Special Report: Integrated Marketing Success Stories

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Special Report: Integrated Marketing Success Stories

The best marketing campaigns reach the target audience with right-place, right-time exactness. These campaigns use knowledge about prospects’ likes, dislikes and habits to rise above the din of competitive messages. They give marketing teams enough feedback to learn from their mistakes and tweak as they go along. And, most important, they provide a measurable return on investment.

BtoB sifted through dozens of case studies to find some of the best examples of recent b-to-b integrated campaigns. The three we chose offer best-practices examples that all marketers can use. IBM Corp. took a creative risk that paid off with its $110 million "Codernaut" effort. Dell Computer Corp.’s education and healthcare division’s "Funnel Project" used multiple media to drive prospects to one central information-gathering place—its Web site. And MeadWestvaco revitalized a struggling brand by renaming and repositioning it.

Dell's 'Funnel Project' targets health care, education markets

By Carol Krol

True database integration is a pipe dream for direct marketers who struggle with legacy systems and slim technology budgets. Not so for Dell Computer Corp.’s Education and Healthcare division, which achieved that in an integrated campaign launched last fall. The effort has centralized the division’s customer data in one place and set the standard for other b-to-b sectors of the company, which has traditionally taken a decentralized, direct sales approach to sales and marketing.

Dubbed the Integrated Demand Generation Plan, or "The Funnel Project," the campaign featured e-mail, direct mail, events and a monthly electronic newsletter. The idea was to drive customers from multiple channels to one place—the company’s Web site—and to collect, store and analyze the customer data there.

Tocquigny, a boutique direct and database shop that has worked with the Dell division for more than a decade, came up with the potent mix of media elements for the target: small and midsize businesses.

Valerie Hausladen, VP-account planning at Tocquigny, said Dell’s salespeople handle the division’s largest customers. But because it isn’t cost effective to target smaller businesses with individual salespeople, Dell needed a way to tap the potentially lucrative small- and midsize-business market.

At the same time, Dell and Tocquigny needed to step lightly in order to avoid interfering with sales that might already be in process. "If the sales staff was already in the middle of negotiating a deal, they didn’t need help from marketing," Hausladen said.

Hence, the plan used marketing to mimic a salesperson’s efforts for about 50,000 potential clients in the higher education, K-12 education and health care fields.

Dell began the process last September by collecting potential small-business names through channels such as direct mail, trade shows, telemarketing and permission-based e-mail. The company used various incentives to drive those leads to the Web, where it could qualify the names and gather more information.

Tocquigny initiated an automated process to track and measure the results of the marketing effort, which enabled it to identify recipients’ specific job functions so that each could be tracked to determine where the best responses originated. If a school’s dean doesn’t respond well, for example, perhaps the dean of academic computing would be the better target.

"It’s really based on knowing the customers and building on that learning," said Hausladen, who was marketing director at Dell prior to joining Tocquigny last year.

Bob Gutermuth, senior manager-education & health care marketing for Dell Computer Corp., said that by using an integrated approach, "you can measure not only how [different marketing tools] perform on their own but also how they perform against each other and affect each other."

Gutermuth said many companies’ customer relationship programs fail because their vision is too big. "Biting off more than you can chew sets you up for failure," he said. "If you have more manageable successes, they can be adopted throughout other parts of the company, as long as you build [your program] in a way that is scaleable. "

Dell’s campaign has been so successful that it is considered a "best practices" model for all of the company’s b-to-b marketing. Dell signed up more than 5,000 new accounts since September as a result of the campaign, and it now handles a significant amount of its ongoing customer contact through e-mail and its Web site. In addition, direct mail garnered a 3.4% response rate, while targeted e-mails averaged more than a 12% response rate.

MeadWestvaco rebrands paper with simple, consistent message

By Carol Krol

It’s tough to build awareness of a commercial paper brand whose name is less than memorable. So when Evadale, Texas-based Inland Eastex hired Chicago-based Mobium Creative Group in 1998 to generate excitement about its product, then called TexCover, it started by renaming the brand Tango. Now owned by paper giant MeadWestvaco, the brand has experienced significant results since the relaunch, thanks to an integrated marketing approach built on a simple, consistent message.

The paper’s original brand name, TexCover, came from "Texas" and "cover stock," hardly a positioning statement. In fact, the name was confusing, given that in the paper industry there are both text paper and cover paper products.

Renaming the brand, which now generates roughly $80 million in revenue, started with its users. Mobium polled commercial printers and paper distributors to find out what was important to them in a cover stock, a paper type typically used for postcards, greeting cards and pocket folders.

"We wanted to get a sense for what customers wanted," said Bob Goranson, partner, account strategy and planning at Mobium.

Their answer was simple: performance. That uncomplicated response drove the distinctive name invoking a flashy dance form and an original positioning tagline, "Tango. Always Performing."

A series of print ads, which feature dated, "colorized" photos of performance artists and tango dancers, launched in 1998 in printing trade publications such as Graphic Arts Monthly and Printing Impressions. They were designed to create broad brand awareness. One ad featured a father and son fire-eating team and the accompanying copy: "If you like a little excitement now and then, don’t use this paper." While the imagery was attention-getting, the idea was to assure potential customers of the paper’s quality, consistency and reliability, allowing them to "breathe easier" by using Tango.

Print ads pointed potential customers to the brand’s Web site ( and an 800 number they could call for information on merchant locations or to request "swatch books" of paper samples. Next came direct mail postcards targeting midsize printers (based on number of employees), with an offer of the swatch book.

"The various elements of the campaign needed to be employed in such a way that they served to move the prospect along the purchase path," Goranson said.

Sales literature printed on Tango paper, which included brochures and the swatch book, was mailed to interested printers, providing specifications and more detailed order information. Meanwhile, a version of the brochure was posted on the company’s Web site, giving customers another avenue to request either pre-cut samples or direct contact from a salesperson.

Finally, Mobium organized formal training for the manufacturer’s employees and salespeople to understand the brand’s positioning. "They needed to be able to take it out and talk about it in the marketplace," Goranson said. Updates on the campaign theme continue to roll out in various media.

The Tango campaign has received accolades and generated consistent revenue increases, as well as volume increases, year over year.

"It’s been a very positive program to date, especially considering the level of money we’ve put into the project," said Marc Tannenbaum, manager-marketing at MeadWestvaco. "It’s been a closely budgeted program, and I think we’ve gotten significant bang for the buck based on the money we’ve spent."

Revenues increased 27% the first year, 34% the second year and 18% in 2000. The 2001 increase, though much more modest (1.3%), occurred in a product category down 14% overall for the year, according to Mobium. Tonnage sold, meanwhile, increased 74% to 77,100 in 2001 vs. pre-campaign numbers. In fact, in the first few years of the campaign, tonnage increased by double digits year over year.

Tango is now considered the No. 2 brand in terms of usage, behind market leader Carolina, International Paper’s comparable brand. That’s an increase from a distant fourth place prior to the rebranding campaign. Perhaps most important, Tango managed to increase distribution among midsize and large sheet-fed printers, an area in which it did not previously have a foothold.

Along the way, its consistent message, over time and across several media, survived two ownership changes in four years. Tango is currently owned by $8 billion MeadWestvaco, created by the February merger of Mead and Westvaco.

"It’s gone through three different management groups since the launch, and I think that’s testimony to the strength of the program—that it survived acquisitions and mergers and new scrutiny of senior management," Tannenbaum said.

The paper giant said it plans to increase the Tango marketing budget. "We’ve come a very long way," Tannenbaum said. "We still have a way to go."

IBM's 'Codernauts' unite four brands under with one campaign

By Kate Maddox

IBM Corp., the venerable hardware manufacturer, had a problem to solve when it came to marketing its software products: creating a unified brand identity for four previously separate brands.

In addition to its own DB2 database software and WebSphere e-business software, IBM Software Group had added two new software brands into its product portfolio through the acquisitions of Tivoli, a systems management company, in 1996 and Lotus, a collaboration software developer, in 1995.

"IBM is a hardware company. No one thinks of them as a software company," said Chris Wall, senior partner and executive group creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, IBM’s advertising agency of record, pointing to the challenge the agency faced in creating an integrated campaign for the software group. "We are constantly trying to gain resonance and interest level with younger developers and younger IT people who buy software," Wall said.

To gain traction with this key audience, IBM decided in late 2000 to launch a campaign that would bring its four software brands together under one umbrella. It turned to Ogilvy to create an integrated campaign that would introduce a unified IBM software group to the IT and developer audience.

Wall said that after learning the target audience had an affinity for all things sci-fi, his creative team came to him with scribbled pictures of visitors from a parallel universe who were looking for software.

Wall liked the idea, so he rented astronaut suits and had his staffers wear them around the streets of New York while a photographer took pictures.

During its pitch, Ogilvy presented two ideas for the software campaign—one that was more traditional and the Codernaut campaign, complete with photos of the spacemen standing in front of banks, in business environments and in strange settings such as next to pipes (with the caption "WebSphere for infrastructure").

The marketing group at IBM liked the Codernauts idea but had concerns about it.

"It was clearly unusual, clearly unique and certainly something that would stand out," said Kevin Scully, director of integrated marketing communications at IBM Software Group. "The biggest fear was whether IBM was ready for something like that."

But IBM bought it and launched a $110 million integrated campaign. It introduced the Codernauts as central characters who had come to Earth looking for better software. The tagline was "It’s a different world. You need a different kind of software."

"We focused on developing it as a 360-degree idea from the get-go," Wall said. "We tried to weave the story of these guys and their quest for better software but still be straightforward about two guys looking for answers."

The campaign debuted at IBM’s WebSphere conference in March 2001 and featured four TV spots, print ads, outdoor and online ads, direct mail, events, sales collateral, merchandise and a Web site. Print ads ran in general business publications such as The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, as well as in information technology trades such as CIO, InformationWeek and Infoworld.

Integration was key to the success of the campaign, Scully said.

For example, the Web site featured TV ads and short video clips of the Codernauts, as well as behind-the-scenes information about the campaign itself.

After a year, the campaign has shown results that surpassed IBM’s expectations, Scully said.

"We’ve never seen an advertising campaign do as much internally and externally as the Codernauts campaign," he said. "Internally, it brought different factions together within the software group, and became something people could own a piece of."

Externally, the results were even more tangible, he said.

Unaided awareness of IBM as a software company increased by 125% from before the campaign. And "all mention" unaided awareness, in which IBM was one of a number of companies recalled, increased by 62%.

The interactive component had strong results as well.

IBM counted 30,000 downloads of its Codernaut Web videos and TV spots that were posted online in the first three months of the campaign. Online ads for the campaign drew a click-through rate that outperformed the IBM average by 52%.

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