Telecom equipment provider and network specialist Ciena Corp. wanted to expand its footprint into segments such as broadband and the triple play of voice, video and data line. To do so, it had to effectively reach the top decision makers in the industries it serves. In the process of meeting this challenge, it shifted its focus from sales force-oriented customer acquisition efforts to a more integrated approach to marketing.
Target Marketing spoke with Joe Cumello, Ciena’s director of marketing, about the recent success of its voice/video/data campaign aimed at C-level executives in the telecommunications industry.
Target Marketing: What objectives did you set for your voice/video/data marketing initiative?
Joe Cumello: Executing triple play requires a massive infrastructure change within these telecommunications companies, so the decision making is going to go a little bit higher than the manager or even the lower director level. That’s why the programs we developed around the triple play specifically targeted the executive suite.
We had five objectives for the program: We knew we had to get past the gatekeepers and get something into the hands of the executives. We knew these folks didn’t want to be sold to; instead, they wanted to be educated. We needed to build our own credibility in the space because our heritage comes from a different part of the network. We wanted to make sure we had a solution in place that could meet the criteria they were looking to fulfill. And we wanted to present a solution that would give them a return on investment.
This program was really important to validate this work for us as a company. We were trying to break into a new market, as well as prove to the sales force that lead generation was a viable marketing mechanism for them.
TM: How did your solution meet your needs?
JC: We developed a program with Babcock & Jenkins, a direct marketing agency in Portland, Ore., that resulted in a dimensional package sent to senior directors and above. The package featured a juggling concept, with three juggling balls, focusing on how we can put the answer for the triple play in the palm of their hands. Besides the dimensional mailer, we sent out a second touch e-mail to increase response rates. And, of course, there was an incentive giveaway as part of the program.
But more important than the actual mailing pieces themselves was what we built into the program from a content standpoint. We went to the Yankee Group, a strategic consulting firm in Boston, and worked with it to develop a whitepaper on why these telecommunications companies need to look at the triple play: the value proposition; the business metrics; and what kind of revenue they could look to if they deploy it. It was a third-party objective paper that didn’t sound like we were just hawking to them. The second whitepaper we wrote ourselves, describing where Ciena comes in and how we can help.
TM: What results did you achieve?
JC: The direct mail piece had a 6 percent response, versus the industry standard of 1.5 percent or 1 percent response. The people who responded were at least 50 percent to 60 percent senior executives—CEOs, VPs, senior directors of engineering and operations.
Since this is an integrated program, there were other pieces we did, including webinars and advertising. The response rate on the webinar lists was 20 percent. The second touch e-mail we did with the direct mailer that wasn’t part of the webinar program actually lifted us 2.4 percent.
We reached exactly who we wanted and gained entry into new accounts. We’re driving leads to the sales force now, and they’re totally committed to the process.