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CDW research segments audience once, then twice

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Diane Primo
Title: VP-chief marketing officer
Company: CDW
Years in current job:
Quote: “CDW’s secret sauce is the relationships our account managers forge with their customers.”


For CDW Chief Marketing Officer Diane Primo, it all boils down to customer segmentation.

If CDW gains better insight into its customers, the technology seller can better manage contact with them and forge a bond through disciplined, one-to-one marketing, said Primo, who joined the company in June 2003.

She arrived at CDW just as the company had launched an estimated $12 million integrated marketing campaign that sought to build on the successes of the "Empathy" campaign of 2001 and "Fred the IT guy" of 2002.

Taking CDW's marketing to the next step meant demonstrating not only that the company understands its customers but that it is passionate about its work and willing to do whatever it takes to make customers happy. One ad shows a CDW worker training his fingers on a tiny obstacle course so he can configure systems faster. The program included TV spots, print ads in business and IT publications, e-mail, banner ads and e-newsletters.

J. Walter Thompson Technology, formerly DWP/Bates, Atlanta, developed the campaign with CDW.

"The fact [that] this campaign has had a long life span is a testament to the universality of the themes it portrays," Primo said. "The TV ads, for example, humorously depict our dedication. From there we can take those themes and pair them up with other elements, such as product-specific messaging, in other media, like print and online."

From there, the messages get much more pointed, based on marketing department research. CDW divides customers into three broad categories-business, government and educational institutions-and then further separates them by size and sends each subgroup a tailored marketing message.

"Marketing's job is to ensure account managers have the appropriate information to best communicate to their customers and meet their needs with a sense of urgency," Primo said.

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