Years at company: 19, 5 in marketing
Years in b-to-b marketing: 2
Marketing philosophy: "I have a passion for the customer and I have to communicate that, both in a way that's entertaining and memorable." Finding out that your company doesn't even make a list of possible vendors is one way to send a wake-up call to top executives.
"We have a pretty solid reputation in this industry, and the prevalent feeling until now has been that building a company brand image with business-to-business advertising didn't bring anything directly to the bottom line," says David Goudge, VP-marketing of Boise Cascade Office Products. "But a survey our advertising agency did made us want to reconsider that approach."
The survey, which was sent to 200 companies, 100 of which Boise already did business with, found that the company's unaided brand awareness among non-customers was 30% to 35%. "I challenged the numbers," recalls Mr. Goudge. "I couldn't believe they were that bad."
Retail competitors, such as Staples and Office Max, had unaided brand awareness that was twice as high. "I said, `We've got a problem here,' " Mr. Goudge says. "For customers that know and love us, they'll buy from us because they trust us. But the problem is the 70% of the people that don't know us."
That point was underscored when a big, potential account came up for bid and Boise didn't even make the short list of contenders. "How could we have possibly missed out on an account worth into the double-digit millions?" Mr. Goudge says. "Maybe if they had read about us in The Wall Street Journal or another business publication, they would have known about us."
To raise its profile, the company earlier this year launched a new advertising campaign themed "Boise. It couldn't be easier."
The ads focus on specific ways Boise helps customers. In one, Ron in the shipping department appears with a box over his head; in another, Boise employees raise and support an executive sitting at his desk.
In a third ad, Boise literally sticks out with a sales rep sporting giant ears. "With Boise, you'll notice a difference right away," the ad says.
That ad was even noticed by Jay Leno, who on "The Tonight Show" asked his audience whether they'd seen it and then, says Mr. Goudge, quipped, "I'm glad they don't sell Viagra."
"You can't buy that kind of advertising and publicity," Mr. Goudge laughs. "We love the exposure."
For a modest $1.3 million campaign that's running in The Wall Street Journal and national editions of The New York Times, as well as in regional business publications and regional editions of major magazines, the extra attention certainly helps the company reach its target audience of corporate purchasing decisionmakers.
Mr. Goudge says his goal is to have unaided brand awareness grow by at least 6 percentage points. "I have a passion for growing this business," he says. "We're building our credibility one customer at a time."