BtoB's Best Marketers: Dennis Frahmann, Sage North America

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For years, as they watched marketing dollars migrate to search engines, b-to-b media companies have argued that brand advertising expenditures could help the performance of paid search. Now, those media companies may have a case study as evidence to back up their claim. Last year, Dennis Frahmann, exec VP-corporate marketing at Sage North America, which sells business software to small and midsize businesses, conducted an experiment to see how advertising in traditional media impacted paid search marketing.

"We tracked that [brand spending] to online media, especially pay-per-click campaigns; and we have seen a strong correlation—especially with radio advertising— and what it does on our click-through rates," Frahmann said. Pay-per-click ad performance increased 10% to 20% in most markets that had brand advertising, and some markets saw improvement of about 70%, he said.

"We need to try to move this to a national program," Frahmann said.

This year, Sage rolled out a national branding program that features the tagline "A Sage business knows." The campaign includes radio, print, online and out-ofhome advertising. Radio spots are running on news and talk radio, primarily on networks such as Westwood One. The print ads are running in Bloomberg Businessweek, Entrepreneur, Fortune, Inc., The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the branding campaign targeted at prospects, Sage has programs aimed at its customers and employees. The company has a number of online communities that enable customers to query their peers about Sage software. The Sage ACT! Software product forum has more than 46,000 posts.

Sage, which has been built through acquisitions, has been holding small seminars of a dozen or so employees to build its brand internally. The sessions focus on inspiring employees to deliver an "extraordinary customer experience."

"I would say the overall story for Sage in North America is to build a much stronger brand, one that delivers an exceptional customer experience," Frahmann said.

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