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BtoB Top Marketer: Teresa Poggenpohl, Accenture

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Every time Teresa Poggenpohl strolls by Accenture's 7-by-10-foot touch-screen installation at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, she slows down to spy on the crowds, who are touching the screen, pulling up everything from live CNN news feeds to weather, sports and, most important for her, information about the management consultant's services. The excitement “hasn't abated,” said Poggenpohl, executive director-global image at Accenture, referring to the Accenture Interactive Network, one of two airport-based touch-screen installations put in place last year. The O'Hare unit alone had 1.2 million interactions last year, with 81% of people using it to look up weather forecasts. The other unit is in New York's Kennedy International Airport; a third is to be added in India in early 2009, mainly for recruiting purposes. Accenture's Technology Labs unit, which developed the medium, is preparing a relaunch of the existing screens next spring. While Poggenpohl wouldn't divulge details, she hinted that the new installations would deepen the types of on-demand content that can be accessed. It has to be “something that wows them and makes them think differently” of Accenture, she said. In the current economy, Accenture is having to work harder than ever to help its clients compete, and Poggenpohl, who's been with the $19 billion global management consulting and technology services firm since 1986, seems up to the task. Just last month, Accenture broke a new series of print, Web and TV spots in a campaign featuring three of its core capabilities: management consulting, IT consulting and outsourcing capabilities. Created by its agency, Young & Rubicam, New York, the ads keep the “We know what it takes to be a Tiger” theme, relating Tiger Woods' golf performance to being able to drive Accenture's customers high performance. The ads also appeared in a single-sponsorship of BusinessWeek's “Best Performers of 2008” issue in March. “We're doing very well selling this high-performance message in the marketplace,” Poggenpohl said. “We see this as a chance to tell a broader message.” Another way Accenture was able to tailor its message this year was through a series of ads aimed specifically at women. The campaign ran in general-interest publications, as well as business magazines such as ForbesLife Executive Woman. One ad shows a girl next to a chalkboard with mathematical equations and the headline “Accenture salutes the next generation of high performers.” The ads “dimensionalize our brand,” Poggepohl said, “and make [women] know that we understand what it's like to be a female executive.” Poggenpohl is also excited about an expandable Internet ad it started using late last year that allows users to pull up additional information, such as case studies, within the unit. The ads are running on sites such as WSJ.com, Fortune.com, Forbes.com and Economist.com. “We found from research that it's a very respectful way to deliver the content,” Poggenpohl said. “Brand engagement is a big focus for us...and the Internet is an additional way to get that brand engagement.” —Patricia Riedman
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