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Jocelyne Attal, CMO, Avaya

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For more than a year, Avaya used case studies, interactive online videos and micro Web sites to keep its target audience updated on a major event it was helping plan. The occasion was the 2006 World Cup in Munich, and Avaya not only was a sponsor but also designed and managed the tournament's voice and data network. Over the course of 31 days, beginning June 8, Avaya hosted 16,000 customers, business partners and their customers at the Games and in the command center, showing them just how seamlessly its network operated.

Heading the effort was Jocelyne Attal, CMO of Avaya since 2004. "The challenge was: How do I leverage my name in a stadium so the 2 million people know who we are?" she said. "We wanted to be ready not only to have our name recognized but to speak to our target audience about what we were doing."

If the system had crashed, it would have destroyed a $100 million, five-year brand-building effort. But it didn't, and Avaya received the hoped-for buzz. The German public's awareness of Avaya catapulted to 26%, from 9% beforehand, and the company generated twice the number of leads it typically gets in three months.

Attal, whose background includes leadership positions at IBM Corp., Novell and Gateway Inc., isn't resting on her laurels. Each week, she studies the number of leads generated through marketing activities, the average value of the leads and the conversion rate. Sixty percent of her budget is earmarked for lead generation, with the remaining 40% for branding efforts. "We have to create 165,000 leads a year," she said. "It has to be an engine."

She currently is measuring the marketing mix to determine the best ways to reach the company's target audience, and has found that 99% of the people who influence or make decisions about Avaya work on the Web each day. Right now, 20% of the marketing budget—but 60% of the marketing activity—is centered online.

E-mail marketing and podcasts have been effective, but Attal has challenged Avaya's agencies, R/GA and Saatchi & Saatchi, to find a way for the company to communicate with potential customers while they are on the move with their cellphones.

Despite the success at the World Cup, Avaya does not plan to repeat its sponsorship at the next tournament in four years. The last sponsorship agreement was signed before Avaya was spun off from Lucent Technologies in 2000.

"The company is at another stage of maturity," Attal said. "The challenge is to get the World Cup visibility every day of the year. We have to go for an always-on buzz." —M.E.P.

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