Babcock & Jenkins of Portland, Oregon, USA, won the Stevie® Award for Outbound Marketing Program of the Year in the Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service, the world's top business awards for contact center, customer service, business development, and sales professionals. (The final entry deadline for the 2013 Stevie Awards for Sales & Customer Service is January 15. If you haven't already done so, you can request your entry kit here and it will be emailed to you right away.) Here we look at how they helped their client, CenturyLink, break through the clutter with a targeted mailer.
CenturyLink, the third largest telecommunications company in the United States, needed to expand its market share by connecting with senior technology executives at top-tier companies. CenuryLink faced many challenges including:
- Many of the targeted companies were in markets where CenturyLink had little or no brand recognition.
- The audience was a difficult one to connect with: Skeptical, no-nonsense, discerning, and busy. About the last thing they had time for was a marketing message.
- The executive-level decision-makers that CenturyLink needed to reach were not going to give them the time of day unless CenturyLink could somehow break through to them with something that would not only grab their attention, but also deliver relevant, valuable information.
Collaborating closely with the sales and marketing teams at CenturyLink, marketing awards winner, Babcock & Jenkins developed a pilot campaign with the following objectives:
- To drive engagement with targeted prospects, and
- To deliver qualified leads that result in sales meetings.
Breaking Through the Clutter
CenturyLink Targeted Account Program (TAP) mailer achieved its objectives through two main techniques:
- The strategy was to make every interaction personal and truly relevant. Each prospect received a high-end architectural tube in the mail with a customized network map showing what CenturyLink could do to connect their specific locations and improve network efficiency.
The mailer broke through the clutter with impressive, blueprint-sized, customized-network diagrams that the CenturyLink sales engineers were developing to help close contracts. These diagrams not only showed specifically how CenturyLink could address a prospect’s unique network challenges, but also how committed the telecommunications company was to providing great, personalized service.
- A hand-written sticky note on the network diagram pointed to a personalized micro site, accessed via a personalized URL, where the recipient of the mailer could drill down into a 40-page recommendation specific to his or her company. The site featured a welcome video from CenturyLink’s CTO. The site also enabled prospects to see who their Account Manager would be and how to contact them.
Tracking on the site enabled passive profiling, giving sales insight into the prospect’s interaction with the web pages. A sales alert notified reps when their target responded to the site. For non-responders, a series of coordinated direct mail, email, and phone touches reminded them to go online and view their proposal.
The campaign achieved the following results:
63% of the targeted accounts (19 of 53) started a dialogue with
26% of targets (11 of 53) were converted, meaning they were funneling revenue into the pipeline.
The company's ROI became a whopping 8: 1.
- Sales and Marketing Happiness
A CenturyLink sales rep told us: “This is the best marketing program I’ve seen in my 15 years in this business.” (Yes, it’s a nice quote, but more importantly it shows that the CenturyLink sales team had bought into the marketing strategy 100%. That is critical to making a targeted accounts campaign successful.)
Babcock & Jenkins went on to roll out the CenturyLink TAP mailer to targeted accounts in other regions and with select partners. The B2B marketer is also planning to scale the program to a larger number of accounts, and to extend it to customers for cross-sell and up-sell opportunities. Finally, there are plans to test and fine-tune the campaign with new tactics and touches.
Denise Barnes, President of Babcock & Jenkins, feels that this is the most exciting time for the marketing industry in the last 50 years. On winning the Stevie Award, Denise commented: "The aim of our agency is to make heroes of our clients, and winning the Stevie Award for Outbound Marketing Program of the Year was the best accolade possible for CenturyLink's highly successful TAP mailer. This recognition is made even more rewarding by the knowledge that the Stevie Awards are judged by sales and customer service professionals in a wide range of industries."
About Denise Barnes
As President of Babcock & Jenkins (BNJ), Denise oversees all aspects of the agency, including strategic planning and day-to-day operations. She joined BNJ in 1998 and is responsible for the groundwork that has enabled the company’s success. With more than 25 years marketing experience, her previous successes include launching more than 20 commercial web sites, including Billboard®, LIFE® Magazine, Sports Illustrated®, and DrRuth.com. She also helped the emerging start-up E-Machines to grow from ground to $50 million within five years.
About Babcock & Jenkins:
Babcock & Jenkins delivers authentic, unique, relevant stories on behalf of its clients in order to build brand, drive demand, and accelerate pipeline. Babcock & Jenkins engages audiences in meaningful conversations to form and preserve lasting, profitable relationships. For more information go to: http://www.bnj.com/.
About Century Link
Century Link is the third largest telecommunications company in the United States and is recognized as a leader in the network services market by technology industry analyst firms. The company is a global leader in cloud infrastructure and hosted IT solutions for enterprise customers. Century Link provides data, voice and managed services in local, national and select international markets through its high-quality advanced fiber optic network and multiple data centers for businesses and consumers. The company also offers advanced entertainment services under the CenturyLinkTM PrismTM TV and DIRECTV brands. Headquartered in Monroe, La., CenturyLink is an S&P 500 company and is included among the Fortune 500 list of America's largest corporations. For more information, visit www.centurylink.com.