Q&A: Spot-On Social Targeting

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Sebastian Jesperson, CEO, Vertic
Sebastian Jesperson, CEO, Vertic

As part of its “Energy Transparency” campaign, wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems and its digital agency, Vertic, wanted to reach specific audiences on LinkedIn with targeted banner ads and InMail Partner Messages. The problem? The solution they wanted didn't yet exist in LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions arsenal. So Vestas and Vertic sat down with LinkedIn to collectively hone the social network's targeting capabilities to their needs.

Mirella Amalia Vitale, senior director of global marketing, communication, and customer insight at Vestas, and Vertic CEO Sebastian Jespersen, talk about their fruitful collaboration with LinkedIn.

Why did you choose LinkedIn as the best channel to reach your target?

Vitale: We wanted to do something different, and we knew we wanted to go digital and not do a traditional email where there's a risk of getting bounced back and we have to depend on a mailing list.

Jespersen: We also knew that the majority of decision-makers in [large] corporations have profiles on LinkedIn. But our question was how could we use LinkedIn as a prime communication channel to reach them in a way that makes sense?

So, how did you answer that question?

Jespersen: We realized that what we needed to do was what LinkedIn today calls targeting. But before, LinkedIn wasn't able to copy a database of users and correlate it with profiles—which is what we wanted to do—to find specific people with the right company, the right role, the right geography, the right level of seniority. There wasn't the capability to do that, so, in a way, this campaign helped spark LinkedIn targeting.

What were additional benefits of conducting this campaign via LinkedIn rather than through more traditional channels, such as email or direct mail?

Vitale: In a way, what we were doing was exactly like a direct mail campaign, but instead of direct mail or email where you need an address, we were able to connect with people we didn't previously have direct contact with.

Jespersen: And in this case, when a user clicked on or reacted to a banner, we knew exactly who they were based on their LinkedIn profile.

Is the lesson here not to discard an idea just because a solution doesn't yet exist to make it happen?

Vitale: The idea to use social media just happened to come up in discussion, so we set up a meeting with LinkedIn through Vertic. We brainstormed with them and told them we wanted our message to be as customized and personalized as possible without pushing the boundaries against privacy. And now, by applying certain filters, LinkedIn is able to sell this idea as a feature. But it came from us sitting in a room asking each other, “So, what do you want to do?”

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