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By Published on .

Objective: In June 2007, Cbeyond was preparing to open a branch in Detroit, a city in which the Atlanta-based provider of integrated telephone and Internet services for small businesses had relatively low brand awareness.

“We needed to develop awareness [for our brand] quickly,” said Stein Soelberg, director of marketing communications. Because one-third of Cbeyond’s customers are acquired through references, there were two immediate needs: securing channel partners and gaining brand recognition among client prospects in Detroit.

Strategy: Cbeyond turned to its PR firm Arketi Group, Atlanta, to identify potential clients and key players in the market. Arketi was also tasked with helping the ISP increase its brand value in the local Detroit market.

In October 2007, the two collaborated on creating an integrated marketing approach for jump-starting Cbeyond’s market entry.

“We put together a whole campaign called ‘The Small Business Makeover Contest,’ ” Soelberg said. The Web-based contest, which was co-sponsored by Cisco Systems, offered $20,000 in Cbeyond services and technology to the winning small business.

Beyond the Web, Cbeyond worked with its Atlanta-based ad agency, Denmark the Agency, to release a full-page print ad in Crain’s Detroit Business and radio spots on WJR-AM and WCSX-FM to increase its brand awareness.

In addition to the makeover contest, Arketi developed an e-mail marketing campaign that targeted local chamber organizations and industry associations. The e-mails were sent out to more than 25,000 small businesses via e-newsletters using the organizations’ opt-in member lists. Finally, to help introduce Cbeyond to the community, then-Mayor of Farmington Hills Vicki Barnett and members of the media were invited to the launch event.

“What made this unique and powerful is that we had PR, marketing and advertising to all come together and create an event that funneled and focused all of our efforts into one area,” said Arketi Group principal Mike Neumeier.

Results: As a result of Arketi’s integrated marketing efforts, Cbeyond was able to recruit more than 30 channel partners in the Detroit area. “We had a 10% sales close rate on the businesses that entered for the makeover,” Soelberg said. In total, the contest generated more than $1.5 million in sales for Cbeyond and more than $600,000 for its key partner, Cisco.

The campaign also picked up a 2008 TAMY Award for technology marketing excellence from the Technology Association of Georgia.

Although Soelberg would not comment on the current state of specific branch offices, he said quarterly reports indicate the Detroit branch is continuing to do well. Indeed, the integrated marketing campaign has become a template for how Cbeyond approaches new markets.

“[The integrated campaign] helped Cbeyond become a local brand in the community rather than an outside brand just making a presence,” Neumeier said.

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