Soasta campaign out of this world

Just ahead of the August 5 Curiosity landing on Mars, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and its server partner Amazon Web Services hired tech service provider Soasta.

Client: Soasta (Mountain View, CA)
Agency: Grayling Connecting Point (San Francisco, CA)
Campaign: Mars Touchdown
Duration: August 3 – August 13
Budget: about $15,000

Just ahead of the August 5 Curiosity landing on Mars, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and its server partner Amazon Web Services (AWS) hired tech service provider Soasta to ensure that NASA.gov could support half a million streams and 1 million simultaneous users viewing live video and pictures captured by Curiosity.

AOR Grayling Connecting Point helped Soasta leverage the occasion to broaden awareness of the company, drive traffic to Soasta.com, and attract new business leads.

“We wanted to gain exposure beyond the traditional tech PR marketplace,” says Soasta SVP of marketing Peter Galvin. “The broad interest in the Curiosity mission gave us opportunity to raise our profile among a larger audience.”

Strategy
“There's always a lot of anticipation and excitement ahead of a big event like this, but until it happens there's not a lot of content for media,” explains agency SVP Curtis Sparrer. “We knew Soasta could play a big part in this story if we acted before the landing, and that it would be much harder to get coverage after the fact because there would be so many other stories spinning off the landing.”

Testing on the website wasn't complete until late afternoon on Friday, August 3, so the agency had to move quickly to pitch stories.

Tactics
Targets included top-tier journalist and bloggers covering tech, business, and science. Given the tight timeframe, the agency team relied heavily on Facebook and Twitter to connect with journalists and bloggers.

“We sold it as a behind-the-scenes story about how Soasta helped NASA get ready for the live streaming,” Sparrer says.

Galvin adds that excitement among Soasta's engineers helped drive tech stories. “Our engineers were so excited to have the opportunity to interact with the jet propulsion lab engineers, and that was part of the tech angle,” he says.

Results
The campaign generated five new sales leads, each worth five to six figures.

“We got calls from companies we hadn't talked to before, and it caused excitement within our existing prospect base,” Galvin explains. “It seemed to help speed up the sales process because we became more of a known quantity - if we're good enough for NASA, we're good enough for just about anyone.”

The week of August 3 Soasta.com traffic was up 38% compared to the previous week and higher than in any other week in the previous six months. It was also the second-highest traffic week in the site's history. Galvin reports continual traffic increases since.

Eight stories, reaching about 15 million, ran in outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, GigaOM, and Forbes.

Future
Soasta and Grayling Connecting Point will continue working together. New product, service, and partnership announcements will be made during the next several months.

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