A public relations campaign that broke new B2B social media ground taking Avanade direct to prospects; and collecting valuable buying insight. The invention of #askavanade – a blended digital and in-person event-based platform (using Twitter and YouTube), brought together journalists and bloggers, Avanade spokespeople, prospects, and even resulted in a new hire for the company.
4,243 videos were viewed and 53,265 people reached via 362 tweets at three industry events in addition to 2,427,741 people reached through media coverage that was incorporated into and driven by social media campaigning.
About the client company
Avanade provides business technology solutions and managed services that connect insight, innovation and expertise in Microsoft technologies to help customers realise results. Avanade’s services and solutions help improve performance, productivity and sales for organisations in all industries. Avanade, which is majority owned by Accenture, was founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft Corporation and serves customers in more than 20 countries worldwide with more than 12,000 professionals including consultants and developers.
Strategy – broader business issues the company is facing
With only two weeks to develop and execute a campaign, Waggener Edstrom was tasked by Avanade to deliver results fast by driving leads at the Gartner CRM summit with a social media based PR campaign.
Customer relationship management is an established marketing approach and technology platform – even considered ‘old hat’ by many – what is new, however, is the need for companies to integrate social media customer interactions into CRM strategy. With this insight in mind, challenged by Avanade’s competition dominating traditional event sponsorship, and Gartner’s restriction of speaking opportunities to its analysts, our strategy was to:
- Create a concept that combined Avanade’s digital and ‘on-the-show-floor’ activity.
- Hook journalist’s interest with embargoed consumer research to involve them in the campaign as it happened.
- Capture leads by engaging prospects with event-based CRM, underpinned by social media.
Importantly, the campaign allowed Avanade to showcase social CRM – the main buzz at the event.
Following the success of #askavanade at the Gartner CRM summit the campaign was subsequently rolled out at the European Sharepoint Conference and Cloud Computing World Forum.
Objectives of the campaign
The PR campaign added value by bringing Avanade closer to prospects with an engaging, creative platform.
We invented #askavanade, a digital platform pushed in-person at the event. We created the opportunity for event attendees to ‘ask Avanade’ questions about CRM, its business, technology, and frankly, anything else.
Armed with flipcams and video production capabilities, the three-strong Waggener Edstrom team ontheground solicited questions, captured emails and produced video responses from five Avanade spokespeople at its stand.
After securing questions, each response was recorded in minutes from an Avanade spokesperson, uploaded to YouTube, tweeted, played on a TV at the Avanade stand and instantly emailed back to the prospect with a personal response.
Questions from journalists, secured in advance using the embargoed consumer research, were also answered at the show and the video responses were emailed to the journalists. These were played at Avanade’s stand and again promoted through Twitter with the #askavanade hashtag.
The target audience
Attendees at both the Gartner CRM summit and the European Sharepoint conference are made up of senior business and IT professionals including:
- CRM project/programme managers
- Strategic planners
- Customer experience/intelligence heads
- Customer service and support executives
- Customer solutions technology specialists
- IT managers
- Business analysts and consultants
Media, channels or techniques used
- Twitter feed and YouTube accounts created.
- YouGov poll commissioned exploring the impact of the recession on customer service with a social media focus; findings included:
- 83 per cent of consumers expect companies to make more of an effort to keep them happy than they did three years ago, however only 5 per cent believe that customer service has improved since the start of the recession.
- While 41 per cent of people still use the telephone to complain and 63 per cent of people use email, 20 per cent of people are using blogs and social networks to complain to their family and friends – this figure rises to 36 per cent for 18-24 year olds.
Event: #askavanade voxpop
Post-event: survey story sell-in to business, CRM, IT trade and business press.
Timescales of the campaign
The initial campaign was developed in two weeks and executed in March at the Gartner CRM Summit.
#askavanade was subsequently rolled out at two further events in April and March.
Follow-up with prospects happened immediately during the event and one day after the events with personalised emails.
Reporting and analysis was completed two days following each event.
Gartner CRM summit results:
- 11 sales leads.
- Business front-page coverage in The Independent and a feature in The Sunday Times.
- Total coverage circulation: 2,427,741 Highlights include: B2B Marketing, Call Centre Focus, Econsultancy, IT Pro, MyCustomer and Reputation Online.
- YouTube: 1086 views of 35 videos (over two days).
- Twitter: 32,976 reached via 116 tweets (total exposure of 105,345 over two days).
European Sharepoint conference:
- 14 sales leads.
- £10k in recruitment fees saved: a Sharepoint Technical Consultant was recruited following his visit to the stand.
As a result of the campaign Avanade saw an increase in interest from prospects including:
- Doubling of visits to their website.
- Three times more web sales enquiries.
- Triple the volume of direct calls.
“#askavanade delivered the fastest ROI from marketing spend this year.” Pamela Maynard, GM, UK & Ireland
“Based on the success of #askavanade at the Gartner CRM summit, we had Waggener Edstrom repeat the concept a month later at a European SharePoint conference. The team delivered beyond our expectations again, with 14 sales leads and ‘buzz’ on the event floor unmatched by our competition.” Caroline Overholt, UK marketing manager, Avanade