Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A Social Networking Experiment: Cisco’s Connected Life Contest

Merry Christmas
Ever hear that you should be careful what you ask for because you just might get it? Well, Christmas came early for me this year. I was challenged with applying some of this crazy Marketing 2.0/social networking/new paradigm stuff I’m always talking about to help boost the exposure of a program to promote Cisco’s Connected Life Contest.

The idea behind Cisco’s Connected Life Contest is to generate innovative ideas for a connected life (for example: using your cell phone to pay for your Starbuck's coffee). Cisco is awarding a grand prize of $10,000 for the best idea and ten runner-up prizes of $1,000.

Your Mission, should you choose to accept it . . .
Most of the focus around Marketing 2.0 in my current role is about strengthening ties with current customers. This is a different animal. For this project, I won’t be using Marketing 2.0 techniques to improve the quality of customer conversations but rather to dramatically increase the quantity of conversations we’re having. Whereas most of my marketing focus is on building brand, reinforcing message, and enabling better communication – this is straight up promotion.

What took this from being just another cool marketing project to being a real life Apprentice-style jam session is the lofty objectives, short timelines, and limited resources. We’re working with a very limited budget, a very small (yet obsessively dedicated) team, and 51 days to reach a record setting goal (internal bragging rights only), measured in contest entries.

Ray Hopewood, meet Joe ConnectedLife
We’re relying heavily on social networking to create and sustain buzz for Joe, the central character to the Connected Life Contest. An important early task was to build our online presence for the campaign. “Joe ConnectedLife,” has a profile on Facebook and MySpace, communities on YouTube, Ning and LiveVideo, profiles on 40+ other video sharing sites, and you can tag the Connected Life Contest page with digg or

Shameless Plug & Cry for Help
In addition to all of the social networking I’m doing to build Joe ConnectedLife’s online presence I’m hoping to inspire my audience to take action. Submit your idea (did I mention there’s a $10,000 Grand Prize!), write about it in your blog, befriend Joe ConnectedLife share the landing page through digg,, or whatever other social bookmarking tool you use – or send me your ideas on what else we can be doing to spread the word.

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