Case Study: How Software Provider JackBe's Social Marketing Strategy Reduces Costs and Delivers ROI
Problem: JackBe, an enterprise mashup software provider, wanted to educate developers about mashups — what they are, how to build them and what applications are a good fit for this approach. The small start-up had a finite marketing budget and needed to move fast to find a solution.
Solution: JackBe selected an open source software provider that offers commercial support for the Drupal social publishing system as the building tool for its community.
Results: Since launching its community, JackBe has seen a 30 percent increase in overall web traffic; more than 2,000 new community members in six months; and its influence on its sales pipeline is close to 100 percent.
JackBe sells enterprise mashup software to developers, enabling them to use web services to connect internal and external data to create new, loosely coupled or “mashed up” applications. Because this is a new approach in software development, part of JackBe’s marketing agenda is to educate developers about mashups. In particular, what they are, how to build them and what applications are a good fit for this approach.
Chris Warner, JackBe’s vice president of marketing, adopted a social approach to this education strategy with a mashup developer community, which targets developers who will use JackBe’s software to build their own mashups.
When Warner began researching which technology to use to build his community website, he considered several options, including traditional proprietary software, software-as-a-service (SAAS) and open-source products such as Drupal. Because JackBe is a small, venture-backed start-up company, Warner's project budget was finite. It was imperative he get the most out of his dollar. He also needed to move fast, with less than two months to deliver a member-ready community.
After researching numerous open source and commercial options, Warner elected to build his website on Acquia Drupal, a commercially supported Drupal distribution from Acquia, a company that provides commercial support for the open source Drupal social publishing system. This option was the most cost effective since it's free. JackBe's primary project cost was hiring Trellon, a Drupal development shop, to design and build its site on Acquia Drupal.
“I continue to be amazed at how little this project cost and how quickly I got to production,” said Warner, in a case study prepared by Acquia. “I spent 25 percent of what a comparable proprietary solution would have cost, and I implemented all of my desired functionality in a short period of time. If we had worked with a traditional software vendor, this project could easily have cost six figures for just the software alone.”
Better marketing conversations
Currently, JackBe's mashup developer community is a destination for software developers to converse with each other and technical experts from JackBe. Members share questions and answers; answer and code samples; research mashup solutions; and provide guidance on how to best build and deploy mashup applications.
“The community isn't about JackBe; it’s about mashups in general,” Warner said. “More importantly, the community is all about the members themselves. They can connect with one another, share ideas, experiences and even best practices in this innovative area of software development, and ultimately help move the enterprise mashup industry toward maturity.”
The community is also far exceeding JackBe's goals. From the community launch date, JackBe has realized a sustained increase in traffic across all of its website properties. "We had 1,000 members join the community in the first few months, and we now have over 2,000 members, resulting in an almost immediate 30 percent incremental increase to our overall web traffic," Warner said.
In addition, the community has helped bring leads into JackBe's marketing database, and its influence on closed sales deals is trending toward 100 percent. In other words, almost every lead that results in a sale is visiting the community and using it as a resource. Also, JackBe’s community has resulted in high organic search engine rankings in dozens of niche search terms and phrases.