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May 10, 2004

News & Opinion: Evangelism

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 3:40 PM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales

I was paging through a book this weekend called MBA in a Box by Joel Kurtzman. The book is a compilation of essays that have been grouped into thematic clusters ranging from Innovation to "How To Be A Leader" to Sustainability and the Environment. I hadn't heard this story before. The following quote is from "Spend 90 Percent on the Who, 9 Percent on the what, and 1 Percent on the How: The Art and Science of Branding" by Sam Hill:
Take RIM, the relatively unknown Canadian company that introduced BlackBerry pager in January 1999. Since then, over a million BlackBerry units have been sold. But they did it without a huge marketing budget. Instead they carefully targeted a narrow group: traveling professionals (and their IT support). They recruited around fifty "evangelists" who visited Fortune 500 companies and set up over a thousand pilot programs where they provided pagers for trial without charge. By the end and their core of loyalists helped them roll out the devices across the corporation. (They also loaned them to key journalists and received a mountain of PR in return.)
Update: A footnote credits the story to Pui-Wang Tam's "Small Wonder" from the Wall Street Journal, 6/25/01