local media insider
Case study

Federated Interactive's B2B team helps HVAC manufacturer launch new product

Federated Interactive shows how to sell national B2B accounts

Does your agency know how to sell digital thermostats to contractors? Federated Interactive's does.

Client: KMC controls

Home Base: Paris, Indiana

Market: General contractors, HVAC distributors and installers, commercial and residential end users

Media: Federated Interactive
Key executive: Shannon Allen, VP of Sales; Amanda Searer, Account Executive; James Derby, Chief Strategy Officer.

Challenge: KMC Controls is a manufacture of HVAC, heating and cooling systems, which they sell to distributors and contractors.

"There are many layers of people they sell to - both distributors and the end user," Allen said.

KMC had developed a digital thermostat product called SimplyVAV, that needs to be marketed differently. The goal was to reach contractors and educate them that the product was simplified to the point where almost any contractor could install it. Normally, many contractors cannot put in heating and cooling systems for large systems that involve thermostat replacements - limiting the range of contracts they are able to perform.

By simplifying installation, the new digital thermostats from KMC opened up more work for this group of end users.

"In the past, a contractor would never want to touch a commercial product like this, now they could," Allen said.

Since the product is new, however, it is not something that contractors will be searching for online - the classic "you don't know what you don't know" issue. KMC needed a campaign with the right kind of B2B targeting to get in front of contractors searching for and looking at other things - and to deliver enough of that specific audience to make a real impact on the sales channel.


Federated Interactive's team specifically targets B2B clients headquartered in the area, so KMC Controls was a natural target. 

"These are companies who would otherwise sell at tradeshows." 

To get a foot in the door with KMC, Federated helped them with a problem they had creating an interactive video for their microsite.  

Although the sale was only $350, this small success opened the door for the marketing manager to take a meeting, and agree to let KMC design a plan to promote their new side product, digital thermostats. 

Since the product needed to be marketed outside of search, but to a highly targeted group of customers, the team selected the ad network with the most customized approach to targeting, Simpli.fi.

The selling platform uses "unstructured data" to create individual audiences on the fly, based on uniquely changing behaviors, rather than segmenting based on content groups alone.

First the team asked KMC to list all competitive products, and also to supply a mailing list of potential customer names, addresses and email.

Then the group used targeting tools to deliver messages in the "media behavior" around those names - both the competitors web sites and online mentions."

"In SEM of pay per click, (best practice) is NOT to buy your competitors names. However, the advantage of re-targeting based on keyword searches via the Simpli.fi platform allows us to deliver ad impressions to consumers who have typed in a competitor's name or product." 

The targeting tools deliver a message to these custom audiences based on where they are in the buying cycle: Re-targeting the website, re-targeting to specific key word search term and competitor names and to the type of audience that would most likely use the products.

Federated's team also asked for the list of customer email to use for retargeting.

"They have the ability to take a mailing list with names, addresses and email addresses and do a reverse search to target those individuals on the web. Basically, it is like a direct mail piece on-line." 

The goal was to target one person at least five time. "It's a fine line because you do not want to be obnoxious about it, but as consumers we are so exposed to advertising all the time, the old adage of 'you need to see a message at least 3 times does not apply anymore", Allen said.

Here is a sampling of banner ads used, keep in mind that "VAV" is an industry term recognized by the target market:



In total, the campaigns delivered 1.5 million impressions, including retargeting, in about 30 days.

The campaign delivered 1,496,285 impressions and 1,899 clicks, with a CTR of .13,  significantly beating the national average of .03 to .04. This created more traffic than their natural search, with no PPC in the campaign. The most successful part of the campaign was the keyword & contextual re-targeting.

• The campaign was successful to the distributors. They were able to identify specific leads coming in from this campaign and got further involved with co-branding the product.

• The Google analytics showed an increase of almost 50% of new visitors in a 30 day period. So, in other words, there was more traffic coming from the campaign than was coming naturally to the site, which is almost unheard of.

• The campaign was so successful that the marketing team at KMC had to take a step back and decide what to do moving forward. Their key distributors told them that because the “KMC Brand” held more weight, they wanted them to rebrand  SimplyVAV as a KMC Product instead of a stand alone product.

Shannon Sikkema-Allen Shannon Allen, VP of Sales, Federated Interactive

Amanda Searer Amanda Searer, Account Exec, Federated Interactive

James Derby James Derby, Chief Strategy Officer, Federated Interactive

Find technologies used in this story in the directory, MediaExecsTech.com.

Recommended in this story:
- SEM provider Matchcraft and retargeting with Simpli.fi

Finally, a big thank you to all our media associations partners for helping recognize excellence in marketing created for local merchants:

Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute
Alabama Broadcasters Association
American Society of News Editors
Colorado Press Association
Inland Press Association
Kentucky Press Association
Local Media Association
Missouri Broadcasters Association
Missouri Press Association
Nevada Press Association
Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association
South Carolina Broadcasters Association
Washington State Association of Broadcasters 
Wisconsin Broadcasters Association
Wisconsin Newspaper Association
Washington Newspaper Publishers Association


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