An Unexpected Win – How the Marketo Smart Car Contest Delivered More than Just Leads

Event Marketing


This last year, on a cold November day, the Marketo team attended Dreamforce. For those of you familiar with Dreamforce, it is more than a cloud computing tradeshow — it’s a sea of people, vendors, speakers, bloggers, “goodie getters”, and what felt like 60% of the Bay Area. As an exhibitor, our event plan was months in the making. There were the pre-event multi-channel campaigns, webinars, booth design, and party prep, not to mention the purchase of several pairs of cushioned shoes. Our goal was that when we returned to the office, we would have enough qualified leads in our pockets to justify a week of surviving on branded mints, coffee, and very little sleep.

The Campaign

One of our largest (and most exciting) Dreamforce programs involved giving away an electric Smart Car. The purpose of the car campaign was to drive traffic to our booth, generate leads, and (of course) give something away that someone would be extremely excited to receive. I mean, who wouldn’t want a car?! Naturally, the car was purple, wrapped in our Marketing Nation logo, and environmentally friendly. The concept helped us drive traffic to the booth (no pun intended) and engage folks in interesting conversations. It also made for a few awesome selfies from attendees posing with the car.

The Winner

Back in the office and happy with the results, we were now faced with the next critical step of the program — figuring out a winner. With any contest, randomly selecting our winner is something we all enjoy and look forward to. Ideally, the winner fits all the legal criteria, and (most importantly) is excited to receive the car.

Within a day of notifying our winner she emailed us and accepted. She was not only happy to get the car — she was ecstatic! During the busy holiday times, she took the time to write us a long note thanking us for the car, highlighting how much this meant to her and her family. She planned to give it to her daughter, who has a long commute every night, as a Christmas gift. She was relieved that her daughter would get home safely each night. The personal note was so heartwarming that it quickly “went viral” within our department. I was deeply moved, as was everyone who read or heard about the note. As you’ll see in the video below, we were fortunate enough to give her the car in person, and to celebrate the special moment together.

The car giveaway was a successful piece of event marketing because it did what our team expected — it helped create a fun draw at an event. It also did something completely unexpected, which was to bring a feeling of warmth and positivity to our winner, and to our entire company.

Want to add some warmth and positivity to your day? Luckily, we taped the giveaway so that our readers could also share the moment. Check out the video to see how it unfolded!

To view the Smart Car giveaway video (only 1:25 seconds long!), click here.