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Jul 09, 2014
Case Study

Content Marketing: How an IT solutions company generated $8 million from a thought leadership campaign

SUMMARY: "The ultimate goal, of course, in doing any marketing is to drive results," said Lisa Dreher, Vice President of Marketing, Logicalis US. "But, I think that we started this program from a more altruistic point of view in that we really wanted to provide valuable information to our customers and prospects about where technology is going and how to leverage it."

This B2B case study details how an IT solutions provider launched a campaign featuring a thought leadership e-book instead of a sales pitch. Dive in to learn how Logicalis' content marketing program generated $8 million in business.
by Allison Banko, Reporter

CHALLENGE

As an international IT solutions and managed services provider, Logicalis US helps organizations get business and technology to work as one, explained Logicalis' Vice President of Marketing, Lisa Dreher.

With a repertoire of solutions spanning from cloud and managed services to communications and data solutions, this company is in an industry undergoing bounds of technological evolution.

"What we find with a lot of our customers is that they are struggling to keep up with all of the changes that are happening in technology," Dreher said.

When Logicalis needed to pipeline in a series of strategic product and solution categories and increase its Hewlett Packard (HP) sales, the team wondered how they could unite both their marketing efforts and internal expertise.

"We thought, well, obviously we are in a position where we could provide some of that guidance and information in such a way that it wouldn't necessarily be very focused on a particular solution, but rather, on really understanding what the customer was trying to accomplish," Dreher explained.

Logicalis was looking for a campaign that would provide sales-neutral, helpful information to its marketplace — the company wanted to create a thought leadership campaign.

CAMPAIGN

"The ultimate goal, of course, in doing any marketing is to drive results," Dreher said. "But I think that we started this program from a more altruistic point of view in that we really wanted to provide valuable information to our customers and prospects about where technology is going and how to leverage it. So what we did was we said that we really wanted to create a series of communications that would provide that insight."

Logicalis has collaborated with a brand storytelling agency for nearly a decade, so partnering with their team for this content campaign seemed obvious, she explained. The two joined forces to create an e-book titled, Elements of Design: How the Data Center of Today Can Be the Data Center for Tomorrow.

The piece was designed without a sales-focused agenda and the teams hoped that campaign targets would not only read and learn from the e-book, but would share it with their colleagues as well.

The team also developed a series of six customer-facing emails to promote the free e-book download, all driving traffic to a microsite housing its content. Each of these emails contained a technology-specific message that merged HP technical content with Logcalis' solution and skill set.

Prospects could enter their information into a lead generation form on the microsite in exchange for access to the free e-book.

"We invited them to be included in ongoing conversations or ongoing communications, and if they opted-in to that, then we put them into a nurturing program so that they would get ongoing information," Dreher explained.

This nurturing program included providing prospects and customers targeted in the campaign with additional information and those who were especially engaged were contacted via telephone by a Logicalis salesperson to move the prospect to the next stage in the sales cycle.

Step #1. Meet with the sales and technology teams to determine the market's key pain points

"We sat down with the sales team to understand exactly what it was that they were seeing in the market, and where they felt like folks were getting stuck," Dreher said. "That helped us really identify some of the areas we wanted to focus on."

These pain points were discovered by observing social conversions to see which technology questions were going unanswered. The team found that some areas people in the marketplace were struggling with included:
  • Converged infrastructure: Those in the marketplaces that struggled to understand how to get to a converged infrastructure and what to do to achieve it.

  • Cloud solutions: How could a cloud play into their overall organization?

  • Disaster recovery: How could they do this cost effectively? What policies and support do they need to put into place?

  • Mobility policies: What should they do on this front?

Another item the teams noticed through their research and discussions was that these IT solutions were a complex process — it wasn't an easy, transactional sale.

During these meetings, the teams wondered if they had to boil it down, what these various technologies help clients accomplish. One team member's reply stuck with the group, serving as the foundation for the rest of the campaign: "Really, we're helping people build the data center of tomorrow."

Step #2. Identify how to share thought leadership information in a marketplace's area of interest

The above quote formed the basis for Logicalis' e-book, Elements of Design: How the Data Center of Today Can Be the Data Center for Tomorrow.

Working in conjunction with the agency, the team developed a 13-page e-book with content focusing on those various pain points, built from interviews with Logicalis' subject-matter experts.

"The goal there is to simply demonstrate our expertise and our capabilities and our thought leadership through giving valuable information that people can actually use," Dreher said of the e-book.

Step #3. Develop microsite and email campaign

Logicalis opted to host the e-book on an eight-page microsite with traffic driven by an email campaign.

The microsite contained six targeted technology-specific messages that served as a tease for what was within the e-book.

"We try to give a pretty lengthy excerpt of the information that's in the document so that folks can get an idea of what they are going to see when they download the piece," Dreher explained.

The call-to-action for each piece was to download the free e-book in exchange for the prospect's name and email address.

"We try not to make our forms completely crazy," Dreher said. "Ultimately, our goal is to provide valuable content so that people want to engage with us. We don't really want to force them to engage with us; we want them to be specifically interested in working with Logicalis, because they see us as a company that can provide value to their organization."

These six messages were also relayed in a series of emails, segmented among 2,000 prospects based on their technology specialty, a set determined by what they had expressed interest in or previously purchased.

Message #1. The data center of the future

"The Future is Here… Are You Ready? There has never been a more crucial time than now for CIOs to be thinking strategically about their role in the organization, and how they can enable their company to save money, increase productivity and operate more effectively. How are you going to take your data center into the future? Now is the time to decide. Come explore what Logicalis can do for you."

Message #2. The next-generation network

"Are You Ready to Break the Rules of Networking? Creating a next-generation enterprise network to support tomorrow's advanced business computing requirements doesn't happen overnight. You have to start today to be ready for tomorrow. The good news is, you don't have to start from scratch. You can have tomorrow's network today. Come explore what Logicalis can do for you."

Message #3. Storage and managing big data

"Are You Missing Half the Picture? When it comes to data-intensive SAP, Oracle and other ERP operations, servers and storage go hand-in-hand. It's critical to allocate storage resources based on your actual rather than perceived needs. Don't over-buy and over-staff. Let Logicalis show you a better way. Managing "big data" storage may be one of the toughest tasks you have to tackle as an IT pro. Come explore what Logicalis can do for you."

Message #4. Private cloud computing

"Do You Have What IT Takes? Private clouds offer a different way to manage your company's IT assets and a simpler way to deliver the consumption of IT as a service inside your organization. But before the advantages of a private cloud can be realized, the right framework has to be put in place. The question is, does your private cloud portfolio have what it takes? Come explore what Logicalis can do for you."

Message #5. High-performance computing

"Can Computing Be Bigger, Better Faster? In high-performance computing environments like research, finance, cloud and manufacturing, "bigger, better, faster" seems to be the mantra. The more computing power you make available, the more competitive your organization can become. Are you hearing the demand for bigger, better, faster in your organization? Come explore what Logicalis can do for you."

Message #6. The HP Gen8 server platform

"Can You Defeat the 80/20 Rule? Logicalis solutions built on the new HP Gen8 platform can help you move away from the mundane maintenance tasks that take up 80% of your time every day, leaving only 20% for innovation. Now, you can flip those numbers upside down! Gen8 is the future of computing and it's here now. Are you ready? Come explore what Logicalis can do for you."


The emails drove recipients to the microsite page that matched the email's message. If a prospect did not open the first send of an email, they received the exact same email once more as the Logicalis team hoped this would increase email open rates.

Step #4. Communicate the marketing message to Sales through an internal email campaign

Each time one of the campaign emails was sent to a prospect, a respective Logicalis account executive received a separate internal email so they could adjust their sales efforts to match the marketing. These emails led Logicalis' salespeople to the content that would support their sales and provide them with additional resources.

This way, if the salesperson followed up with a particular prospect, they would have additional information and resources that they could share, Dreher explained.

"Within the message itself, we did include the email message that went out to the customer so the salespeople could see exactly what the customer was seeing," she added.

Step #5. Nurture prospects that completed the lead capture form and downloaded the e-book

In the lead generation process, prospects were invited to be included in ongoing conversations and communications. If they opted-in to that, Logicalis put them into a nurturing program so that they would receive ongoing information, Dreher explained.

"We were not reaching out to everyone," she said. "We were reaching out to folks who had shown a specific interest or indicated that they had a specific interest, or additional questions that we could answer for them."

Logicalis contacted this set via telephone in order to set appointments for Logicalis salespeople to chat with interested prospects and ultimately, move them to the next stage in the sales cycle.



RESULTS

The 12-week campaign generated $8 million in closed and new pipeline business for Logicalis, while the microsite generated a 15% click-to-open rate for the microsite. The emails achieved a 10% open rate while views and forwards clocked in at 15%.

Providing value through an e-book without a sales agenda not only paid off for Logicalis financially, but paid off in that it helped satisfy the marketplace's need for information they were struggling to find.

"If you can give something of value to people that they can actually use, that helps them either do their jobs better or make better decisions, or just be a little bit smarter on a new topic, then they see value in potentially working with your company," Dreher explained. "They see you as a company that actually cares about what their outcome is, so that's where we really try to focus our energy."

The Logicalis team said they benefitted from communicating the marketing with the sales team through both the starting phases and the internal emails. They explained that because the sales team is the group closest to the customer, they are able to hear what customers are thinking.

By communicating with Sales, Marketing can ensure those items are visible in the campaign's content.

Logicalis has found so much success from this thought leadership campaign that the team opted to run this type of program once a quarter. The process remains the same, but the content of the microsites and emails change to reflect what's buzzing in the marketplace, and what information it is prospects are seeking.

Creative Samples

  1. Elements of Design: How the Data Center of Today Can Be the Data Center for Tomorrow

  2. Current campaign email example

Campaign Team

Logicalis US

Communication Strategy Group — Logicalis' brand storytelling agency

Related Resources

HP Champion — a current Logicalis campaign microsite

Email Marketing: Persona-based email campaign drives 7% conversion rate with targeted content

2 Tough Questions to Ask About Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing: How Freightliner Trucks' community site engages more than 18,000 members

Content Marketing: Tips from your peers on making use of internal resources



See Also:

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