Software - Hard Target
Client Challenge and Context
Our client - a global leader in the technology space - was launching a series of innovative mobile platform products targeted at IT Security professionals within financial institutions and banks. Their offering was very specific and their key competitor had already gone to market with a similar products, aimed at the same audience.
Therefore their business challenge was twofold: how to grow the market in line with their new offering and how to combat the competitive challenge.
This in turn translated into 3 key marketing objectives:
- To reach, engage, and create long term relationships with IT decision makers
- To explain the product offering and highlight the benefits in a compelling way
- To deliver leads and meet ambitious targets
The client had been investing heavily over a 3 year period in a cross-section of activities, but they hadn't seen any significant payback, either anecdotally or in terms of lead generation, so they were eager to revise their strategy to start delivering results.
Having had limited success with their existing partner, the client engaged EI Advisory after a recommendation.
EI Approach: Primary Research & Evidence Based Recommendations
As with all new client relationships and briefs, we formed a core project team of Research Analysts, with a deep understanding of the specific sector - in this case, Technology. Our client had a dedicated resource including a point person who was accountable for managing the outputs and delivering against the objectives. This team was led by Shivani Pala, EI's Lead Research Analyst in the Technology space (Shivani is now EI Research Team Leader).
After a series of detailed discussions led by EI, a robust operating brief was developed which captured the client's objectives and reflected EI's understanding of the marketplace.
Quantitative Opportunity Mapping
Using our proprietary media supplier database, Mercury™ we identified 294 opportunities for consideration. These opportunities spanned a wide range of sectors, from broad business to vertical trade, specific associations and event suppliers. Local language research was also required as the IT media space is nationally (as well as regionally) focused). In addition, with the specific focus on IT decision makers from Financial Services firms, an additional check of 104 financial services media providers in these countries was required to identify the most exciting opportunities, focused on IT, specifically within the FS vertical.
Qualitative Shortlisting and Bespoke Recommendations
The project team, led by Shivani, undertook rigorous primary research to filter the opportunities down to those that fit most closely with the criteria we believed would allow the marketing objectives to be met:
- Ability to engage across multiple platforms
- Influencer and decision maker database access
- Proven content creation credentials
As our client wanted access to the detailed information themselves, we produced a comprehensive, independent marketplace report with a dashboard interface which highlighted the most appropriate current opportunities. Competitive activity was also mapped alongside recommended points of parity and points of difference.
The client was over-investing in a high volume of smaller partners, diluting the impact of their communications and making the activity hard to manage and develop. Their overall spend of $1m was spread across 11 different trade publications, 17 industry events, 4 associations and 2 national media houses. We therefore recommended a FEWER, BIGGER, BETTER strategy.
FEWER - EI advised our client drop 12 of the industry events and 8 of the media titles which they were currently engaged with, introducing 3 new key titles and 6 new major industry events to engage with which statistically attracted a higher percentage of our clients' target audience.
BIGGER - We expanded and adapted the engagement with 2 of the most high profile media suppliers who we believed resonated most highly with the target audience and were able to deliver both regionally and nationally. We worked closely with both suppliers to produce two major 'halo' lead generation engagement programmes which incorporated elements we knew were vital if our objectives were to be met; face-to-face engagement with key target accounts, thought leadership and content generation with existing accounts.
BETTER - EI's new plan saw a reduction in the number of media titles, cutting those that provided the lowest audience reach to improve effectiveness, allowing us to better deploy the budget. Our 'halo' programmes gave the campaign a regional relevance whilst also resonating on a national level with country roundtables and surveys with key accounts in each country. Operationally the campaign was simpler to manage, enabling our clients to have the time to be more strategic in engaging the business with all elements of the campaign. We also ensured that not only was the activity seen in the right environment, by the right people, but there was a better use of insight to influence the content created. Shivani and her team referenced the topical themes that came out of our research:
- Enterprise mobility
- BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
- MDM (Mobile Device Management)
and worked with the chosen partner to link up the themes with the areas covered by the products our client was launching, bringing them to life in the way which best met the brief and business objectives. The resulting activity had multiple elements to ensure brand presence for standout and stature, thought leadership to explain the product offering in detail and lead generation to deliver short-term business results.
The information relayed in report format only tells part of the story. We strongly believe that the best solutions are created after face to face discussion and debate. We therefore schedule key stakeholder workshops, led and facilitated by EI Research Analysts.
Our recommendations were shared and our thinking brought to life in an engagement plan that included integrated activities across broad business media, trade media, events and industry associations.
We were also able to take on board some constructive feedback and builds to help refine our final proposals and negotiated activity, simplifying and condensing the approvals process.
Overall, the client has seen a 27% saving on external marketing spend, and a 40% increase in the number of business relationships formed and leads generated. This meant we had a very satisfied client!