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BtoB's Best Marketers: Christine Owens, United Parcel Service of America

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For Christine Owens, smart marketing is about sizing up what's going on in the world and seizing the right opportunities to show how United Parcel Service of America is a go-to logistics provider. Take, for example, the company's most significant marketing initiative of the year, its sponsorship of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. UPS handled logistics for the events, creating a temporary global supply chain to move 30 million individual items—from medals to starting blocks to athletes' luggage—to the event sites. “If you took the Olympic stadium and all the other venues and turned them upside down, everything that fell out except the people and a few horses was our responsibility,” Owens said. From a marketing perspective, the company used a U.K.-focused integrated campaign, which included a microsite, TV and radio spots, print and online ads, mobile, social and out-of-home, to highlight its contributions to the games. “So much of what we did took place behind the scenes, [so] we had to find innovative and compelling ways to tell our story to a broader audience,” Owens said. As part of a countdown to the games, UPS developed “UnBoxing,” a series of 30 video stories in which Steve Rider, a U.K. sports commentator, unboxed unusual items passing through the Olympic warehouses. UPS promoted the videos across online media and social channels. UPS has taken a similar cross-platform approach for its other campaigns, including one in support of the company's NCAA sponsorship that used TV, digital and social advertising to drive viewers to Facebook. “Facebook as a destination and platform enabled us to grow our fan base and gain significant earned impressions and reach from an audience very active in this medium,” Owens said. The company is expanding its sponsorship of collegiate sports with a new campaign that will use college football to communicate the message that UPS and logistics are the keys to winning, Owens said. TV and digital advertising will drive viewers to UPS social media channels and encourage sharing. The program will feature a UPS Team Performance Index that calculates a team's performance using such UPS brand attributes as speed, reliability and precision. The company is also developing an internal and external campaign to showcase its employees and how they make the world better. “The details of how we'll execute the campaign are still being worked through, but it's going to be a great program and we're very excited about it,” Owens said.
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