Case study: the big-picture strategy

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When network storage manufacturer EMC Corp. plans a new marketing campaign, the concept of integration is a major consideration.
EMC has a varied and extensive storage product line that cuts across many customer segments, from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. Still, EMC strives to tie all its advertising together, said Brian Fitzgerald, the Hopkinton, Mass.-based company’s director of global brand and communication strategy.

"We’re perceived as a hardware vendor, but we’re also delivering open storage [software] tools," Fitzgerald said.

Getting the message out about the entire EMC product portfolio and cutting through competitors’ claims comes first when planning a campaign, he said. Not surprisingly, this edict comes with several challenges.

Fitzgerald said the biggest challenge is sorting out which publications will pack the biggest print advertising punch.

Although there has been some consolidation in the trade magazine industry, there are still too many choices, he said. Currently, EMC advertises in The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, InformationWeek, eWeek, ComputerWorld and others.

EMC is focusing on outlets that deliver more than just one type of media payoff. For example, Fitzgerald looks for trade publishers that also can give EMC banner ads online and an outbound e-mail marketing campaign. Cost is a concern, Fitzgerald said, but even more important is sheer leverage. He would not reveal the company’s marketing budget.

Multistage campaigns are also useful weapons in EMC’s arsenal. For example, the company runs print ads that drive customers to the EMC Web site, where they can sign up for an online newsletter. Web-based software demonstrations, which let potential customers get hands-on experience with EMC products, reportedly bring 10,000 unique visitors to the company’s site each month.

So far, the strategy is working. Conversion rates for these types of campaigns have been right on target. Opt-in newsletters net conversion rates are as high as 5% to 10%, Fitzgerald said.

"We want to take part of the marketplace and surround it with messaging from every angle," he said. "We want the customer to see our message from as many venues as possible."

EMC also uses the Web as an advertising vehicle to keep in contact with current customers. And the company uses a powerful extranet to communicate directly with its high-volume customers. Clients get their own mini-portals so they can contact their sales team directly. The extranet is also used for disseminating information about new products, offerings and partnership deals.

Because its online and print campaigns have been so successful, EMC only uses TV and radio spots sparingly. "We looked at large branding ads on TV, and we do it; but we’re really focusing on trade publications," Fitzgerald said.

Trade show attendance has been down, so EMC has cut its presence at shows by 40%. However, it’s still doing a trade show per week, Fitzgerald said. "We’re looking for integrated marketing at the trade show level, too. It’s not just having a booth; we want a keynote or a speaking opportunity."

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