Hitachi Data Systems revamps Web marketing

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About 18 months ago, Hitachi Data Systems' director of Web marketing left the company. Sean Mattson took over in the interim, keeping his former title. His directive, he said was to increase organic search traffic and bring in a more relevant and targeted audience. “I wanted to prove to the company that I could change the way we did business on the Web,” he said. He had a few challenges to overcome. The company at the time was highly distributed – there are more than 30 in-language sites across the globe – and extremely siloed. There wasn't a lot of governance in place, he said, and they didn't have many tools in place to support its marketing efforts. “There were a lot of frustrated teams trying to figure out how to create a compelling experience,” he said. “We needed to explain ‘Here's the way we're going to target, and here's why. For me, it was about creating alignment and getting everyone on the same page.” Mattson, who was given the role of director of global Web marketing about a year ago, started by putting a few new programs in place. One of his first initiatives was a governance council, a panel that includes liaisons from different groups – channel group and integrated marketing communications, for example – to provide feedback and advice for anyone who wanted to implement a new Web program. “If someone wants to create a portal site, we'll bring them in and make sure it's following our high-level messaging,” he said. “What we're really trying to create is a unified program to curtail some of the siloed efforts that happen.” This is a huge task, he said, since through his team, 250 to 300 Web-related projects are managed per month, including launching a new Web page, building out some type of Web application or launching a new Web campaign. The governance council used information about keywords and phrases as well as other proprietary data that it gleaned from a deep analysis of how people were searching for and using Hitachi Data Systems' Web sites and resources. “There was a lot of analysis and measuring the results of every incremental change,” said Mattson. “We worked with stakeholders within the company, and once we had those results, educated the content contributors because we did see that there was a gap in the way they were presenting their products. We needed to get them to create more of a conversation.” This included teaching the stakeholders how to properly tag and mark up pages. Something as simple as putting a call-to-action in an SEO tag, he said, could reap big dividends. He also needed to get people thinking about their off-page strategy, too. “Things like making sure the videos are tagged correctly on YouTube and making sure we're leveraging social bookmarking knowledge-sharing sites are part of the horizontal strategy,” he said. “People tend to focus on specific keywords in Google, but there's so much more than just that.” Another important step in the company's Web evolution was the addition of a content management system, which launched this week in conjunction with an extensive Web redesign. “We eventually want to roll all the Web properties onto a single platform so we can automate everything, including workflow and asset management,” said Mattson. “This brings us in parity with the competition, and in some cases places us above them.” The content management system will take the localization work the company has done to date and make it even more cohesive. “We'll be able to deliver a lot more relevance and content in the local-language offerings we've got. Localization is definitely a big focus for us,” he said. A final part of this overall strategy: integrating e-mail marketing with the Web efforts. The company turned to ExactTarget and implemented its Online Marketing Campaign Management platform. That work has paid off already. Some parts and pages on the sites have seen a traffic boost of more than 100 percent; the average increase across the entire company Web site has been about 60 percent, he said. They're saving money, too. “It goes back to the highly distributed company with a decentralized budget model. We weren't reusing assets globally. We weren't going out and looking at how we could reuse elements that we knew were successful,” said Mattson.
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