BtoB Top Marketer: Lauren Flaherty, Nortel Networks

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For Lauren Flaherty, CMO of Nortel Networks, this year has been all about content. The company's marketing efforts have largely focused on providing valuable information to decision-makers, in the form of customer success stories and references, white papers and, most visibly, with the Nortel Energy Efficient Calculator (NEEC), an online tool that calculates the total cost of ownership of Nortel data networks, energy consumption and performance attributes, and compares those results with data about competitor Cisco Systems. To promote the NEEC, Nortel earlier this year launched an extensive integrated campaign that has included print, online, TV, events, search and social media components. The effort has really taken off, Flaherty said, because it speaks directly to customers' pain points. “It all comes down to the fact that we really grasped that content now is what differentiates marketers,” she said. “Instead of worrying about the creative of the advertising or the spend behind the advertising, [it's about] really hitting the marketplace with a well-integrated program, very quickly.” Since Nortel introduced the campaign, Flaherty said, conversion rates are three to five times higher. Most important, the number of sales in the pipeline has increased 20%. “We're seeing it in the way that counts most significantly, which is driving the momentum that we need to grow the business,” she said. Offering high-value information enabled Nortel to punch above its weight class, Flaherty said. “We are not a dominant spender in this category—far from it,” she said. “But it put Nortel in the dialogue because we had a message; we had real content; we had something of real value and could point people to the Web site and say, "Check it out for yourself.' ” Flaherty said she didn't hesitate to take direct aim at a competitor because with the market in a downturn and spending tight, all companies are fighting for share. “The environment we're in says buyers rule and marketers better show value and differentiation because, if they don't, they're out of the game,” she added. While traditional media such as print and TV were key to the energy campaign's success, newer channels such as blogging also played an important role, Flaherty said. —M.E.M.
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