Monday, April 13, 2009

Synopsys: Centralized Marketing Communications

Large organizations whose marketing groups have grown organically over time can often have fairly disparate functions, content, and databases. To bring those distributed marketing efforts into a central marketing database can often be an interesting challenge. Mital Poddar at Synopsys walked me through how they had tackled that centralization effort when I chatted with her during the writing of Digital Body Language.

Using a combination of incentives, including tracking of digital body language, high quality branded templates, and management of opt-out requests, Synopsys was able to win over the distributed marketing teams and centralize over 100 independent marketing databases.

Synopsys: Centralized Marketing Communications

Synopsys is a world leader in software and IP for semiconductor design and manufacturing. As such, the sales process is very knowledge and education oriented. Sophisticated buyers and sophisticated sellers exchange lots of information throughout a lengthy process. Because of this, Synopsys discovered that each of their product marketing managers were sending micro campaigns to small lists of prospects at various stages of the education and sales process.

This had been a somewhat functional process, but did not allow Synopsys easy control of their brand and messaging and the risks of over-communicating to customers due to a lack of centralized control had become significant. It also did not allow Synopsys any insight into the digital body language of those prospects as each individual salesperson would send their small scale campaigns in their own way – often from their desktop – in a way that did not allow centralized tracking.

To operationalize these communications in a way that still allowed the knowledge-intensive sales process to progress, but gave Synopsys better control over brand and better ability to provide insights into their prospects’ digital body language, they decided to centralize the process. Each salesperson could send any communication that they desired to, to any list of their prospects, but it would be executed centrally by a marketing service bureau (of one individual). This enabled consistency in brand messaging and started the process of keeping historical campaign data in one location.

As with any organization, there were pockets of resistance to either the creative
standardization (all communications would now share a common look and feel) or to giving up control of a list of contacts. The centralization, however, offered three benefits that outweighed these hesitations. A common theme was more aesthetically pleasing than most of the individual efforts, winning over many. The reduction in effort was a second significant selling point. The ability to instantly see the results of each campaign, and the individuals who had clicked through and sought further information, was the final advantage to win over skeptics.

During two months, the transition was made to this new operational model. The field team was able to quickly craft the message and the target audience they had in mind, which was then passed to the central marketing service organization. By centralizing management of the final creative touches and the distribution of the messages, the marketing organization was able to maintain control over the branding and look & feel. The team was also able to ensure the proper tracking was in place to allow insight into the prospects’ digital body language.

Through centralizing these communications, the Synopsys team was able to gain control over their brand and the frequency with which they communicate with prospects, while at the same time building rapport with their sales organization. By adding in the ability to observe the customers’ digital body language, they also began to build a foundation for deeper insights into their audience, and for an internal culture of analytics.

Many of the topics on this blog are discussed in more detail in my book Digital Body Language
In my day job, I am with Eloqua, the marketing automation software used by the worlds best marketers
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