Company: BearingPoint, Inc.
Contact: Paul Dunay, Director of Global Field Marketing
Location: McLean, Virginia
Industry: Technology Services, B2B
Annual revenue: $3,500,000,000
Number of employees: 17000
BearingPoint, a global provider of management and technology services, had won a major contract to implement a complicated voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) system for a financial company and wanted to leverage off that success. But it was competing with larger telecommunications brands to educate potential new customers about the new technology.
By using multiple channels to get potential customers to visit its Web site and fill out a "BearingPoint VoIP Readiness Assessment Tool," the company was able to educate customers, gain sales leads, and often accelerate the typical nine-month period it took to close a large sale. Rather than just buying keywords on the top search engines, which can be an expensive proposition, this campaign was done at a relatively modest cost and significantly improved ROI.
BearingPoint is one of the world's largest providers of management and technology consulting services to Global 2000 companies and government organizations in 60 countries. Listed on the New York Stock Exchange as BE, it competes with larger public companies in the broadly defined technology services sector.
"Being a public company, we have to have accountability in our ROI, lead generation, and brand awareness," said Paul Dunay, Bearingpoint's director of field marketing. "We don't sell one easy product—we sell solutions and those change and grow and evolve from year to year. There are always new entrants into the field, so you want to bring in new (marketing) ideas."
Voice over Internet protocol, commonly known as VoIP, is growing in popularity as an alternative to landline telephone service. It uses Internet protocol (IP) telephony to lower the cost of voice services and enable the introduction of new services, such as integrated messaging.
BearingPoint has implemented some of the larger and more complex VoIP systems in the financial services industry. Buoyed by its success, the company sought in 2005 to position and raise market awareness for its VoIP services in a manner that would accomplish four primary goals:
- Convey the excitement and potential of VoIP
- Demonstrate expertise
- Compel prospective customers to hear BearingPoint's story
- Ultimately, partner with the company to implement a VoIP solution
At that time, BearingPoint's VoIP sales and marketing materials consisted primarily of internally focused content designed to help the sales force respond to customer and partner inquiries. In short, this approach was reactive and lacking in creativity and vision.
Recognizing the significant opportunity to further sell its VoIP solutions in the financial services sector, BearingPoint's marketing team—in concert with a marketing solutions provider, e-tractions, Inc.—tested various campaigns aimed at generating new business leads. Considerable effort went into aligning sales priorities and outlining the steps and stages of the marketing plan to support the sales team.
The approach was supported by an integrated campaign aimed at "owning" the VoIP category. Under a unifying theme—"IP Telephony Puts the Service back into Financial Services"—a variety of media, interactive, external, and internal channels were used to show BearingPoint's leadership in the VoIP space.
VoIP, like many emerging technologies, had to some extent been a victim of its own hype, getting evaluated by industry analysts and consultants well before being understood by potential customers. "This lack of understanding of a significant ROI from VoIP was evident among our customers in financial services, which historically are among the most technologically savvy of any vertical market," said Dunay.
Therefore, if sales and marketing efforts around were to succeed, a better understanding of the VoIP awareness and readiness levels within corporations was crucial. The biggest challenge was figuring out how to create an online asset that would quickly and cost-effectively capture the attention of clients and prospects.
"Rather than attempt to gain insight around customer readiness through exhaustive preliminary research, we chose to do so during the actual marketing campaign," Dunay noted. Thus, with creative input and strategic direction from e-tractions, the centerpiece of the VoIP marketing thrust—the "BearingPoint online VoIP Readiness Assessment Tool"—was created.
The campaign was launched with a free whitepaper titled "IP Telephony Puts the Service back into Financial Services," which provided insight from BearingPoint's experience in VoIP deployment.
The whitepaper rollout was followed with an interactive launch on BearingPoint.com. Keywords were also purchased on the top four Internet search engines for the whitepaper and were supplemented by banner ads, text links, and blast emails.
The joint marketing efforts between BearingPoint and e-tractions drove prospects to the assessment tool on BearingPoint.com and an accompanying return on investment (ROI) calculator, which showed the potential cost savings with VoIP.
Directing all traffic online to the self assessment tool was crucial for several reasons:
- The assessment tool helped businesses understand their readiness for VoIP compared with rivals.
- Once Web site visitors completed the assessment, they were asked to complete a registration form to access the ROI calculator, which provided BearingPoint with valuable contact and demographic information. "I got an automatic email as soon as the person registered," Dunay said.
- The ROI calculator helped visitors understand the cost-saving benefits of a VoIP solution and determine when they might realize a positive return on their VoIP investment.
- Completing the ROI calculation provided BearingPoint with valuable information regarding the hard-dollar potential of a VoIP solution to the prospect.
During the campaign, marketing messages were fine-tuned based on information gathered from the self-assessments, face-to-face client events, and analysis of media effectiveness.
Using e-tractions software, BearingPoint tracked the total cost of the campaign to measure the return on marketing investment. Metrics including total impressions; total Web site hits and total downloads were tracked; and the value of these were computed against program spending. The numbers of leads generated through the initiative—and the ultimate sales booked—were also tracked.
The nature of the campaign and the e-tractions software allowed precise measurements of effectiveness. Through the online assessment and supporting activities, the company was able to accelerate the typical nine-month sales cycle of its customers. In several instances, BearingPoint was able to identify organizations near the end of their buying cycle (determining whom to partner with in VoIP deployment). "They were strong leads because they were already researching a proposal," Dunay said.
The combination of company resources coupled with the capabilities demonstrated through visitor self assessment and the ROI calculator allowed BearingPoint to capitalize on sales opportunities more quickly and efficiently. Dunay estimates that the campaign generated a 30-times return on hard costs in terms of accelerated client bookings, making it one of BearingPoint's most successful marketing campaigns.