Case Studies: Vestas

Vestas – a multi-billion dollar wind energy pioneer – used LinkedIn to combat rising competition.

Case Studies vestasLate in 2011, Vestas, a Danish manufacturer and provider of wind-based energy systems, was faced with a global recession, increased competition and an unpredictable regulatory body. The result was a decline in revenues and the burden of bringing the company back to its usual standards fell on the branding and marketing departments.

When one thinks of a Case Studies, multinational energy providers are not necessarily the first companies to come to mind. What Vestas showed, however, was that social media marketing can deliver results for companies in all sorts of industries, even those where you might least expect to see an impact.

The Campaign

The Vestas campaign was among the most impressive ever put together on LinkedIn. It encompassed several parts and was tailored, effectively, to each of the 400,000 people who were reached. The campaign, titled Energy Transparency, aimed to accomplish a very specific goal, according to Morten Kamp Jørgensen, Director Brand Management, Group MarCom and Customer Insight, Vestas:

“The goal of the campaign was to start a discussion and education process for carbon conscious corporations to directly invest in wind energy rather than just buying Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Many corporations are already investing directly in renewable energy and we wanted to encourage this and engage corporations who have sustainability targets that make them more likely to invest in wind.”

To do this, Vestas launched an InMail campaign to 622 targeted executives at 50 energy-conscious companies, created customized LinkedIn banner ads for the 400,000 employees of said companies, partnered with Businessweek for a special offer for the InMail participants and created custom landing pages for each of the 50 companies’ executives and employees.

The results were outstanding. (You would hope so with that much work!) And while this is a huge campaign – one that not every company would need or be capable of executing – there is a lot to learn for marketers.

The Lessons

Do Your Research

Vestas did not succeed because they blindly launched a campaign on LinkedIn – far from it. Months of careful planning went into this campaign, starting with research into the companies most likely to respond. Again, the 50 companies selected were chosen based on specific criteria that made them excellent candidates.

When putting together a marketing campaign – social media or otherwise – you will only succeed if your campaign is built on a solid foundation of research and data to back up your decisions.

Customize Your Campaign

The banners, the landing pages, the InMail – everything about the Vestas LinkedIn campaign was customized and tailored to fit the individual seeing the content. Adding a personal touch keeps your audience invested.

Sharing generic content leads to fewer click-throughs and, subsequently, a lower conversion. If you personalize the different features of a campaign, you stand to generate a much higher success rate than if you do not.

In with the New, But Not Out with the Old

Vestas took several marketing styles and created a huge campaign that blurred the lines between conventional marketing and new marketing. From LinkedIn, to banner ads, to magazine spreads – they covered all their bases and, more importantly, they connected every aspect of the campaign together.

It is important for marketers to remember that social media is not the end all be all of marketing. While it does present some great new opportunities, it should be looked at in unison with your conventional marketing efforts. Vestas realized that and the numbers prove that they got it right.

Which lesson do you think is most important to pull from this campaign? Tell us in the comments below or on Twitter!

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