$25 million campaign: Out from the crowd

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J.D. Edwards & Co. is a small fish in a big pond. But the lesser-known rival to Oracle Corp. and PeopleSoft is counting on a $25 million integrated marketing effort to generate sales and awareness in anticipation of its corporate branding campaign.

Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, Los Angeles, won the account last fall and launched print, interactive and direct work earlier this year. The agency urged J.D. Edwards to shift to more targeted media such as technology trade magazines instead of general-business titles for print ads, as well as industry-specific direct mailers.

The company's advertising historically was not highly targeted, and "it wasn't driving qualified prospects into the pipeline," said Ian Baer, exec VP-director of directDeutsch. Yet J.D. Edwards' business demands that monthly and quarterly sales goals be met. "There was not an opportunity to take time off to work on building the brand and not build the pipeline," he said.

synergy

Generating sales leads was critical, even before the corporate branding effort launches in the next six months. The company and Deutsch continually measure results of the direct effort and adjust creative, mailing lists and other aspects of the campaign accordingly. "There's definitely a tight synergy between sales and marketing," said Brian Ladyman, VP-demand creation at J.D. Edwards.

J.D. Edwards is the smallest of the "big four business-application vendors," behind Oracle, SAP and PeopleSoft, according to Yvonne Genovese, research director at market researcher Gartner. Although J.D. Edwards leads in the midsize market, it "is trying to move upmarket a little because that's where a lot of the money is ... and they do need to get some more brand recognition," she said.

The marketing materials include big-idea words and explanatory ideas relevant to each industry or product, instead of hyperbolic catch-all statements.

"The big phrases such as `software that powers the Internet' ... weren't really reaching people," said Josh Rose, senior VP-director of iDeutsch. Instead, J.D. Edwards' pitch to the energy sector, for example, includes an image of a gauge and the statement: "Gauge your state of reliability and we'll give you the means to do it better." J.D. Edwards is doing better as well, with conversion rates exceeding initial objectives. Roughly 60% to 70% of all leads generated by the marketing are initiated into the sales process, above the 55% to 65% target, Mr. Ladyman said. A mailing of personalized Compaq iPAQs including a mini commercial from J.D. Edwards' CEO to 44 executives resulted in 12 sales meetings in the first two weeks (see story at right).