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ADP content campaign pays off

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Until it launched an integrated lead-gen campaign in October, payroll and human resources services company Automatic Data Processing had never run a digital campaign with trackable metrics. That all changed when it hired agency Stein IAS, New York, to develop an integrated campaign for its Workforce Now software product that was aimed at midsize businesses. “Prior to this campaign, ADP did not have systems in place to run a digital campaign we could trace,” said Jim Ferrauilo, head of brand management and advertising at ADP. “Our previous advertising had weak calls to action, lack of visual and message match from the advertising to the website, and we were not even using landing pages.” Last fall, ADP began a rollout of the fourth version of its Workforce Now human capital management software to the midmarket, which it defined as businesses with between 50 and 999 employees. “The objective was to build awareness and demand for ADP Workforce Now, being launched to midsize HR decision-makers, chief human resource officers and owners of midsize businesses with a strong HR component,” said Tom Stein, president-chief creative officer of Stein IAS. The agency began with research into workforce management issues facing midsize business owners. “The whole area of HR right now is sort of a perfect storm,” Stein said. “A lot of it is being defined by "Obamacare,' healthcare reform and advances in healthcare management. For HR decision-makers and practitioners, all of this brings with it a tremendous amount of urgency around managing complexity and taking advantage of opportunities.” The campaign strategy was to associate these customer pain points with ADP's Workforce Now solution, using a combination of paid, earned and owned media. The agency created thought-leadership content based on ADP's research into the top concerns of midsize business owners in a post-2008 economy; it then leveraged it in online display ads on websites of Forbes and The Wall Street Journal, as well as HR publications. It also created online videos, infographics and case studies, which ran on ADP's website and across social media channels. “From a qualified-lead goal and cost-per-lead goal, we had some rigorous KPIs [key performance indicators] we were looking to hit and exceed,” said Ted Kohnen, CMO at Stein IAS. Online ads and opt-in email, as well as radio spots, drove users to a landing page where they could download a white paper with more content about the research and business trends after filling out a form. Stein also created a retargeting program for people who visited the landing page but did not fill out the form. Those users were targeted with ads running on general-business sites such as those of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. “We could serve them up ads to drive them back to the landing page if they had expressed some interest,” Kohnen said. “Individuals who signed up to receive content from ADP became leads and continued down the waterfall.” He said the first wave of the campaign, which ran through mid-December, exceeded all lead goals. Then the campaign went dark over the holidays and was optimized for a second wave, which launched in early January. “Once [President] Obama got re-elected, everyone realized the level of compliance for healthcare reform would get more intense, so we optimized the campaign on the fly and restaged it as, "Are you ready for healthcare reform?” showing how the Workforce Now solution is tailor-made to help companies navigate healthcare reform,” Kohnen said. The second wave of the campaign featured a white paper on healthcare reform and was much more targeted, Ferrauilo said. “We refocused the entire campaign on five strategies to help navigate healthcare reform—specifically for midsize businesses. We did a lot of optimization along the way—pulling out elements that just weren't working—and the response rate went way up.” Ferrauilo said conversions on the landing page during the second wave went up by a multiple of five over the first wave. “We have never had the strength of this kind of campaign,” he said. “We had query strings [a tracking mechanism] on the individual banners and could demonstrate where the bulk of leads were coming from; we could look at which messages and which sizes were working. We had a deep level of optimization that wasn't shown before.” Moreover, being able to show the effectiveness of the campaign from an ROI perspective helped the advertising group internally, he said. “This gave advertising a seat at the table. Before, advertising was seen as an awareness play. This was all about demonstrating an ad campaign is something that will generate leads.”
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