F5 Networks makes call to ensure e-mail opens

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E-mail is a “huge” component of IT infrastructure provider F5 Networks' marketing plan. The company, which sells hardware and services to data centers and service provider networks, segments its database and generates a combined 11,000 to 12,000 leads per month from the more than 50 marketing campaigns it runs at any time. And because its prospects include both lower-level IT people as well as CIOs and VPs of IT, the company is willing to test new strategies, said Jeanette Geary, senior marketing programs manager at F5 Networks. “CIOs or director level and above are not interested in an e-mail nurture program; they want a peer-to-peer program or a direct touch,” she said. “They are not opposed to us sending e-mail, but how they are going to digest or learn is not going to be through e-mail.” So F5 Networks turned to Toronto-based guided voicemail provider Boxpilot to help get its e-mail programs a more receptive audience, said Kirby Wadsworth, F5 Networks' VP-global marketing. “Basically, this lets us reach out and leave a message on an executive's voicemail that says, "You're going to get an e-mail about something important, so when you get it, you might want to open it,' ” he said. F5 Networks used Boxpilot at the end of 2010 for a campaign promoting a series of four disaster recovery guides. The guides highlighted F5 Networks disaster recovery solutions including BIG-IP Global Traffic Manager, BIG-IP Link Controller and BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager. F5 Networks sent out e-mails and on the same day Boxpilot's call managers left pre-recorded messages for prospects on the list. The process was more than just an autodialer because the Boxpilot call managers—live agents—called each company asking to be transferred to the correct person's voicemail box. The process also allowed F5 Networks to clean its list because prospects who had left a company or had moved to a new department could be removed from the list and a new contact name added. The campaign also included a second follow-up call from telemarketing representatives. Overall, using Boxpilot to remind people to read their e-mail helped boost the response rate by 2%—no small achievement considering the cost of the F5 Networks' products. The extra personal touch definitely helps with awareness, Wadsworth said. “Even if the subject matter doesn't pique the person's interest, they get to know us and might have interest in something else down the line,” he said.
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