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Case Studies


How gaming lifted sales of a laboratory product

How gaming lifted sales of a laboratory product


Invitrogen approached Bourne last year with the brief to develop a game to engage the end users of their Gibco product, a solution used in laboratory experiments. 

Whilst these end users did not actually buy the product, this was done by University and Research Institutes procurement departments, their usage of the product stimulated demand. 

Helping to understand the product further would lead to increase usage and thus increase sales. Traditional methods of promotion had been met with various levels of success and Invitrogen were looking for something fresh and engaging, leveraging to meet their objectives.

From a marketing point of view, Invitrogen were also looking to use this mechanic to solicit Mobile phone numbers.  With the increase in Smart phone users and the demographic being 23-45, Invitrogen were looking to supplement their CRM data to begin a program of marketing to the end users, using Mobile.

"Invitrogen approached us last year with the brief to develop a game that would engage the end users of their Gibco product, a solution used in laboratory experiments," said Adrian James, Client Services Director at Bourne.

“Traditional methods of promotion had been met with various levels of success and as they were looking for a fresh and engaging way to meet their objectives, we devised a campaign capable of reaching their target market across the web, social media and mobile.”

James added, "The results have been fantastic, demonstrating that with the right mix of technical expertise and creativity, a properly managed digital campaign can engage potential customers far more effectively than traditional marketing techniques - irrespective of how complex or specialised the market is."

Objective summary:

* Stimulate product usage through an engaging mechanic.
* Generate awareness of new product packaging, which coincided with the game launch
* Engage customers and drive traffic to the site using Social Media
* Make sure the game is viral
* Solicit Mobile data from end users
* Deliver the game across EMEA, APAC and North America


To drive traffic to the site it was quickly realised that to do so, a social media campaign would be needed.  Bourne developed a hype campaign to deliver this with specific measurable objectives;

* To build awareness of the GIBCO brand
* Create a buzz surrounding the launch of the game ‘The Challenge Lab’
* Promote game further afield than current database of customers
* Promote game to existing sign ups
* Promote Invitrogen brand and invite new visitors to the website

The Bourne approach used both online and offline communication as possible to engage the audience.  The ways Bourne used social media are as follows:

* Setup Facebook fan page for ‘The Challenge Lab’ and twitter page called ‘Challenge Lab’, see below.
* Post commentary on behalf of Invitrogen to relevant Scientists sites and Social Networking sites such as Facebook (particularly asking various key fan pages to post the games link, and Twitter)
* Use current lab timer widget and adapt scrolling message on the bottom, see below.
* Online blogging on Social Network Sites and online outreach to key bloggers and tweeters for online engagement
* Implement  tagging of the game via ‘Add This’ on the game web page
* Additional activities used to drive traffic; E-mail campaign in the run up to the launch, then utilise a trigger e-mail program.
* T-shirts were printed with Challenge lab logos.

Using a new Facebook app called Selective Twitter Status by Andy Young, a computer science student at Oxford, Bourne enabled a public fan page profile owners to syndicate their Twitter updates to their Facebook public profile automatically for the first time.  In addition to being able to update public fan page profiles, Selective Twitter Status (as its name implies) it also allowed users to select which Tweets to syndicate to Facebook.


Bourne took this approach and combed it with a shorter-term, direct outreach for campaigns to drive sales and raise awareness of the new Gibco bottle, with a longer term project in which we mapped online influencers and encouraged indirect word-of-mouth conversation.

Online outreach for key influencers

Initially the approach involved selecting specific categories of blogger from our targeted researched list.  Each outreach was done on an individual basis, appropriate to each individual blogger, and designed to get them talking about Challenge lab and referring traffic. 

This included the following activities;

1. Identifying the subsets of bloggers for the campaign
2. Tailor outreach for each blogger; know what to say to them about Challenge Lab
3. Monitor response, i.e. checking that they were driving traffic to the game.
4. Take appropriate action following the response
5. Update blogger profiles for further refinement of our influencer list and for future campaigns
6. Push game scores to them to promote competition and drive registrations.

Editorial outreach – online influence mapping

Bourne was able to identify key online influencers and create a personal and intimate relationship to encourage the promotion of the game. 

This mapping and monitoring was implemented to give Bourne the information to create an online conversation – not an interruption – and become a trusted member of the community, ultimately driving increased search engine optimisation and awareness of the game/brand in places where your target audience is interacting already.

The strategy was as follows;

1. Conduct an online audit what is being said about Invitrogen (specially the new Gibco bottle) online and determine the reach and the influence of those conversations
2. Identify leading online influencers and outlets – in addition to science labs and Invitrogen/Gibco-specific communities – associated with activities relevant to the targets.
3. Determine each asset and engagement opportunity that is available for audiences to participate in and match each opportunity with the above-selected communities.
4. Consider additional universally-desirable assets that could help to engage influencers and communities beyond currently planned content and assets.
5. Determine which influencers and outlets should potentially be engaged with a paid sponsorship opportunity in addition to editorial and content outreach.
6. As a complementary step to all of the calendar-based outreach activities, we believe we also should identify with pre-existing influential Invitrogen/Gibco enthusiasts that already have created communities online. We will determine which assets are most likely to engage in a positive manner. Assets may include exclusive photos, videos, or event opportunities.

Measurement - Cost per Influencer

Bourne based the main measurement for success in the outreach program on a cost per influencer number.  This number is determined by using data from sources like Quantcast.  This is a database gathered through affiliations with partners, who include advertisers, publishers, ISPs and advertising networks, giving breakdown reports an audience size and composition for many thousands of sites.

* For each blogger that mentions ‘The Challenge Lab’, we looked at the number of visits as reported by Quantcast that blogger has received for the month, and multiplied this by 25p as a cost per influencer.
* Where Quantcast metrics are unavailable for a specific blogger, we asked the blogger for monthly visit figures for the first month of the game launch.
 * Where we could not establish monthly visits, we will estimate this through other complementary metrics such as Technorati or Google Blog Search queries for the first month of the game launch.

Bourne delivers both a campaign and report for the launch period that outlines the placements that were made and the cost per influencer.  Additional reporting included visits to ‘The Challenge Lab’ sub-domain based upon if landing pages set up or specific online outreach promotional codes.

Implementation and Results

The game has been a huge success and the client now has a team dedicated to its development. The end users have taken to playing the game in the breaks, at lunch and at home. The program of social media has really differentiated the game from other online game platforms and allows Invitrogen to build real dialogue with their audience.

* The game has been launched across EMEA, APAC and North America.
          o Total registrations to date: 3757 (49 due to referrals)
          o Referral emails sent: 210
          o Total games played to date: 8133
* The CRM database has been updated with 2252 mobile phone numbers.
* We currently have 128 qualified ‘active’ twitter follows that are Invitrogen customers, or pre-disposed to Invitrogen products.
* We also have 70 ‘active’ fans on Facebook across EMEA and will increase with targeting of APAC and North America social networks.
* The key metric that Invitrogen focused on visitors to the challenge lab spend on average 5 minutes allowing ample time for marketing and selling opportunities for conversion. This compares with 1.5 minutes on the main Invitrogen site.

Now fully deployed in North America, EMEA and APAC, the Challenge Lab site's success in attracting thousands of new users has convinced Invitrogen to dedicate an in-house team to its continued development.

Additionally, "the Invitrogen Challenge Lab has brought a fresh, fun and more intimate dimension to our global marketing strategy.  We have connected with our customers in a more relaxed and open setting, collected valuable profile and behavioural data, and used the platform to improve awareness of our products and promotions,” said Di Foxx, Senior Market Development Manager, Life Technologies.

“It has boosted excitement and engagement within our sales force, making conversations about our brand easier for them to initiate with customers who are interested in the Challenge Lab.”

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