Client: FlipDog.com (Provo, UT)
Client: FlipDog.com (Provo, UT)
PR Team: MWS Agency (Orem, UT)
Campaign: FlipDog Site Launch
Time Frame: December 1999 to April 2000
Budget: About dollars 150,000
How do you gain media and public attention for a start-up with a modest
budget when another player in the space has already beaten your company
to market and dumped millions into Superbowl ads?
That was the problem the founders of FlipDog.com faced when they set out
to launch their online job listings service, which uses special ’Web
crawler’ technology to grab listings off employers’ Web sites.
With Monster.com already the defined leader in a category cluttered with
competitors, the Provo, UT-based company knew it would have a tough time
generating interest from reporters - especially at the start of the new
year, when hundreds of other dot-coms were set to debut.
To top it off, Monster.com had also just hired The Weber Group for a
reported dollars 2 million contract to launch a blockbuster national
In December 1999, while the service was still in the beta stage, FlipDog
tapped Orem, UT-based MWS Agency. Together they agreed the best strategy
was to focus on the site’s key benefit: more job listings from more
Because of the crawler technology, FlipDog was able to accumulate
postings from twice as many employers as Monster.com - before the site
had even officially ’launched’ in April.
’We didn’t necessarily want to do battle on the features level, and as
far as technology, we just wanted to talk about how it made possible
this incredible benefit of more listings immediately,’ says Brett
Walker, FlipDog’s VP of marketing.
MWS outlined a media and analyst campaign that would cut both wide and
deep. The goal was to target the most influential and wide-reaching
journalists, key analysts and opinion leaders with one-on-one meetings
and demos. ’We set up meetings on a press tour with every single
reporter and analyst who was influential in the field, starting with the
syndicated writers and including even the important newsletters,’ says
Cheryl Snapp, principal of MWS Agency.
The materials and pitches started off with the number of jobs listed on
the site, emphasizing that there were many more than on Monster.com.
Some of the early meetings bore fruit. The March 9 Washington Post
column by Leslie Walker was picked up by newspapers around the country.
Similarly, the FlipDog story by Seattle Times columnist Joyce Kennedy
hit in a handful of other publications including the Los Angeles
To cover all the bases, FlipDog also distributed two press releases
announcing its launch and the number of job listings on the site. To
help secure broadcast coverage, the agency released a VNR.
Despite the crowded marketplace, reporters reacted positively to
FlipDog’s benefit proposition of more jobs and free listings for job
seekers and employers. And the firsthand demos persuaded several key
scribes to proclaim the advantages of FlipDog’s service over its rivals.
’FlipDog has passed its nearest competitor in the number of employers
recruiting for jobs online,’ wrote syndicated columnist Joyce Lain
Kennedy, appearing in the Los Angeles Times and several other papers.
Other stories ran in The Wall Street Journal, CBS Marketwatch and
Forbes.com. And the VNR was picked up on top-rated Los Angeles TV
’They were listing more jobs than any other site and not charging
employers to list jobs, so I thought this was a company worth taking a
look at,’ says Forbes.com columnist Jon Swartz.
In addition, the media coverage drove traffic to the Web site, with more
than 167,000 people visiting FlipDog on April 3, the first day of its
MWS is coordinating a media tour for broadcast outlets, as well as
putting together several special events.