Rocket Fuel, Inc. was founded in 2008, at a time the RTB and ad exchanges were still nascent. Rocket Fuel grew quickly into an industry leader in digital advertising and automated media buying through big data and machine-based algorithms. Today, Rocket Fuel is a full Programmatic Marketing Platform that continues to lead the industry in digital advertising technology and methodology.
Rocket Fuel and competitors alike invest tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars to support the attendance of their sales team to large industry conferences (e.g. eTail, Shop.org, Internet Retailer). These conferences bring together advertisers in a single location, which is a powerful opportunity to get in front of prospective customers. However, advertisers are bombarded with more invitations to cocktail hours, dinner parties, lunches, and breakfasts than there are hours in the day. As a result, advertisers have become very discerning about with whom and how they will spend their limited time.
The former VP of Enterprise sales at Rocket Fuel (current CRO of Chartbeat), Aaron Kaliner, saw that it was becoming increasingly difficult to break through the clutter. With an upcoming conference approaching, he retained Divvi Up to conceive a new and out-of-the box way of customer engagement.
The tried and true way to build relationships is through face time. However, customer engagement veered in the direction of mass reach by way of happy hours and cocktail parties, which became more impersonal and detached. As a result, the “Rocket Fuel VIP Golden Ticket” came to be.
Divvi Up, as an extension of the Rocket Fuel sales team, executed a concierge customer outreach program that was more targeted in approach. A short list of important advertisers was pre-selected to receive an invitation to a custom VIP experience during the conference. Each recipient received a special physical invitation in the mail. The recipients were asked to fill out a survey, which was used as a preference guideline to curate the experience for the guests. In each experience, the guests would be accompanied by a sales representative from Rocket Fuel as the event host, opening up a more focused and intimate 1-on-1 opportunity to interact. All parties were able to connect on a more personal level for a longer duration while enjoying an activity that is uniquely customer centric. A few examples of activities are: bi-plane airplane tour around Palm Springs, private historical tour around Philadelphia, an indie rock show at a historic music venue in Seattle with VIP access, and an intimate multi-course dinner by a Michelin star executive chef in his kitchen.
Realloacting budget that would have gone towards a run-of-the-mill cocktail party to a customer-first format was an unprecendented approach that resonated with customers. The personalized experience planned for each guest also created a comfortable setting for sales reps and customers to bond in a way that would normally not happen when meeting for the first time.
“Divvi Up asked all the right questions upfront, and I was impressed at how they understood our business and industry challenge. We wanted the customer outreach program to be integrated with existing sales and marketing efforts, and Divvi Up ended up being a seamless extension of our own team. The results of the customer outreach program really exceeded our expectations. In fact, we retained Divvi Up to carry out the program for several additional conferences. ”
– Aaron Kaliner CRO of Chartbeat and former VP Enterprise Sales at Rocket Fuel.