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BtoB's Best Marketers: George Stenitzer, Tellabs Inc.

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Telecom equipment manufacturer Tellabs Inc. scores the highest Google rank for “Why 4G?” an important traffic driver for the company, which works with about 160 mobile operators. The best part is that it didn't buy those keywords. It pulled it off organically, leveraging its white paper titled “4G: The What, Why and When.” “This is about speaking the language the customer speaks,” said George Stenitzer, VP-communications at Tellabs, who oversees all marketing at the company. He said Tellabs analyzes feedback from its sales and product development teams and customer satisfaction surveys to pinpoint how customers phrase their inquiries. “It really takes intense listening,” he said. Tellabs' customers include such telecommunications companies as AT&T Corp., Telecom Italia, Telefonica and Vodafone, as well as many top Internet service providers and Fortune 50 companies, Stenitzer said. “We're spreading our wings into new areas, into government and large companies [that] need to have data pipes that are reliable,” he said. By surrounding its customers with content such as white papers, online videos, mobile content and social media, Tellabs has increased both soft conversions (views or sign-ups for subscriptions to newsletters) and hard conversions (leads turned into revenue-producing customers) in the past year. Last year, Tellabs' revenue outside North America grew 27%, to $636 million, the highest since 2000. Overseas revenue accounted for 49% of overall revenue, the highest share ever. Stenitzer credits what he calls “puffer fish” marketing—targeted, high-profile campaigns—for its expansion, enabling it to beat out larger rivals to win accounts such as BT and Telecom Italia. Recently it wooed two of the top three telecom service providers in Russia. It continues to court all three with customized marketing, including a Russian-language Tellabs site; promotions at Sviaz, a Russian trade show; and a Russian-language version of Tellabs' magazine. Stenitzer said the large size of the accounts makes all of the specialized marketing worth it. “It's like a love letter to a customer,” he said.
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