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BtoB's Best Marketers: Philip B. Clement, Aon Corp.

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Aon Corp. CMO Phil Clement is primarily known for leading the company's shirt sponsorship of soccer club Manchester United, a marketing deal reportedly valued at $130 million. Aon began sponsoring the world-famous team last year. For Clement, the deal's price tag has made perfect sense, because the sponsorship has served to unify a company built through more than 450 acquisitions in less than 25 years. The most recent high-profile deal was Aon's $4.9 billion acquisition last year of human resources consulting firm Hewitt & Associates.

The sponsorship not only brings together a company sprawled across more than 100 countries, it unifies event marketing around a single entity: Manchester United.

"It has surprised us with many more things than we had expected," Clement said of the sponsorship.

For example, Clement said he and other Aon employees now have easier access to the upper echelons of the corporate world. "I can cold call CEOs and invite them to matches," he said, noting those calls get answered. Customers accounting for about 10% of Aon's annual revenue have attended a Manchester United soccer match at the company's invitation.

Clement views Aon as a company with even more of a defined "purpose" after the integration of Hewitt, and that purpose is "empowering economic and human possibility."

"This is really the true character of the firm," he said. A key task now is communicating that purpose to employees, customers and prospects. Content marketing is one of the ways Clement plans to get this message across.

"I use the word 'CUTT,' Clement said, of his content marketing strategy. "For us to use content, it has to be: 1) compelling, 2) useful, 3) timely and 4) transactional, which is important. I want it to be all four. It has to be compelling, get people's attention. It has to be useful for our clients. It has to be timely, so they will look at it right now. People have a lot of information coming at them. And it has to be transactional; it has to be directly related to something you can buy."

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