Intergraph ramps up marketing strategy with video

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With a budget that's less than 1% of the company's revenue, Intergraph Corp.'s marketing department has a lot to accomplish with limited resources.

The company, which used to be a hardware provider in the 1960s, sells engineering and geospatial software that helps design and construction customers turn complex data into visualizations. It has two divisions, Process, Power & Marine (PP&M) and Security, Government & Infrastructure (SG&I).

The company's customers, according to Patrick Holcomb, exec VP-business development and marketing at Intergraph, are “conservative.” They like to see proven results before acting, and don't like a lot of flash—more of a “just-the-facts” approach, he said. “Our marketing challenge is to provide good information and increase awareness of our products without being over the top,” he said. Additionally, sales cycles for the company can stretch to as long as three years since the complexity of the projects the company's software enables has increased recently. “It used to be our products were specific to certain countries. Now, we're looking at global execution of the products as well as an increasing project size,” he said. “A few years ago, $500 million was big; now, we define big as $25 billion.” Another wrinkle is that there are three distinct targets for the company's marketing message: decision-makers, influencers and users. The decision-makers are difficult to get in touch with electronically, so Intergraph is relying on the latter two groups to push awareness up the sales chain.

In 2008, Intergraph had a website, and that was the extent of its interactive marketing. “We had no YouTube, no Facebook, no LinkedIn, RSS feed or Twitter,” Holcomb said. “We didn't think our ultra-conservative customer base would be looking at any of those spaces. If you searched "Intergraph' on YouTube, there were two videos. One was a partner's and one was from our competitor.”

However, after careful analysis and research, the company decided that it needed a video strategy “The three most popular and commonly accepted sources of information on the Web are Google, YouTube and Wikipedia,” Holcomb said. “Our decision to increase video has resulted in increased search engine optimization, so that's the first reason: increasing our presence on two of the most popular Web research tools—Google (or search engines in general) and YouTube.” In March 2009 Intergraph introduced its first YouTube channel. A blog debuted in September 2009, and last May the company added online test drives, microsites and an interactive e-document series, all of which were supported by the YouTube videos, Holcomb said, which were “planted” wherever Intergraph could find additional “synergies.”

The videos are between three and four minutes long, and are linked directly to a microsite where you can get more information about Intergraph's software as well as product demos, a list of upcoming webinars and downloadable white papers. Topics of the videos include a discussion of how to use your software more effectively as well as customer case studies and product overviews.

The company wanted to get as many videos up as possible, setting an aggressive goal to add videos based on a 2008 Forrester report, “Video and Image Optimization,” that said videos are 53 times more likely to show up in search engine results than nonvideo content, Holcomb said. In 2009, Intergraph added 13 videos, which resulted in 17,600 views. Last year, the company managed to accumulate 35 videos that received more than 54,000 views.

Cross-channel promotion has made the biggest impact when it comes to increasing views, Holcomb said. For instance, Intergraph publicizes the videos alongside webinars and polling questions from the webinars to pique interest. “We've made a special effort to link [YouTube] videos and e-mail videos. We also embedded the videos on our own website and promoted them on the blog. We marketed our marketing,” he said. “We're surprised because video is really the gift that keeps on giving.”

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