Lithys 2016: SAS - Marketing Champion (1 of 2 entries)

Lithys 2016: SAS - Marketing Champion (1 of 2 entries)

a.pngCompany: SAS

Entry submitted by: Shelley Sessoms (Online Community Manager)

Community: SAS Support Communities

Lithy category: Marketing Champion (1 of 2 entries)


SAS is the leader in analytics. Through innovative analytics, business intelligence and data management software and services, SAS helps customers at more than 80,000 sites make better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.


Our Unique Promotion


We used the transition to Lithium as an opportunity to relaunch, reenergize and redesign SAS Support Communities. We aimed to make it easier for members to:

  • Find correct information faster with intuitive searches
  • Connect with peers
  • Share what they know with others


We wanted members to recognize the immediate benefits of the new site, including:

  • A quality mobile experience
  • A new system of ranks and badges that rewards community contributions
  • Better SPAM filters, keeping the noise level down so they can enjoy the good content


Our  Promotional Strategies and Tactics 


The community management team deployed an integrated communication plan geared toward new and potential community members, employees and social media influencers to generate awareness of the relaunch.


After finalizing a launch-specific tagline for SAS Support Communities, “Your forum, transformed,” we came up with a succinct, evergreen tagline that invites community action: “Ask. Find. Share.”


Then we identified key pieces of “getting started” information for members, and produced six community articles and videos covering the points:



We held a soft launch phase for “super” active employee and external community members to gather feedback and create a sense of ownership among this influential group from the outset.


Social proved to be a critical channel for all promotional efforts. Over several weeks, we promoted the following assets across SAS corporate, user-specific and personal channels like Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook, and external SAS-related communities:


  • How-to videos
  • SAS Users blog post
  • Six social tiles with quotes from community super users. Examples:






Multiple SAS-owned websites promoted the news including the SAS homepage, support site, and appropriate support pages like SAS Training and Books. Three SAS user e-newsletters promoted it as well.


The relaunch received third-party validation through earned media placements including a Huffington Post interview and Social Business Engine podcast episode.


We internally promoted the launch through a video, article on the SAS intranet, post on social media blog, email blast to marketing and sales teams, posts on internal communities and email notices to other communications groups.


Our Results


SAS Support Communities have enjoyed healthy membership and web traffic since their inception in 2006. The relaunch built on this momentum resulting in bumps to online visits, membership and engagement.


Analysis* of SAS Communities traffic, post launch:

Comparing Oct 1, 2015-March 27, 2016 to same time last year (Oct 1, 2014-March 27, 2015)

  • 19% increase in sessions (visits) (1.53M vs 1.28M)
  • 25% increase in page views (3M vs 2.4M)
  • Higher rate of return visitors (80% returning vs. new, instead of 74.5% returning vs. new)
  • 31% increase in new registered members rate (14,510 vs 11,067)


*Sources: Google Analytics and Lithium bulk data/history


Traffic to specific promotional tactics contributed to the online traffic boost. Here are a few sample metrics:


Cumulative views on how-to pieces:

Articles with embedded videos: 4,407

Stand-alone YouTube videos: 1,061






SAS-owned social channel engagement:


We sprinkled promotions from corporate and user-focused social channels for months following the community relaunch date of Sept. 8, 2015. From Sept. 8 through Dec. 31, 2015, here are a few promotion results.


  • 137 posts
  • 940 engagements (709 likes, 13 comments, 218 shares)
  • 282,500 account followers


Sample comments:


1. A quoted active member retweeted and pointed to specific SAS product board:




2. Same member replied and cited tagline, Find. Ask. Share:




3. One update received a technical question from a SAS user:




4.  Supporting visuals: Please include any supporting visuals/graphics into your above answers. Insert them into your text copy, so we’re clear on desired positioning of the graphics. We will accept videos for this entry. All videos must be submitted as publicly viewable links on YouTube or Vimeo.


Answer #2 includes links to external promotions, such as community articles with embedded videos. In addition, here are direct YouTube links to the videos:


SAS Support Communities: YouTube playlist of all introduction videos


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Lithium Alumni (Retired)

@SASTeam -- you guys are pros and promotion and engagement evangelists.  Great entry and examples shared.  Wish your team lots of luck -- can't wait to see you all in a few weeks!




Love being part of the SAS community and using the new Lithium platform. It is a great way for members to post, share, collaborate and network.


The new SAS Communities platform rocks!