B-to-b marketers used innovation and determination to achieve corporate goals in 2003. While the economy started to bounce back this year, most marketers were working with smaller budgets and had to do more with less. For its third annual Marketer of the Year report, BtoB selected 10 marketers who represent the best thinking in b-to-b marketing across a range of industries, including computing, financial services, traditional manufacturing and business services. Some, such as eBay, launched new businesses, and others, such as General Electric Co., rolled out major repositioning campaigns. Nominations were submitted by BtoB staff, readers and industry experts, and marketers were selected for this report based on their outstanding performance in marketing, advertising, strategy and results.
CMO, General Electric Co. BtoBâs Marketer of the Year, 2003
All in all, itâs been a pretty good year for Beth Comstock. In July, she was promoted to chief marketing officer for General Electric Co. She is the first to hold the title in a decade.
The appointment came on the heels of Comstockâs role in leading the launch of a new advertising campaign for GE. Featuring the tagline âImagination at work,â it replaced the iconic âWe bring good things to life.â
The ambitious campaign, developed by BBDO, New York, includes TV spots that promote GE Aircraft Engines with a scenario that shows a jet engine strapped to the Wright Brothersâ airplane. Thereâs also a spot for GE Medical Systems that shows how the company contributes to the quick retrieval of medical records.
The campaign and Comstockâs promotion signal a renewed commitment to marketing at the company, which was acknowledged as a pioneer in b-to-b marketing in the 1950s and 1960s.
Under chairman-CEO Jeffrey Immelt, who started out in GEâs marketing department, the company has reinvigorated its marketing discipline. âThere seems to be a revival of marketing; companies are coming back to marketing,â Comstock said.
This renewed commitment to marketing is not being pursued simply to create warm feelings for the company. GE is out to achieve real business goals.
First, the campaign promotes GEâs b-to-b units such as GE Aircraft Engines, GE Medical Systems and GE Plastics. âWe wanted to give people the sense that weâre more than just an appliance and lighting company,â Comstock said.
Second, the company wants to be perceived as innovative and not simply as the financial juggernaut that famously met its numbers quarter after quarter, as it did under former CEO Jack Welch. Preliminary internal research on the campaignâs performance indicates a growing perception of GE as an innovative company, Comstock said.
Third, GE, a powerful U.S. presence, wants to begin replicating that standing around the world. The âImagination at Workâ campaign rolled out this year in Europe, and next year it will begin appearing in Asia.
GE, which broadcasts the Olympics through its NBC division, has agreed to become a sponsor of the International Olympic Committee. The sponsorship goes into effect in 2005, when GE will be permitted to use the Olympic rings in its advertising.
Comstock said 2003 marks only the beginning of GEâs effort to get the most out of its marketing potential. âWe think weâve still got a lot more to do,â she declared. âWeâre not where we need to be yet.â
Those may be frightening words for GEâs competitors. âSean Callahan
VP-worldwide advertising, IBM corp.
IBM Corp., which announced its âe-business on demandâ vision in the fourth quarter of last year, had a big job in 2003: communicating that vision to the world.
âWe saw a whole new wave of computing on the horizon, and we wanted to get in front of it,â said Lisa Baird, VP-worldwide advertising for IBM.
IBM e-business on demand is a strategy introduced in October 2002 by IBM CEO Sam Palmisano. It encompasses hardware, software and services to meet the requirements of an on-demand world in which businesses can anticipate customer needs before they arise and respond immediately.
âIn 2003, we launched what was probably the most integrated marketing campaign IBM has ever done,â Baird said.
â2003 was about setting the IT agenda, educating customers, and targeting different solutions and offerings by industry.â
The campaign for e-business on demand was created by IBMâs agency, Ogilvy & Mather, New York. It included TV, print, online, direct mail, outdoor, e-mail and events. The budget was not disclosed.
One of the key marketing strategies was the development of âindustry roadmapsâ for vertical industries, which defined how businesses could create the infrastructure and services for on-demand solutions, Baird said.
IBM used print, online and sales collateral to communicate these roadmaps to industry segments such as retail, automotive and banking. For example, it ran inserts in trade publications and ran an online campaign that linked to downloadable white papers.
IBM also developed an innovative media strategy for âCan you see it?ââa creative execution for e-business on demand that launched last spring.
The print campaign broke in The Wall Street Journal with âroadblockâ advertising, in which an advertiser buys up a large block of space to gain attention. IBM ran ads on the back pages of four sections in the Journal, one for each of its software divisionsâLotus, WebSphere, Tivoli and DB2.âWe really tried to be innovative in our use of media,â Baird said. âKate Maddox
Lorrie Paul Crum
VP-Corporate Communications, Parker Hannifin Corp.
Lorrie Paul Crum, VP-corporate communications at Parker Hannifin Corp., had a big challenge in 2003: Launch a major branding campaign in a down economy with a cut marketing budget.
Crum combined research and risk-taking to launch the manufacturerâs first-ever TV campaign, developed by its ad agency Brokaw. Both companies are based in Cleveland.
âIn 2003, the greatest challenge was the economy and how to allocate resources for maximum impact,â Crum said.
With a marketing budget that had been cut roughly 5% from the previous year, Crum had to find a way to reach the companyâs target audience of engineers who use its motion and control systems in manufacturing.Traditionally, the company had advertised in trade journals such as Design News, Machine Design and Diesel Progress. It also advertised for its various divisions rather than at the corporate level.
âWe decided to go to a place none of our competitors was usingâcable TV,â Crum said.
Working with Brokaw, Parker Hannifin conducted extensive research on its core audience of engineers to determine how they perceive themselves and what media they consume.
Brokaw developed a humorous campaign with the tagline âAnything possible.â It showed how engineers are inspired to create products from unexpected life situations. The campaign ran on cable TV shows including The Learning Channelâs âJunkyard Wars,â History Channelâs âModern Marvelsâ and CNBCâs âSquawk Boxâ and âBusiness Center.â
The campaign also included print and online ads, with a total budget of about $10 million. One of the most successful elements was a viral marketing effort that used an e-mail postcard carrying the message of the campaign.
âFor a company with mostly engineers, this was a pretty out-there proposal,â Crum said.âWe were able to do something unique and then measure it.â
The response has been overwhelming, Crum said. So many engineers have written in thanking Parker Hannifin for noticing them, she said, the company made T-shirts and mugs with the campaign tagline and sent them to customers. âKate Maddox
Mike Delman General Manager-Advertising and Events, Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft Corp. had an aggressive product rollout schedule in 2003, launching Windows Server 2003, Office System and many other products for its seven business groups. Not only that, it wanted to reshape its image from a company driven mainly by profit to that of a good corporate citizen.
Helping direct the marketing effort for these ambitious projects was Mike Delman, Microsoftâs general manager-advertising and events.
âWe were trying to change the perception [of Microsoft],â Delman said. âA lot of it had to do with addressing concerns about just being a profit company.â
To do this, Microsoft launched a corporate branding campaign with the tagline âRealizing Potential,â created by McCann-Erickson San Francisco. The campaign showed how Microsoft helps people realize their potential, and it succeeded in dramatically shifting perceptions about the company, Delman said.
Another major marketing effort was repositioning Microsoft Office System software around collaboration, using a campaign titled âGreat moments at work.â While the effort began this year, âReshaping how people do information work day-to-day will be a five-to-10-year initiative,â Delman said.
Microsoft launched Windows Server System 2003 with a campaign titled, âDo more with less,â and the Windows XP Tablet PC, a pen-based laptop computer with a tagline of âTablet PC. Itâs the PC, evolved.â
Delman said another big goal for the year was strengthening Microsoftâs commitment to its developers. It did this with a campaign for Visual Studio, plus new developer advertising in 20 countries and a Professional Developer conference that took place at the end of October in Los Angeles. Delman said it was the most successful developer conference in Microsoftâs history, despite the fires that were blazing throughout the region at the time.
He said one of the most challenging aspects of his job is the global extent of Microsoftâs advertising. Although it reaches 29 countries, all advertising is managed out of Redmond, Wash., and coordinated through McCannâs San Francisco office.âThat is a big challenge,â Delman said. --Kate Maddox
Jay Fiore Director of Marketing, eBay Business
Jay Fiore, director of marketing for eBay Business, had a huge challenge in 2003: He had to convince businesses that eBay is a legitimate source for buying and selling business products, not just Barbies and Beanie Babies.
In January, the online auction site launched eBay Business, a subsite that links buyers and sellers in vertical industries including restaurants, metalworking, office technology, and test and measurement services. It was backed by a massive marketing effort led by Fiore.
âAwareness of eBay as a source for business items was very, very low,â Fiore said. âAnother major challenge was the uncertainty among small-business buyers about making large capital purchases on eBay, and fear about buying mission critical equipment from people they didnât know.â
eBay hired Slack Barshinger as its advertising agency of record and launched a major campaign in March to communicate its message to small-business owners.
The multimillion-dollar campaign included print, direct mail, online and e-mail. The key selling point was testimonials from business owners who talked about how eBay helped them save hundreds of thousands of dollars on business purchases.
Print ads ran in trade publications including Test and Measurement World, Modern Machine Shop and Entrepreneur Magazine.
âWe realized if we were going to address those concerns about buying on eBay, we needed to leverage their peers and the trusted business media they turn to,â he said.In May, eBay rolled out a marketing campaign to more vertical markets, including agriculture, construction and MRO (maintenance, repair and operations), featuring more testimonial ads.
EBay also used events as part of its marketing strategy. For example, in October it exhibited at the Sunbelt Agricultural Exposition in Moultrie, Ga., to promote its agricultural marketplace.
âFor small-business people, itâs not just about savings, itâs about realizing their dreams,â Fiore said. âKate Maddox
VP-Communications, United Technologies Corp.
Brands such as Carrier, Otis, Chubb, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and Hamilton Sundstrand are well recognized in the b-to-b world. But the $28 billion company that runs them, United Technologies Corp., doesnât ring many bells with the casual business observer.
âItâs a quiet powerhouse of a company,â said George Jamison, VP-communications for Hartford, Conn.-based UTC. âUnder a relatively calm and quiet faÃ§ade, thereâs quite a bit going on.â
Jamison, who joined UTC last January, has spent much of his time building greater awareness of the company behind the well-known brands. âAll our business units were there at the birth of their respective industriesâranging from elevators to helicopters to fire and security systemsâand remain leaders,â he said.
Working with the marketing managers for each of the brands, Jamison initiated a major branding campaign this year to demonstrate the brandâs strengths and showcase the whole that is UTC. âIt had been a long time since UTC had launched a broad campaign with a cohesive approach, look and feel,â he said.
The campaign, dubbed âThis Is Momentum,â was created by New York-based agency Doremus and included ads in Barronâs, Bloomberg Markets, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, as well as alongside the stock market scrolls on CNBC and Bloomberg TV. Additional ads aimed at the investment community appeared on billboards and posters throughout midtown and lower Manhattan, including the Wall Street subway station.
Jamison also wants to raise the bar for his marketing organization across the board. âWeâre doing a lot of different things,â he said. âFor instance, I brought in faculty from the Darden School of Business to put every communicator in our company through its âPossibility Thinkingâ [management training] course.â
He and his team have also beefed up UTCâs Web site by making it easier to navigate and adding some impressive bells and whistles. âYou can even ride our newest Sikorsky helicopter online,â he said, referring to an online demo. âRoger Slavens
VP-Director, Corporate Marketing Group, Intel Corp.
Pam Pollace has a message for corporate computer users: Itâs time to break the bonds of wired Internet access that can trap you in your offices and cubicles.
As VP-director of Intel Corp.âs corporate marketing group, Pollace is leading the charge to introduce the working world to the companyâs new Centrino technologyâa package of microprocessor, optimized chip set and integrated wireless LAN software built for mobility, extending battery life and allowing for thinner and lighter computer designs.
âCentrino continues Pentiumâs legacy of being the best ingredient brand in the computing world,â Pollace said. âAnd itâs my ongoing job to create excitement in audiences that havenât yet experienced or fully embraced wireless computing. I want to give everyone that âaha!â moment of realizing how liberating it can be.â
Under her direction, Intelâs âUnwiredâ campaign for Centrino has been a tremendous success of marketing integration. It was launched on March 12 with events around the globe and was bolstered by a major ad effort in print, TV, online and outdoor media created by Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners, New York.
On Sept. 25, Intel sponsored âOne Unwired Day,â a promotional event that allowed notebook users to enjoy a free trial of public wireless Internet access at more than 5,500 Wi-Fi sites across the U.S. The company also partnered with Zagat Survey to produce a mini-guide inserted into The New Yorker that identified more than 50 âWi-Fi Hotspotsâânamely restaurants and hotelsâin Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle.
The marketing has helped position the company at the leading edge of computing technology, driving customers to choose laptops that have Centrino components, Pollace said.
Moving forward into next year, Pollaceâs goal is to continue telling the story of how Intelâs Centrino technology improves productivity and convenience. âRoger Slavens
Richard Quigley Senior VP-Global Advertising and Brand Management, American Express
American Express Corp. set out this year to broaden the reach of its Open: The Small Business Network, a program that debuted in 2002.
Its initial integrated campaign for Open had established American Express' value to small business owners, said Richard Quigley, senior VP-global advertising and brand management at American Express. Ogilvy & Mather, New York, developed the campaign, which featured direct marketing, print, TV, radio, outdoor and online components.
American Express continued to use the same media channels this year but "also wanted to really break through to these business owners, who are very busy and time-pressed," Quigley said. Participation in two broadcast programs this year has helped it achieve that: Open Dialogue, a radio ad program, and "The Restaurant,â an NBC reality-based TV show.
Open Dialogue is a series of two-minute segments on radio stations in seven cities. The spots feature small-business owners discussing issues that affect them and suggesting solutions.
"They are real questions, with real responses, from real business owners," Quigley said. One to three customers are featured in each spot, which change from week to week. The commercials drive listeners to a city-specific Open Dialogue Web site for more information. For example, the radio ad that runs in San Francisco urges them to access www.opensanfrancisco.com.
"The Restaurant" was a reality show that ran last summer and featured celebrity chef Rocco DiSpirito. Quigley saw it as a perfect opportunity to promote Open. "Rocco was going to be opening a small business in real time in front of America,â he said.
In addition to running three 30-second spots on the program each week, the American Express brand was embedded in the show's storyline.
"For example, Rocco might be having a cash-flow problem," Quigley said, and the show featured him calling American Express to discuss lines of credit. It also employed traditional product placement, showing an American Express decal on the front door at the beginning of every show."We got better breakthrough with this than almost anything we've ever tried before with small businesses," Quigley said. âCarol Krol
Arun Sinha CMO, Pitney Bowes
Pitney Bowes set out this year with a lofty goal: to change the way people think about the 83-year-old company. Arun Sinha, chief marketing officer of the Stamford, Conn.-based company, was at the center of its advertising and marketing strategy.
To communicate its message, Pitney Bowes launched its first major branding campaign in 17 years, created by Ogilvy & Mather.
"Awareness [of Pitney Bowes] was low," Sinha said. Its image in the business community as a postage meter company was not aligned with its sophisticated capabilities in document management and mail management products and services, he said.
To reach C-level executives, Pitney Bowes spent $10 million this year on print, direct mail, online and outdoor advertising. Print ads ran in business publications including BusinessWeek, Chief Executive, Forbes, Fortune and The Wall Street Journal.
The campaign drove home the importance of accurate communications by featuring bungled versions of well-known sayings. One example: "Satisfaction guaranteed or your monkey back." The tagline of the campaign was "Engineering the flow of communication."
In June, Pitney Bowes launched an event marketing series called "Beyond the Envelope." These targeted events for C-level clients and prospects featured experts who discussed various challenges facing business leaders. The company also provided Webcasts of the events for prospective customers.
Other marketing efforts included direct mail and a custom-published magazine, Priority, featuring content about business management.
The marketing push appears to be working. Sinha said a brand-tracking study conducted by New York-based researcher Penn Shone and Berland revealed increased awareness of Pitney Bowes as a document management provider. While 16% of executives surveyed in February were aware of Pitney's capabilities, by June that number had jumped to 35%, and yearend numbers are holding steady.
"Our perception has changed," Sinha said. "I didn't expect this extent of movement. This says to me the campaign is working." âCarol Krol
Mike Winkler CMO, Hewlett-Packard Co.
As the first chief marketing officer in Hewlett-Packard Co.âs celebrated marketing history, Mike Winkler makes no bones about how the company has positioned itself against arch-rival IBM Corp. âWeâve established ourselves as that alternative to IBM that people want,â he said.
For HPâs enterprise market, the tagline is âDemand more.â Itâs one leg of a critical initiative overseen by Winkler that is known as Operation One Voice. The goal is to link messages to the companyâs disparate audienceâenterprise, small and midsize business, and consumersâthrough the value proposition âHP delivers more.â
HPâs internal research has found that One Voice is positively affecting enterprise customers. Even when businesspeople had seen consumer-oriented spots, HPâs enterprise was viewed, as being âeasier to do business with,â Winkler said, adding: âI think what happened is that every businessperson is a consumer, and most consumers are businesspeople.â
HP, of course, also has a significant enterprise advertising campaign, created by Goodby & Silverstein. Part of that effort is TV spots, but the heart of the campaign is a series of print ads featuring testimonials from CIOs, who, in the words of HPâs tagline, âDemand more.â âItâs no accident that for the CIO and enterprise customer, âDemand moreâ plays off IBMâs âe-business on demand,ââ Winkler said.
The approach appears to be paying dividends. In Interbrandâs ranking of the top global brands, HP jumped from 14th to 12th between 2002 and 2003.More important, HP boosted its net income to $862 million in the third quarter compared with $390 million in the same quarter last year. Additionally, HPâs enterprise segment, in a very tough tech market, returned to profitability. âSean Callahan