BtoB's Best Marketers: Jonathan Becher, SAP

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Jonathan Becher, CMO at SAP, this year led the marketing group's efforts to redefine how SAP communicates its positioning to the market. “Over the past year, we have changed the way we talk about ourselves as a company,” he said. “It has always been "The best-run businesses run SAP.' In the last year, the essence has shifted to not just "Businesses run SAP, but "Life runs SAP.' ” The company rolled out new ads with this messaging, showing how SAP software is used not just by big businesses but by entrepreneurs and athletes. SAP used TV, print, online, out-of-home and events in its advertising this year. “Anyone who says events are dead or print is dead is missing the point,” Becher said. “These [media channels] are still quite healthy, depending on what audience you're trying to reach.” SAP officially added sports and entertainment as a new vertical industry this year—its first new vertical in “a long time,” Becher said, complementing its 24 existing verticals such as aerospace and defense, automotive, banking, healthcare, high tech and retail. “There is big business in the sports world,” Becher said, pointing to SAP customers such as the NBA, NFL, New York Yankees and San Francisco 49ers. In February, SAP and the NBA partnered to launch a new feature on that lets users get up-to-the-minute stats on their favorite teams and players. To date, these pages have had close to 20 million views. Another big project for Becher over the past year was marketing SAP HANA, an in-memory database product rolled out in October 2012. “Instead of just crowing about it ourselves, we asked our customers to tell us what worked,” he said. “We created a website at and let this experiment play out in the public eye, showing things that work and don't work.” The site features video interviews with customers, blogs, customer reviews, social network sharing and other collaborative tools. “Rather than trying to control the message from day one, we let our customers lead,” Becher said.
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