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May 26, 2004
Case Study

How Primavera Turned Boring Brand Ads to Must-Respond Lead Gen Campaigns

SUMMARY: Don't get us wrong, we're not against brand marketing. But generic "We're Great" ads won't cut it if you're trying to get the Fortune 1000 to notice you.

Hear how one enterprise software company leveraged its famous-brand clients to create higher impact ads. Includes before-and-after ad samples, as well as some genuine wisdom on best practices in managing the sales lead funnel.

Note: Unlike our normal Case Studies, this one doesn't have much specific data. However, we feel it's still worth your time:

If you're in the construction industry, you've known about Primavera software for more than 20 years. So when you need project management software, their name usually winds up on your vendor short list.

It's a comfortable position for a marketing department to be in. They need to maintain brand visibility of course, but they're not scrambling to generate leads from an uncaring population.

Then a few years ago the company decided to launch a new division -- and offer enterprise software to the Fortune 1000. Suddenly marketing was playing in a pool where nobody had heard of them.
And messaging that worked for the construction vertical wasn't necessarily appealing to CIOs in other industries.

"The pain points and the audience is completely different," notes Lena Castura, Primavera Director of Marketing Communications.

At first the team tried to crack the marketplace with heavy brand advertising. Example -- one space ad showed a pair of hands holding up a globe. Headline, "It's a project-based world. Conquer it."

Although the ads featured phone numbers and a Web URL "for information," hot sales leads didn't pour in the minute people saw them. It was time to rejigger the concept, and turn from generic brand advertising to a combination of brand building plus lead generation.


Luckily both Primavera's products and its sales team are solid, so the company had landed some impressive enterprise accounts with name-brand clients such as AFLAC and HP. In fact, Primavera's clients were often more famous than the software company was.

The marketing team worked on three steps to leverage famous clients:

Step #1. Gather testimonials and case studies

Instead of just asking for a quick testimonial, the team approached satisfied clients to ask, "Can we videotape you?"
Everything was built around the client's ease and convenience.

Taping could happen in a back room at a convention the client was attending, or at the client's office (no matter where in the world it was.) Usually an "empathetic" marketer who specialized in that client's vertical industry would be on hand to act as an off-camera interviewer, gently leading the client through the list of pre-submitted questions.

On average, taping took about two hours or even longer -- for content that would ultimately be edited down to a two-three minute clip. Partly this was because some executives were nervous. More shots also equal more editing options (very important when your client's PR department is also reviewing and asking to tweak your final clip.)

If a client was really awkward on-camera, the creative team were prepared to use them as a voice-over instead, and/or perhaps as a headshot for a space ad.

Primavera asked participating clients to sign off on a formal agreement prior to the taping. Castura notes, "We have a standard one, but not one customer has ever signed it without making their own changes." Part of the agreement was that the client had final creative approval for all materials created using their image, story, or voice.

The creative team built in plenty of time on the calendar (and patience in their hearts) because seeking third party approvals will inevitably slow your campaign scheduling to a crawl. You have to accept reality and not get frustrated.

Step #2. Leverage the content

Next the marketing team swung into action to use the final content every way possible, including:

- Planting case study stories in related trade magazines

- Printing a quarterly Primavera magazine featuring client stories to be distributed to clients and prospects

- Featuring client photos and testimonials on space ads, along with offers for the complete case study (including a streamed video clip) on a special microsite for each ad

- Playing the video clips as a highlight of prospecting road shows, seminars, and webinars

Step #3. Set up a lead funnel process

Marketing didn't want to waste the sales department's time on unqualified leads. So they set up a series of campaigns and activities to act as a funnel.

Campaigns at the wide end of the funnel were broadly appealing, and not product-specific. Example, a breakfast road show on "The 7 habits of Highly Effective Projects" that ran in 41 cities across the US and Canada this spring. The events featured client testimonial video clips, but didn't focus heavily on Primavera products.

Castura explains, "We never talk at the very high level too much about a specific product. Not that early in the cycle. We have several products and most IT departments could go either way. First we want to learn where their biggest pains are."

She adds, "We've found historically that if there's a vertical business need or pain, even if it's not a planned expenditure or a formal initiative, people will find the money for it in their budget."

So, the marketing team's goal isn't to push a product down the prospect's throat, but instead to keep wafting about in the prospect's line of vision through a wide variety of media (webinars, seminars, white papers, press mentions, direct mail, email, etc.) until a prospect finally raises their hand, asking for help with an immediate particular need.

And even when a prospect responds several times, for example attending a webinar and downloading a white paper, the marketing department's in-house telephone team usually pre-qualifies the prospect as a fully mature lead prior to handing them off to sales.

"If they raise their hand once, it's not a lead. If they raise their hand twice, there's maybe some sort of need here. We like to see someone interact with us on a few different things. We don't want to call them too early."

Marketing's telephone qualifying team consist of "people whose desire is to someday be in sales. We put them through extensive ongoing training -- at least three hours per week -- and help them look at the way prospects answer questions to prove they have deeper business challenges."

Then at last it's time to hand the lead off to sales.


Primavera's enterprise clients outside of the construction industry have grown rapidly and impressively to include hundreds of Fortune 1000 and governmental organizations.

The company site features more than 50-named client testimonials, and case studies, many with video clips. Nearly every month several vertical trade magazines publish a case study or story based on a client story.

Primavera's new space ads featuring client testimonials are garnering much higher response rates, both in terms of lead generation and brand memory. In fact one recent ad in an engineering magazine had the highest recall rate of any ad in the issue.

"We're doing great," says Castura proudly.

Useful links related to this story:

Samples of Primavera marketing, including before-and-after space ads:

AlloyRed, the agency Primavera uses for creative in many of its lead generation campaigns and testimonial video shoots:

MarketingSherpa past story - How to Gather & Use Testimonials That Grow Sales

Past Case Study: Two Tactics Hobart Uses to Defy the Recession: 400 Customer Testimonials and 0% Financing

See Also:

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