Business Objects reaches C-suite with focused content, online tools

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Business Objects, a business intelligence software company, is reaching C-level executives by creating communities of interest that turn the spotlight on industry research, news and trends through online content and in-person events.

The company, which provides performance management software and data visualization tools, has five primary target audiences: CIOs, CFOs, CMOs, line-of-business heads and developers.

"We have a very focused audience marketing model," said Franz Aman, VP-corporate marketing at Business Objects. "We really understand who our key audiences are, and we are laser-focused on them. It is not about awareness with the masses."

In fact, Business Objects does very little advertising, instead using targeted online tools and one-on-one events to reach the C-suite.

"We haven't seen the ROI on the advertising side," Aman said. "Spending that money in a more targeted fashion is giving us better results."

The company recently introduced two online communities—CFO Spotlight and CIO Spotlight—which feature articles, white papers, industry research, case studies, benchmarking data and webinars on subjects relevant to those audiences.

This month, Business Objects will roll out a new Spotlight for the CMO/CXO target audience.

"We are using the publishing model to create affinity—creating a virtual place where interesting information and interesting people occur," said Courtney Buechert, president of Eleven, San Francisco, which helped develop the communities.

The content is available to subscribers on microsites and through permission-based newsletters.

In addition, there are collaborative tools that facilitate posting commentary on articles and sharing data on benchmarking studies.

"The online communities provide the ability for folks to get to know each other, to collaborate and discuss their pain points," Aman said.

"We tackle regulatory issues and topics that people have a lot of passion around, such as compliance issues and regulatory requirements."

In addition to online communities, Business Objects hosts in-person C-level events. These smaller, networking events, which are also branded CFO Spotlight and CIO Spotlight, focus on issues of concern to financial and IT executives.

"It's about helping them understand trends—and also about helping us understand them and what keeps them up at night. These are relationship-building events, working through actual problems," Aman said.

The events incorporate a mix of customers and prospects, in addition to Business Objects' CEO, executive staff, members of its board and other senior executives.

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