "They are truly premiums. But the gift is not the strategy. We believe it's a bit more experiential."


SES attendees were handed cards inviting them to the booth to collect the scarf. But before anything, they had to listen to a spiel about the new Omniture SearchCenter product extending the company's SiteCatalyst analytics tool. And then the prospects had to give their business cards to the Omniture staff. Then they got the scarf.


The process doesn't end there. Those luckier stand to win a cash prize, too -- the ultimate draw at such shows, no matter income status.


But consider what happened as a consequence of the scarf giveaway. Parkin thinks Omniture marketing knocked the cover off the ball.


"We got over 300 leads in the first day," he said. "Granted, we're in the process of qualifying them. And the booths that were around us are very appreciative and they were happy with the draw. They got lots of spillover because people were waiting to talk with Omniture and see the new product -- and while waiting, it gave others next to us the opportunity to talk with these folks."


When delegates reached the head of the line at Omniture's booth, they gained a demonstration into what SearchCenter is and how it works. As they were told, SearchCenter is Omniture's enterprise-grade bid management technology built with the same architecture as its SiteCatalyst We analytics product. The multiple-tier pricing plans are based on activity and not penalizing users for the number of keywords or search engine used.


SES Chicago is not as large as a typical ad:tech show, but Omniture has been impressed with the traffic and its quality, Parkin said. Attendees are here to learn from its education-oriented sessions as well as respond to a market challenge.


"The chief concern is, 'My management is tightening my budget around effectiveness -- it's no longer sufficient to report on click-through or average position,'" he said. '"For example, what can you do that will allow me to tie keyword performance to those metrics that are important to my business?'"


Omniture staff are in the process of separating the wheat from the chaff, the reliable leads from among those collected at SES Chicago. Its established lead qualification and enrichment process kicks into action right away, leading to contacts at the individual level. Of the leads, the company has multiple follow-up requests that will take place before the conference ends today, Parkin said, adding, "We're very close to three prospects signing while at the show."


Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters
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