Sage campaign wisely hones in on small business

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HOW SAGE INCREASED ITS BRAND VISIBILITY Objective: Software company Sage North America, which sells business management software and services for small and midsize businesses, wanted to evolve from being a “house of brands” to being a “branded house.” Strategy: The company launched an integrated campaign in 2009 that included print and online ads, radio and out-of-home advertising. Results: Overall awareness of Sage increased 15% year over year. Sage North America is a provider of business management software and services for small and midsize businesses. The company's three divisions are Sage Business Solutions, which offers business management applications for accounting, enterprise resource management and customer relationship management, as well as industry-specific solutions for the construction, real estate and nonprofit verticals; Sage Payment Solutions, which provides merchant services for processing customer transactions; and Sage Healthcare, which provides business automation systems to medical practices. Over the past decade, the company has grown by acquiring software brands such as ACT! and Peachtree, said Kevin Jenkins, VP-group account director at Doremus, San Francisco, Sage's advertising agency. In an effort to strengthen its overall brand, Sage in the spring of 2009 launched an integrated campaign, dubbed “Sage Experience.” “Our primary objective is to turn what is a house of brands into a branded house and to build relevance and meaning for the Sage master brand,” Jenkins said. The campaign—which includes online, out-of-home and print ads, as well as radio spots—seeks to position Sage as a company that helps small and midsize businesses overcome challenges—such as managing cash flow, acquiring customers, understanding business performance and working more productively, while delivering an extraordinary customer experience. The campaign initially focused on the idea that Sage is dedicated to small and midsize business and has products specifically created for them, as opposed to such competitors as Microsoft Corp. that also serve enterprise customers. As the economy has slowly improved, the campaign has started to focus on how Sage can help customers gain traction, enjoying the full benefits of technology without having a formalized IT department, Jenkins said. “[Small and midsize businesses] recognize the value of technology going forward; they just don't have the time to troubleshoot problems or stay up with the latest and greatest,” he said. Rich-media banners ran adjacent to small and midsize business-focused editorial on websites for publications including WSJ., Black Enterprise, Entrepreneur, Hispanic Business and Inc. Print ads have run in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur, Forbes and Inc. Pre-roll video ads have also been an important part of the campaign, Jenkins said, running on sites that have video programming targeted at such small-to-midsize businesses as, and, and in closed-circuit media such as the CNN/Money Airport Network. Campaign results have been strong, and overall awareness of Sage has increased 15% year over year, Jenkins said. “People are not only aware of Sage but are understanding the full breadth of what their offering is,” he said. To date, 19 million impressions have been served online, and average page views per visit is 1.44, he said. Average time spent on the website is 202 seconds.
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