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Laurie Tucker

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By some measures, Laurie Tucker, senior VP-global marketing, said, 2005 has been a saner year than 2004, when she rushed to develop a marketing strategy for a newly combined FedEx Kinko's.

The focus this year has been on integrating FedEx Corp.'s marketing message and using the right channels to get it to the right customers. And as a result, Tucker finds herself talking a lot about sports.

After testing NFL-linked marketing and sponsorship opportunities last year, FedEx this fall plunged into the sport with a fully integrated marketing message aimed at small-business customers. In addition to demonstrating its capabilities via television, print, online and direct mail, FedEx is hosting pregame events for customers at NFL stadiums. While customers are getting an autograph or two, they also learn about the different business services that FedEx offers. Similar events are being conducted for NBA games and PGA and NASCAR events.

"We ask our salespeople to be selective, to invite customers that they either are thanking the customer and they are building loyalty and retention or there is more business to be had," Tucker said. "We track every customer that's at [an event]. We track their volume before and after to see their business."

FedEx also surveys customers afterward to ask if they plan to increase their business with FedEx. The results have been promising.

"You'll see us do more of this because it's working," Tucker said. "We brought seven agencies together and said we want to take advantage of all the channels. Our agency people call it `surround sound.' "

Tucker's decision to have all seven of FedEx's agencies mount a coordinated campaign follows her belief that simply picking a few media streams wouldn't work in today's world. "We're a very attention-deficit society, so we hop from media channel to media channel," she said.

Tucker noted a particular upside of sports tie-ins, such as FedEx's successful NASCAR sponsorship this year of a Joe Gibbs Racing car: "Sports is one of the few broadcasts that don't get `TiVoed,' " she said.

Up next for Tucker, as the company expands its FedEx Kinko's chain, is understanding what those customers need in the stores.

Tucker began working at FedEx shortly after graduating from college. After her first role as a financial analyst, the Memphis native rose through the ranks, with positions in pricing, customer automation, Web site development and logistics before heading marketing. Tucker was also instrumental in the creation of www.fedex.com.

-Mary Ellen Podmolik

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