Connect Strategicsm

For your business to succeed, you have to know where you want to go and how you will get there. You wouldn’t create a business plan without an underlying strategy, and your marketing should be no different. Taking the time to plan now is an investment that will pay off later by providing better results and causing less frustration.

Connectsm specializes in developing high-tech marketing solutions for enterprises. We can help you through every step of the marketing process, from planning comprehensive business-to-business strategic messaging to evaluating the effectiveness of a single press release. We will begin by conducting market research to ensure you have the proper foundation on which to build your campaign, because you need to know who you are trying to reach, as well as the current state of high-tech marketing. Using the results of this research, we will then work with you to develop the business-to-business strategic messaging that will define your products, improving your Internet presence through Web 2.0 media. As your campaign unfolds, we will provide reports to measure the effectiveness of the program and help you get the most out of your marketing.

Research

Interesting content is the core of an effective marketing program. Surveys and focus groups are excellent ways to generate content. A well-crafted research project can provide content for a wide variety of programs, including:

  • Public relations
  • Blog posts
  • Executive speeches
  • Lead generation campaigns
  • Social content such as videos, SlideShare.net and infographics

In addition, research content remains relevant for as long as 18 months. It is no wonder aggressive companies use surveys to:

  • Generate thought leadership
  • Open doors for sales teams
  • Generate leads
  • Add interest and credibility to existing marketing materials

What Connect Can Do for You

Connectsm has conducted more than 100 surveys, involving more than 100,000 respondents from all kinds of companies, representing CIOs, IT managers, network administrators and other technical professionals, as well as end users.

Connect offers comprehensive research services, including surveys, traditional focus groups and in-depth telephone interviews.

Client Experience

Symantec wanted to extend their thought leadership in the emerging mobility market. To help, Connect designed, executed and analyzed a survey of more than 3,200 global organizations in 29 countries. We then prepared 33 versions of PowerPoint decks, written reports and fun infographics for different countries and highlighting different cuts of the data such as SMB or Enterprise.

As a result, Symantec received hundreds of articles and tens of thousands of social interactions, increasing their share of voice in this important area and impacted sales.

Messaging

Let’s assume we secure a meeting with a top tier one journalist. What will you say? For many spokespeople, the default answer is ‘I’ll tell them what we do’. That sounds good, but in fact is literally the last thing you should say.

Why? Because journalists would prefer not to learn about a new company if they can avoid it. It’s difficult, takes time, and most new companies fail anyway.

Why should they bother learning about you?

And that is precisely the question you must first answer. You need to show the journalist why they must know about your company. Do so and they’ll want to know what you do. And at that point you’ll be ready to tell them, assured that they’ll be listening.

This is the objective of Connect’s messaging process. We have developed a methodology that helps you articulate your story in a way that ensures the media is, first, motivated to hear what you do and, second, understands what you do. Here’s how …

The Five Questions You Must Answer

To create this desire, you must answer four simple questions, which we describe below. If you do that, they will then actively want you to answer the fifth question: What you do.

  1. Need. What is the need that causes customers to take time away from their busy schedules and evaluate solutions such as yours? A subset of this question is: Who is the customer?
  2. Drivers. What are the global market forces which drive this need to be more acutely felt tomorrow than yesterday?
  3. Alternatives. What alternatives are available to the customer to meet the expressed need?
  4. Shortcomings. How do existing alternatives fall short?

Process

  1. Messaging session. We will spend three hours and brainstorm the answers for the first four questions.
  2. Connect Marketing will create a Messaging DNA document which contains:
    1. A full summary of the session.
    2. A narrative that tells your story, based on the answers we brainstormed. This narrative will include a few graphics to clarify the story.
  3. After you review this document, we reconvene on the phone and gather your comments.
  4. Based on your comments we finalize the Messaging DNA.
  5. If necessary we repeat steps 3 and 4 until complete.

Product-Level Messaging Process

One of the key parts to the Messaging DNA is a 4-quadrant graph that shows how you are differentiated from your main competitors. There are two axes on this chart, each representing a core differentiator. The product level messaging builds on these two axes in two important ways:

  1. In order to make your positioning credible, you need to quantify which features support your superiority on each axis.
  2. In each case we decide that there is one or more competitors who share your quadrant, we need to show how you are superior to them in terms of benefits/features.

Our process to determine this is as follows:

  1. We will brainstorm what the important benefits/features are which support each axis for each of your products.
  2. We will brainstorm what additional benefits/features (if any) that are important to differentiate each product from its main competitors.
  3. For each product we build a matrix where the rows are competitors (and you) and the columns are the benefits we listed. For each we assign a rating (0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% supplies this benefit). This will eventually be represented with a circle that is 0%, 25%, 50%, 75% or 100% colored-in.
  4. Connect then prepares a document that contains this information for each product, as well as a short summary.
  5. After you review this document, we reconvene on the phone and gather your comments.
  6. Based on your comments we finalize the Product Level messaging.
  7. If necessary we repeat steps 3 and 4 until complete.

Measurement

Connectsm is driven by results — we judge our success by the exposure your company receives. Measuring the results of a marketing campaign can be a challenge, but Connectsm will work with you to determine your goals and the metrics by which to measure them.

We have developed a comprehensive set of tools to show you how effective your marketing is:

  • Metric determination
  • Custom URLs
  • Bit.ly integration
  • Impression tracking
  • Integration of interactions into lead generation/tracking system
  • Tracking of click-throughs and site activity

Connectsm also prepares regular reports detailing the results of our work. These reports list all the coverage you have received, including articles placed, case studies and all other media coverage. With Connectsm, you can see exactly what you get for your marketing dollar.

Writing

Good writing makes your audience understand or believe. Great writing does both.

Great writing is what we do; whether it is your company story, a press release, a blog post, a video script or the About Us section of your web site.

Connectsm can quickly learn new technologies and write in a way that makes the complex simple and compelling. We start by understanding who the audience is and the goals of written communication. Only then do we begin.

The types of writing the Connect can do include:

  • Corporate backgrounders
  • Product briefs
  • Brochures
  • Websites
  • Videos
  • Blog posts
  • Press releases
  • Byline articles
  • Buyer’s guides

When Symantec wanted to show that they are not only thought leaders in antivirus technology but also in enterprise security, they turned to Connectsm. Together we developed strategic messaging to establish Symantec’s thought leadership in enterprise security, by publishing an annual “state of enterprise security” threat report. The plan for the release included several strategic elements:

  • Worldwide release
  • Analyst and media pre-briefing strategy
  • Roundtable events
  • Bylines articles
  • Public policy briefings
  • “Profile of a Virus Hunter” campaign
  • Monthly summary of the top ten malicious threats
  • Access to security response experts

Through this strategic approach, Symantec’s annual security threat report has received extensive media attention. Symantec is now the first source the media look to for enterprise security developments.