Awards case study: 9.9 Group wins gold for 'Best digital content programme'
Technology Wizards 2020 was an engagement program, conceptualised and produced by 9.9 Group. Leading cloud and virtualisation technology provider, VMware, leveraged the platform to reach out to its potential customers, and enterprise IT decision-makers in Indian enterprises. VMware’s objective was to create a sales pipeline for its VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) platform in India, by demonstrating the potential customers the business value of its solution.
9.9 Group designed the program to encourage potential customers to proactively consume content related to the solution, assess themselves on the learning and apply that learning to create solutions to their real business problems inside the organisations. The idea was executed by creating a dedicated technology platform where the participants could register and indulge in all activities — see their progress and achievements and communicate with the program managers, as and when they wished. The program managers could track the progress of the program and of each individual participant through a simple dashboard. This resulted in VMware generating 2.5 times more engagements with their target customers and gain more insights into their actual business challenges, thus leading to far more meaningful conversations. It also helped the company discover newer use cases for its solutions.
About the client company
VMware is a $10 billion software company headquartered in the US. It is a pioneer in virtualiation technology which is at the core of cloud computing, a de facto technology for enterprises of today.
Specific issues or challenges to be addressed
VMware’s objective was to create a sales pipeline for its VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) platform in India. Realising that the decision-making for technology is increasingly getting linked to delivery of business value, it wanted to tangibly demonstrate that business value to its target customers.
The target audience
The target audience was senior and middle-level executives in Enterprise Information Technology teams within the selected Indian companies, who take decisions on technology purchases, especially related to IT infrastructure and security.
The martech solution
Traditionally, campaigns to generate pipeline have been ‘product-centric’, which means they promote the features of the product(s). 9.9 Group turned this approach on its head to focus on driving the awareness of 'how VMware products help' organisations tap into new business opportunities or overcoming business challenges, inducing the target customers to start with their business problems and opportunities and think how it could be solved using VMware products.
This was done by developing a process of 'discovery' and 'realisation' of the benefits of the VMware products by the potential customer. The idea was to make the users apply the solutions to meet real-life business challenges – learning about the products in a lean-forward manner and then applying them while thinking about their respective problems.
Targeted customers were encouraged to register for a program, where they had to consume curated VMware content, consisting of interesting short videos, whitepapers, case studies and data sheets before taking multiple assessments to test their learning. Participants scoring above a minimum in a MCQ-based test were awarded certificates. Since there were leader boards for best performers and certificates for all those scoring a minimum mark, it was taken up as a challenge by the participants and they proactively consumed content, so as to score better. This was the 'discovery' part.
For 'realisation', each participant submitted a real-life business challenge faced in his/her organisation and how he/she would solve that problem using VMware solutions. This was called the 'My Big Idea' contest. The participants came up with their own justications of how VMware solutions would help their organisations address real-life business challenges, and they ended up selling the VMware solution to themselves.
After conceptualising the program, 9.9 Group built a customised platform for the program. The platform provided facility to register, consume content, track one’s progress, take tests, see scores, track leader board for best performers, download the 'My Big Idea' template PowerPoints, and upload them after completing the presentations.
These 'Big Ideas' were shortlisted on the platform by 9.9 editors and rated by an external jury. The winners were announced in a real-time online event, which was hosted on YouTube Live, and which was embedded in the platform itself.
Throughout the program, the program managers from 9.9 Group and its client, VMware, could monitor the progress of each participant and get reports on all aspects of the program through a dashboard. The dashboard provided information on how many participants have taken the assessments, the range of marks scored, their overall progress, the videos and other content consumed, time spent on each activity and so on.
The platform also provided easy interfaces for the participants to raise queries which were answered by the program managers. The announcements were also done on the platform. Of course, a WhatsApp closed group of the registered participants completed the continuous interaction communication channel.
Impact on the business VMware generated 2.5 times more engagements with their target customers after the rst season of the program. In addition, the program helped VMware in understanding the business challenges of the participants, making their sales conversations much more meaningful and focused. It also helped the company learn about newer use cases of their own solutions in the context of various different industries and dierent types of companies. VMware generated a huge repository of rich user-generated content through this activity.
ROI (and budgeting)
VMware voice and brand awareness shares increased by 30%. After the success of the first season of the program, now VMware and 9.9 Group are executing the second season.
Gaurav Saxena, deputy general manager, BHEL
“The Technology Wizards program is one of its kind, which creates a unique opportunity to learn the latest technologies in a competitive environment. It delivered what it promised."