Thought Marketing, Los Altos, CA

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Company: Thought Marketing, Los Altos, CA
Company Description: When it's time to turbo-boost your marketing or crack the toughest of marketing challenges, Thought Marketing™ delivers both strategic thinking and flawless execution. Thought Marketing™ provides business and marketing counsel to executive leaders in the technology sector.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications or PR Campaign of the Year - Multicultural

Nomination Title: Re-booting a Global Customer Image

Tell the story about this nominated campaign since January 1, 2014 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

Genesis: A financially challenged mobile software company (OSI) in California required creative, inexpensive marketing strategies to re-boot its global customer image. The telecommunications industry was heating up with competition from non-carriers, such as Google, Amazon, and Netflix. With customers in Asia, Europe, the United States, and Latin America, the OSI marketing team researched and found that a with creative jolt of marketing, the Caribbean and Latin American (CALA) market could yield short- and long-term revenue results specifically targeting carriers.

Development: Leveraging a bilingual background and cursory knowledge of CALA culture, our team devised a “Roadshow” marketing campaign. We worked closely with our local sales representative, who was very familiar with six of our target countries and had good contacts on the ground. Most importantly, the campaign had to carefully map to the cultural nuances of each country’s culture. The campaign consisted of the following:
• Evoking an emotional connection: We created the campaign: ¡O  sí! to leverage the company’s name, OSI, and convey positive momentum. ¡O  sí! in Spanish means “Oh yes!” as in “Oh yes, we want to work with you!”
• Researching the country’s political and technological climate to customize messaging:
- Government mandates, especially the reduction in telecommunications monopolies, which meant new carriers would be sprouting up as prospects
- Government regulations requiring carriers to improve customer service, especially dropped calls
- The upcoming Olympics, driving the need for better telecommunications infrastructure.
• Devising the most economical itinerary to visit three countries in six days.
• Targeting a specific customer/prospect set that included a mix between incumbents and new market entrants. Campaign messaging needed to attract both.
• Designing socially-oriented events outside the office to enhance relationship building and trust.
• Localizing use cases, datasheets and our company profile into Spanish dialects to further customize for local markets.

Execution: Key success factors in the campaign included local research, on-the-ground resourcing, customized messaging and tactics, and a heavy dose of flexibility.

Understanding that executive face time is crucial in these markets, we scheduled a “Roadshow” event across three countries. Venues were selected based on local recommendations from current residents. To convey our commitment to these markets, we invested in sending three executives from the California team in addition to the sales rep. This gave our prospects and customers the opportunity to directly converse with both our business and technical visionaries, and build broader relationships.

While perhaps considered trivial in other markets, the exchange of gifts was a central component of our CALA execution. The gifts were hand-picked and practical, and most importantly, we provided enough for our prospects/customers to share with their friends and family.

Understanding that these regions have a hard time accessing material from headquarters, we left behind localized material on thumb drives.

Key to execution was having multiple back-up options for every meeting. Our operations audience is prone to sudden changes. And, meeting times in select countries are prone to delays and last-minute changes.

Results: For less than $20,000, we earned $500,000 in business over the next year. In addition, a current customer, a large global multinational, increased its business with us and invited us to bid on additional projects in other regions, including their headquarters in Spain. A Colombian customer noted, “We have not seen an OSI employee for more than a year. We were feeling neglected. Your trip was very important to us.” Based on the feedback, experience and confidence gained in the CALA pilot, we designed campaigns for larger markets including Brazil and Argentina, as well as Asia.

An unplanned side effect of the campaign was furthered investor interest in our business. Traditionally, the company was over-represented in mature markets such as the U.S. Entering emerging telco environments in the CALA region was perceived a positive contributor to our value.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief features and results of this nominated PR program since the beginning of 2014 (up to 150 words).

Features:

• A financially challenged mobile software company (OSI) required creative, inexpensive marketing strategies to re-boot its global customer image.
• Devised a multicultural marketing campaign, including:
- Evoking an emotional connection by leveraging the OSI name (¡O  sí!), which is “Oh yes!” in Spanish
- Researching the country’s political and technological climate
- Devising the most economical itinerary
- Providing local research, customized messaging, and a heavy dose of flexibility
- Designing socially-oriented events outside the office to enhance relationships
- Investing in sending business and technical visionaries to build broader relationships

Results:
• 96% ROI. We invested $20,000 in expenses and garnered $500,000 in business over the year.
• Improved credibility and commitment in the eyes of our customers.
• Refreshed engagement from our customers/prospects. Our analytics revealed our customers downloaded datasheets plus other material after the event.
• A blueprint for future roadshows in other countries.
• Furthered investor interest in our business due to emerging market activity.