Cover Story: Finding 'Definitive Insights'
"We've made big bet on social at SAP," says Becher. "We infuse social in everything we do, from how we decide what solutions to build, to how we market/sell them, to how we support customers after sale. ... I'd go so far as saying the 'S' in SAP now stands for social."
That has tremendous impact on Burns and the digital marketing team, which is responsible for the corporate website—visited by just about every customer or prospect SAP has—and all demand generation activities.
"We've made this massive change through new marketing leadership, which has put a very high profile on digital overall," says Burns. "Everything you're trying to do is open instead of closed. So instead of very traditional one-way messages and locked-down heavy marketing spin," SAP has embraced "open, transparent, normal human being language."
That meant a complete rebuild of SAP.com. Not just the platform and HTML, according to Burns, but the content and messaging of the entire site.
If you've been to an airport, you know SAP invests in space advertising through things like airport signage and highly visible sponsorships—the Tribeca Film Festival; the SAP Open tennis tournament; and the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany, to name a few. For anyone who engages with those campaigns, the next step would be to visit a page on SAP.com. The same is true for anyone who's inspired to visit SAP through word of mouth, reputation, a case study or other campaigns.
All of those prospects end up in Burns' marketing pipeline. SAP expects that 100 percent of its leads and existing customers will pass through it.
"A corporate website serves the needs of many masters," explains Burns. "Whether you're a customer looking for a solution, an interested analyst looking for an investor relations report, we serve all those audiences." However, he continues, visitors to SAP.com "are generally new to [at least] a portion of our solutions ... So we gear it toward the prospect experience ... [with an] awareness and demand-generation approach."