What Made Hudl’s Smart Camera Product Launch a Resounding Success?
What made this technology product launch so successful? Mainly, a PR strategy that wasn’t afraid to embrace old and new media alike.
B2B product launches have so many moving parts, and it’s up to the marketing department to communicate all of the product’s benefits to the target audience while maintaining a company voice.
Hudl, a smart camera, analytics and sports technology company based in Lincoln, Nebraska, experienced a very successful technology product launch recently, so we decided to chronicle their process in this case study.
Director Eddie De Sciora and Senior Account Executive Kenneth Mintz at Stanton were both involved in guiding the PR approach for Hudl’s launch of Hudl Focus Outdoor, an automatic capture camera driven by AI and player-tracking technology without a cameraman needed to follow footage.
Launching a tech product for the sports market
The PR team understood the product’s main benefits: automatic livestreaming, video and data capture for high schools and colleges. Focus Outdoor, in addition to providing analytics around areas like 4th down success rates, delivers a unique solution for fans who’d like to follow their favorite teams through pandemic-related restrictions. It also eliminates the need for a tracking cameraman or AV team at sporting events, alleviating a financial burden and logistical headache for many high schools and colleges.
But Stanton’s goal was to expand product interest into more than one related buyer profile. At the top of their sales funnel were athletic directors, who often have a purview across all sports at a given university or local school district. Coaches, who derive the biggest benefit from use of the camera, were another key audience.
One of the team’s most important realizations was that the product had appeal to actual athletes as well. Part of Hudl’s offering is a recruiting platform where major high school athletes can build and display their own personalized highlight reels. So reaching student athletes was also critical.
According to the Stanton team, their goals included the following points:
- Drive Focus Outdoor awareness (landing page traffic)
- Drive AD awareness and package sales
- Generate form fills (MQLs)
- Build brand visibility among key consumers, leading them on a path to self-education
- Tell the full story of Hudl Focus and how it changes the capture and livestreaming landscape
- Reinforce Hudl’s position in the sports technology landscape
Given Hudl’s existing student highlight reel platform, there was already some buzz created from recruiting videos going viral on social media.
Sales would consequentially capitalize on the momentum caused by that coverage, Mintz says.
“Media coverage of Hudl products is used by the company’s sales department in outreach to new and existing clients. If they score a feature story in Austin, Texas for example, Hudl’s sales team typically sends word of that success to local contacts in the market, to drive engagement.”
By targeting local, vertical sports, and mainstream media channels, they were able to gain robust exposure to their full sales funnel.
“We took a multi-pronged approach by first targeting mainstream media for broad consumer awareness. We focused on the livestreaming capabilities while integrating the player analytics into the messaging too,” De Sciora says.
“We also targeted channel sports media with thought leadership opportunities and interviews surrounding high school and college sports,” De Sciora added.”
Local media was also important. The Hudl team had previously conducted significant beta testing and therefore already had a number of product advocate users who could attest to the value of the product with media.
Related: Harnessing PR as a Technology Manufacturer
The team offered significant metrics to reporters around volume of games/practices recorded and number of teams using the products as well as interviews with local athletic directors and coaches, in tandem with a Hudl executive.
“Some of these high school coaches are very notable regionally and they do a great job explaining how the tech has impacted their jobs. Beyond the advocates and media interviews, one of our exciting moments was having one of Hudl’s cofounders on an Instagram Live session with a top influencer in the sports space,” Mintz says.
The Stanton team earned notable coverage in outlets like The Austin Statesman, SportTechie and Lincoln Journal Star, along with a broadcast interview on CBS 42 in Birmingham, Alabama. While the campaign is ongoing, secured media coverage thus far of the product launch has reached 4.5 million unique visitors per month.