BtoB Top Marketer: Bill Archer, AT&T

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Bill Archer, CMO of AT&T's Business Solutions, oversees all marketing for the telecommunications giant's business segment, which encompasses traditional wire line services, mobility, voice and data, and Internet applications. The business segment generated nearly $40 billion in revenue for AT&T in 2006 (figures for 2007 were not available at presstime). “We are transforming AT&T Business from a classic wireline domestic focus to a more dynamic company that is in the business of providing IP services, mobility and application capabilities,” Archer said. “It is a much bigger market—a much richer set of offerings—and much more aligned with helping companies really succeed in a fast-paced competitive environment on a global basis.” To communicate this positioning to businesses, Archer this year has employed a variety of marketing tactics, from mass advertising to viral marketing efforts. AT&T continues to use its integrated campaign, “The Internet Can't Hide Anymore,” developed by BBDO New York and BBDO Atlanta. The campaign, including TV, print and online, is aimed at mobile business professionals who need to access critical business information wherever they go. Featuring veteran news reporter Bill Kurtis, the spots show the journalist reporting from remote locations, using an AT&T Laptop Connect Card to access presentations, spreadsheets and other business data. In addition to traditional marketing, “we are also trying to use more diverse techniques. For the first time, we used YouTube to create an online campaign tapping into viral marketing,” Archer said. The campaign, promoting a new AT&T service called Digital Media Solutions, was aimed at companies that are delivering video and other rich media content over the Internet. “This is not something that is instantly identified with AT&T, so we tried a new venue to do the marketing, which also relates to the service,” said Archer, a 27-year AT&T veteran. The videos, which AT&T used in online banners and on YouTube, featured humorous scenarios of how content providers were using the service, then drove users to AT&T's Web site to find out more. Archer said AT&T is also using other nontraditional marketing programs to demonstrate its technologies to business customers. “We are beginning to use some of the technologies and services that we are building campaigns around to actually market themselves,” he said. For example, AT&T recently partnered with Cisco Systems to provide AT&T Telepresence, a high-definition video collaboration service. AT&T uses the technology during meetings with clients so they can experience it before making purchase decisions. It also provides on-site demonstrations and free trials. —K.M.
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