BT utilizes Web site to open communication

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Problem: British Telecommunication plc, a 140-year-old telecommunication company, recently updated its solution and services from analog to digital to keep up with technological advances—but that wasn’t the only product that had to be reconfigured. Their new “digital networked economy” is expected to generate $17 billion dollars by 2008, but top sales executives feared that BT’s marketing group was “too fluffy” to obtain enough marketing information to generate expected sales. The company looked to redefine its marketing strategies to raise credibility by repositioning the brand, and lower the cost-per-touch by maximizing its CRM system. The changes created both business and organizational challenges, said Fiona Hennessey, Global Brand Program Director at BT Global Services. “From a business perspective, defending core revenues and growing new business amongst existing and new customers,” she said. “From an organizational change perspective, getting people mobilized and skilled to drive qualified leads into the sales channel by exploiting new technologies and doing things in a way that was different [from] how we had done things in the past.”

Solution: The advent, implementation and success of the Internet forced the company to analyze its marketing strategies. With the help of MarketBridge, a sales and marketing professional services firm, BT launched the BT Insights Programme a series of free, interactive Web seminars designed to provide consumers with the latest developments in the digital networked economy; revitalize the company’s image by closing the credibility gap; and seal the “black hole” between lead generation and sales. The 24-hour, interactive Web site features industry experts and specialists as they outline some of the opportunities and challenges the digital networked economy creates and talk through real-life case studies. The site opened the company’s lines of communications as a way to advertise their image to consumers. “Closing the credibility gap with customers was more about demonstrating how we understood their needs, and providing the relevant solutions to meet those needs,” Hennessey said. “When promoting our capabilities to customers, we always included relevant case studies and, in instances where it was possible, would have our customers present those case studies on the Web seminars to the customers we were targeting.”

 The new Web site was designed to not only be user-friendly, but also to improve metrics. The site monitors topic choices and viewing times of users and the information is fed to BT’s CRM system. Customers are then invited via email, direct marketing and telemarketing to an interactive Web site relevant to their interests. These online events reduce the cost of customer engagement. The program has contributed to BT’s bottom line by pushing its new image to the forefront while cutting costs and increasing efficiency.

Results: BT Insights redefined the way BT reaches its customers and it shows.  It has generated 417 more leads than last year, a 250 percent increase, with up to 73 percent of those closing. BT’s contract value has also had a 30 percent increase from prior years. This has improved BT’s revenue from $25 million in 2004 to $30 million in 2005.

While generating more sales, BT has also cut the cost of customer engagement. By offering the Web seminars online and cutting back on live events, the program has reduced the cost of running customer events between 24 percent and 77 percent.

Although “the Programme has now become business as usual within the U.K. - every marketing campaign follows the BT Insights campaign process to insure quality and consistency in delivery,”   Hennessey said. “The next steps are to grow the Insights Programme to become a global one. [This is] no easy feat when you consider the variety of customer cultures and nationalities that are found in the 170 different countries that BT services.”

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