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The 2020 pandemic has forced marketers to rethink everything — from filling the pipeline gap left from live events, to finding new ways to develop bonds with prospects and customers. 

It has been truly amazing how companies have adapted to remote work without a drop off in productivity. In fact some would argue they’re more productive. But we can all attest that Zoom fatigue is real. Everywhere, people are yearning for human connection. So, in a COVID world, what can we do to replicate the trust that is built by sharing a meal, grabbing a drink, or going to a sporting event? 

When we talked about this as a marketing team, the first thing that came to our minds at OwnBackup was a direct mail campaign. But sending AirPods or another Patagonia Fleece emblazoned with a corporate logo as an icebreaker just didn’t seem like the answer. We wanted to try something new and novel that would create the space for conversation, and foster true human connection.

Hero Grill 1

As luck would have it, we stumbled upon the perfect product: the Hero Grill. It's about the size of a laptop, with little cardboard trays that you slide in. The system is all organic, the food you make on it tastes great, and it's super clean and easy. I love that you can keep it in your car or boat, or throw it in a backpack and take it with you to the park or even ski with it!

When I was introduced to it by a friend this summer, I knew it was perfect for the pandemic. Even more than its utility, I thought about the tie in to being a Hero, saving the day, and staying resilient in the face of adversity — that’s what our customers do for their companies every single day.

Hero Grill 3

This fall, we sent hundreds of these grills out to our high value targets and different heroes in our community. Our message was simple. Rather than go for the hard sell, we focused on creating a moment.

Hero Grill 6

When the grills arrived, our internal relationship owner was notified, so they could send off a personal email confirming the contact had received it. Here's an example of how it'd often play out:

Hero Grill 8

Hero Grill 9We've started to collect photos from our customers and prospects, and it's been super fun to see all the places these grills have turned up. Sometimes we receive unboxing photos, sometimes people show off what they've cooked up, and sometimes they simply capture that perfect moment with family and friends.

I can already tell this is a campaign that has legs over the coming weeks and months. Our hope is that we’ll inspire people to use their grills on dozens of occasions, each time building a little bit of reverence for OwnBackup and creating common ground for our community. While this marketing campaign was born out of the pandemic, I think it’s one that will continue to strengthen customer ties to OwnBackup and to each other in a post-pandemic world as more people continue to work remotely.

Hero Grill 10

Stay tuned for updates as we build on this campaign. With hundreds of grills seeded across our community, what's next? Charcoal refills reminding people, "We've got you backed up." Omaha Steaks for in exchange for a sales dinner. Or maybe a VIP grill out one Saturday afternoon with a celebrity chef or professional athlete. Let us know what you think!