Years in current job: 2
Quote: "Our brand metrics all demonstrate and support our leadership in key segments, and we're winning with important customers, which is ultimately the best measure of our success."
Bill Archer, CMO of AT&T Business Solutions, has focused this year on continuing to move the company down a path of transformation, changing it from a classic domestic wire-line provider to a dynamic company with broader offerings. Marketing isn't just a part of that evolution, he said, it's at the center of it.
AT&T's mission, as Archer described it, is to bring the power of Internet technologies to customers and to harness the potential of mobility, making it easier for businesses to access content and key applications on any device, whenever needed. As part of that mission, the company has brought to market products and services including AT&T Telepresence, an immersive video collaboration service created in partnership with Cisco Systems; a cloud services offering for data storage; and digital signage products, Archer said.
Enterprise users in AT&T Telepresence-enabled rooms can view each other in high-definition video with life-size images. "We think this has the potential to radically shift how businesses function," Archer said. "It has terrific productivity benefits and is sensitive to environmental and energy consumption issues."
The cloud services offering turns information management and storage into a network service that is offered as a shared resource to business users of all sizes, Archer said. Users pay only for what they consume, he said, providing businesses that have unpredictable storage needs a more economical and flexible way to manage their capacity requirements.
"We think that moving IT functions to the network and making them communication utilities holds great promise for our customers," he said. "It will lower their costs, simplify their operations and improve their utilization of capital—and it represents a great area of growth opportunity for us as well."
As it rolls out new services and innovations, AT&T has found that using the technology to promote itself often is the most effective marketing tactic. For instance, with AT&T Telepresence, the company offers free trials. "We're inviting customers to have a meeting on us," Archer said.
It's also forging partnerships that will put its technologies in front of more potential users. In June, it announced a partnership with Marriott Corp. to provide Telepresence capabilities at Marriott properties in 25 locations around the globe, allowing business travelers to conduct meetings on demand. "That will have the benefit of creating a new class of user and drawing businesspeople to Marriott properties," he said. "It will expose more users to the technology, which will encourage adoption."
Also this year, AT&T has increased segmentation efforts and industry-specific marketing as a result of reorganization within the business unit (AT&T Business now delivers all AT&T services to business customers of all sizes from one unit). "That structural change has led to a set of segmentation efforts that have in particular really re-energized our small-business marketing activity," Archer said.
This summer, the company kicked off an integrated campaign targeting the small-business segment. —Mary E. Morrison