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SXSW Report: AMD Uses Guerilla Marketing to Mobilize Fans


If you don’t have the bigger budget, you have to be a little smarter and a little more creative. In a South by Southwest panel entitled “Who Owns Your Fans? Not You!,” an executive from computer chip-maker AMD told how he mobilized the company’s fans and used online video to spread brand and product awareness in an merging market.

While AMD is a big name in chips, its sales fall far behind that of market-leader Intel. In marketing and advertising, Intel outspends AMD 60 to 1. That’s why, social media manger John Peters explained, he has to be clever to get more bang from his marketing dollar. In his address, Peters explained how he harnessed fans to further the company’s objectives in a campaign in India.

JohnPetersPeters started his campaign to build awareness and increase laptop sales on Facebook, targeting ads to 18- to 35-year-old Indian gamers in. His company saw this as an emerging market ripe with potential due partly to the massively popularity of gaming and LAN parties in that country.

Next, he identified early adopters through Facebook, gamers who felt strongly about AMD and wanted to spread its message. AMD created a point system to incentivize these adopters in non-monetary way. Fans were able to show their influence while accruing points, and could redeem points for goods.

While Facebook is a great way to find fans, it’s not a great platform for working with them. That’s why AMD transitioned its fans and its point competition to a separate page that it created and ran. By hosting its own promotional page, AMD was able to share more media assets, including product videos, while still maintaining the contest point system. Fans were then able to upload their own original content. For example, one early adopter edited an online video game trailer and added AMD messaging and branding. Others could earn points by sharing that video.

“Video content, we know, is extremely engaging these days,” said Peters.

Working with Samsung, AMD gave away laptops and game codes to several participants. Peters made the decision not to delete negative comments from contest pages, since he wanted fans to know they were taking part in an open dialog. That decision wasn’t popular with management, Peters acknowledged, but he stuck by it.

At the end of the campaign, Peters was highly satisfied with the results. Fan acquisition on Facebook cost $.81 per person. AMD saw revenue growth of $520,000 from the campaign, and enjoyed $600,000 of earned media. Fans generated over 1,000 pieces of original content, often working with AMD brand assets.

When launching campaigns, Peters said marketers should define their program objectives, making sure those objectives align with company goals, and narrow the scope, if needed. After all, you’re not likely to further all of your company’s goals in one program. Start small and progress from there, he said. Remember that content is king, so supply fans with great assets, including original videos, to work with. Finally “measure, measure, measure,” so you know exactly where your campaign is working and by how much.




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