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Marketing Awards Case Studies B2B Case Studies

Sciex implented VR in its B2B marketing, here's how

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By The Drum | Editorial

November 29, 2023 | 7 min read

SCIEX and Boulder Group have won the Technology-Led Innovation category at The Drum Awards for B2B. Here is the award-winning case study.

Check the award-winning campaign here.

The marketing objectives of this campaign aligned closely with the inherent nature and timing of the activation. While the daytime schedule at ASMS is reserved for presentations, business meetings, and keynote speeches, the experiential activity always takes place in the evening when the vendor suites turn into hospitality environments.

Objective 1: Create an enjoyable experience that blends science and fun, leaving a lasting impression with delegates that is relevant to SCIEX’s core brand ambition: to be innovative technology providers who bring the scientific community together to solve the world’s next big health challenges.

Objective 2: Maximize time on site. For every minute that delegates are in SCIEX’s suite, they’re not spending time with a competitor. Each entrant to the suite should stay an average of 20 minutes.

Objective 3: Generate leads. Approximately 3,000 delegates pass through the event during the hospitality evenings. SCIEX wanted to capture 20% of this audience’s first-party data.

Strategy: We knew that achieving our objectives required us to deliver a brand experience that was truly differentiated from the other vendors at ASMS. If the competitors were going to lead with a rational message focused on existing products, then we needed to lead with an emotional message, powered by imagination.

But success could only be realized if the emotion tied back to the brand. We needed an insight that would bring together scientists from all different fields, who all use Mass Spectrometers in different ways, and help them realize that SCIEX is not only pioneering technologies that improve their labs but also developing new ways of working that unite scientists in the pursuit of progress.

The insight: Progress in science is only achieved through collaboration. And that collaboration is made all the more powerful with diversity of scientific approach.

The idea: Discover your Mass Spec Mindset. At ASMS 2023, delegates would enter an immersive journey that heroed different scientific perspectives and processes, whilst helping them understand what their own mindset is - a combination of their personality, workflow, and mass spectrometer instrument use - and how it contributes to wider scientific progress. We referred to these unique scientific types as 'Mass Spec Mindsets', categorizing them into 7 distinct groups:

  1. Speed seeker - “We want the answer and we want it now”
  2. Visionary - “Imagine what could be possible.”
  3. Heavy Lifter - “We love getting our hands dirty.”
  4. Treasure Hunter – “I’m looking for that special discovery.”
  5. Specialist - “We have a very particular set of skills.”
  6. Number Cruncher - “Give us data, data and more data.”
  7. Crowd Sourcer - “What does this mean in the real world?”

Putting these different mindsets in perspective and discovering which group each delegate would associate with required a three-stage brand experience, with groups of 12 moving through one after another. These stages were:

  1. Inspire - A VR experience to introduce the concept and inspire around the value of collaboration.
  2. Engage - An interactive survey to delve into the qualities and aspirations of each scientist.
  3. Reward - A truly personalized AI generated avatar, shared on email, socials and printed onsite to embellish our delegates conference lanyards.

Let’s look at how each stage was actioned in more detail:

Stage 1: Mass Spec Mindset VR 12 synchronized Meta Quest headsets were set to simultaneously play an immersive story that introduced our different Mass Spec Mindsets and helped our delegates understand the importance of each. In the event space, we split each group in half, having each half sit in a circle of six swivel chairs. When headsets were activated, we mirrored this layout in the opening sequence of the VR experience, as if delegates could still see the other five members of their group, albeit in a new magical surrounding. This mirrored perspective allowed our audience to seamlessly gain comfort and familiarity with their new environment, recognizing as we did that many people would be new to VR experiences.

A voiceover led narrative then introduced our different Mass Spec Mindsets, taking delegates on a journey that started in a futuristic Cyberpunk inspired city. Users then flew through the streets of the ‘Speedseeker’, to the robotic and clinical world of the ‘Heavy Lifter’, were thrust in front of a vast audience for the ‘Crowd Sourcer’, then catapulted into outer space for the ‘Visionary’. At the end of this magical, curiosity-inducing journey, our audience found themselves back where they began, only now they looked at each other differently – no longer simply seeing a collective of similar scientists, but as each having unique and important qualities that combine to enable true scientific progress. The question to follow was – What Mass Spec Mindset did they each have?

Stage 2: Introducing the Mass Spec Mindset interactive tool Inspired by the VR experience and fueled by a curiosity to know their Mass Spec Mindset, our delegates entered a new room with 12 table-mounted tablets, each displaying an interactive quiz interface. After inputting important first-party data (names and email addresses), users navigated through 5 questions that challenged their personal scientific approaches and workflows. These questions were:

  1. Number of samples: How many samples do you typically use in your workflow? • From ‘n=3 good enough for me’ to ‘The World!’
  2. Sample volume: What is the typical volume you look for in your workflow? • From ‘invisible’ to ‘bucket!’
  3. Throughput: How will you handle your throughput? • From ‘Don’t blink’ to ‘Take a vacation and cross fingers’.
  4. Date strategy: What is your data strategy going to be in your workflow? • From ‘THIS specific molecule’ to ‘Show me absolutely everything'.
  5. Molecule size: What is your ideal molecule size in this workflow? • From ‘small but important’ to ‘MEGAdaltons!’ On selecting ‘submit’, our delegates would seamlessly move to the next stage.

Stage 3: Generative AI - Meet your Mass Spec workflow avatar On the tablet in front of them, and after a short ‘generating’ sequence to allow our bespoke AI prompt creator to generate their unique image in Midjourney, each user would be met on screen with their own personalized Mass Spec avatar, engineered from the specific route that they took through the quiz. The images were then instantly printed and slotted into our delegates' conference lanyards, hijacking this precious event real estate and putting SCIEX at the literal heart of each guest. This created a highly visible talking point for our scientists to strike up conversation about their ideal workflows. The AI-generated avatars and supporting Mass Spec mindset descriptions were also automatically emailed to delegates with the ability to share seamlessly on social channels.

Results: The campaign far surpassed client expectations and set a new benchmark for experiential activity at ASMS. SCIEX's event suite was at capacity for all three nights with a steady queue of highly excitable scientists, and the Mass Spec Mindset experience delivered:

  • Over 700 first-party contacts (names and email addresses)
  • 200 hours of highly immersive brand experience
  • Dwell time targets surpassed by 30% Perhaps most importantly, this activity proved that brand experience for the scientific community could be both informative and fun, challenging the traditional attitude that scientists are purely rational in their attitude to brand preference.
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