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BtoB's Best Marketers: Jonathan Becher, SAP

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Jonathan Becher, who has served as CMO of software company SAP for the past 18 months, is applying the company's tagline, “Run like never before,” to his own marketing organization. “I want to run marketing as a business,” said Becher, who was previously exec VP-marketing at SAP. “Sometimes marketing is viewed more as a service line of business, but we can now understand the ROI on everything we do,” he said, adding that he has created his own CMO Dashboard using SAP software, which he proudly shares with other CMOs. Another top priority for Becher this year was to shift the focus of SAP's marketing from selling to companies to selling to people. “Big glass buildings don't buy software—people do,” he said. “There is a somewhat arbitrary distinction we make as to the b-to-b marketing industry being different from b-to-c marketing. We want to use some of the techniques from b-to-c to sell to people.” In April, SAP launched an integrated campaign using TV, print, online and mobile called “Run Like Never Before,” created by Ogilvy & Mather, New York. SAP's previous campaign, “Run Better,” debuted in 2010 and showed how SAP helps businesses run better. “That ["Run Better'] campaign has done great for brand awareness,” Becher said, noting that SAP rose two places to No. 24 in Interbrand's Top 100 Global Brands report last year. “However, that didn't always mean that people knew exactly what SAP did. The "Run Like Never Before' campaign focuses on the things you as an individual can accomplish. It reinforces the shift from companies running better to people running better.” SAP also used this approach to transform its annual Sapphire users conference, putting its customers at center stage to tell their stories and crowd-source ideas. Becher, a huge advocate of social media, has a regular blog and is an active tweeter. “Social media is the ultimate listening platform, engaging with customers, listening to their concerns and using them as feedback,” he said. SAP has added more than 300 new features to products as a direct result of customer suggestions via social media.
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