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Pitney Bowes intelligently plots strategy for MapInfo

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To communicate its positioning of "location intelligence," while at the same time developing a broader brand campaign, Pitney Bowes MapInfo initiated an integrated marketing program including a white paper, webinar, cover wrap, direct mail and online ads aimed at C-level executives.

MapInfo, a 20-year-old company acquired by Pitney Bowes in April, provides software, services and data to help business executives make location-based decisions, including site selection, network planning, asset management and risk management.

About two years ago, MapInfo began working on a new positioning platform for "location intelligence," conducting research among its target audience of C-level executives. It also began working on a broader brand plan that would encompass all marketing communications.

"Anytime you do a brand plan, you do a high degree of research, focus groups, qualitative and quantitative analysis," said Reid Hislop, VP-marketing at MapInfo.

"During the research, there was a period of inactivity while collecting the data points, but also a high sense of urgency in getting the message out around location intelligence and its association with MapInfo."

MapInfo worked with its agency, Mobium Creative Group, Chicago, to develop an integrated campaign based on research conducted in partnership with BusinessWeek on the need for location intelligence and how businesses were using it.

"We wanted to take the survey results and put them into a meaningful context for C-level executives," Hislop said.

So the company authored a white paper about the survey findings and used different marketing tools to promote it, including a BusinessWeek cover wrap, direct mail, a webinar and targeted online communications. The cover wrap promoted the white paper and drove readers to a landing page with the survey results. It also promoted the webinar, co-hosted with BusinessWeek, featuring a MapInfo customer, a Yankee Group analyst and a MapInfo business partner.

The webinar featured a panel discussion on location intelligence and how it can be used to improve business decision-making. It was moderated by the author of the white paper.

MapInfo also used a dimensional direct mail piece, sent to 2,500 C-level executives in five vertical industries—retail, communications, financial services, insurance and the public sector. The mailing was a box containing one-half of a CD, indicating that without the dimension of location in their business analysis, executives were only seeing half of the picture. The piece was designed to drive users to the white paper to get more information on location intelligence.

Other tactics used to promote the white paper and the webinar included banner ads on BusinessWeek.com, Forbes.com, CNNMoney.com, MSNMoney.com, NYTimes.com, Wired.com and YahooFinance.com; e-newsletter ads in BusinessWeek, Forbes and New York Times products; and targeted e-mail blasts to BusinessWeek's C-level executive list.

The campaign exceeded expectations, Hislop said. It resulted in more than 3,000 white paper downloads, of which more than 70% were from C-level or senior management executives; more than 1,300 opt-ins to receive e-mail communications from MapInfo; and more than 200 registrations for the webinar.

Moreover, the campaign provided valuable information that MapInfo was able to use in its current brand campaign, which debuted in May.

"What we learned from this is that there is a high need for a white paper-like information source to help people understand location intelligence and the value it provides. We've been able to take advantage of that learning and incorporate that into visual elements in our overall brand plan."

The new brand campaign is called "Listen to Location," and is an extension of "Location Intelligence." It was also created by Mobium. The budget was not disclosed.

The campaign includes print ads in vertical trade publications targeting the retail, insurance and financial services industries; targeted direct mail; e-newsletters; and e-mail blasts.

It also will include cover wraps on six issues of Forbes this year.

"We went about it the right way in terms of understanding why people currently buy from MapInfo, what their understanding was of location intelligence and what their concerns were," Hislop said.

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