It's fair to say Tail-F was skeptical of marketing agencies in general. A samll Swedish company focused on the service provider space, Tail-f was stacked with whip-smart, deeply technical talent. CTO Hakan Milroth, for example, had taught computer science at Uppsala University and worked in technical roles at Ericsson and Nortel. VP of Technology Calle Moberg was a key contributor to many of the industry's leading standards bodies.
So when American Renee Stromberg took the job of VP of Marketing in 2011, the first thing she has to overcome was Tail'f's mistrust of marketing. "The executives had not had good experiences in the past with marketing agencies." says Stromberg. "Agencies were seen as week, non-technical and in-effective."
Stromberg knew she needed to bring in an agency her executives could trust and respect. Connect Marketing was her first choice. Stromberg says, "I had worked with Connect at F5 Networks and been very impressed with their professionalism and depth of technical knowledge." She showed her new bosses a poster Connect had done laying out F5's service provider technology in a simple, engaging way. "That caught their attention. At that point they realized they needed a way to simplify their message, and that perhaps Connect could help."
At the time it took Tail-f nearly an hour to explain their story to prospects. Connect's first assignment was to find a way to tell the basics of Tail-f's story in 3 minutes. Connect's founder, Neil Myers, worked with Tail-f for 3 weeks and ultimately did exactly that.
"Everyone was pleased with the messaging work, so I knew they would be open for additional help from Connect," explains Stromberg. From this intial work, Connect created a series of simple vidoes that explained Tail-f and their key products and revamped Tail-f's branding and website.
Stromberg relates a story about the website that illustrates how effective Connect had been. "Early on Neil made the comment that for Tail-f to be taken seriously, they needed to look more global and less Swedish. About three months after the rebrand our CEO sent me an email he had received. One of Sweden's largest service providers said he was very interested in our technology and wondered if Tail-f had anyone in Sweden who could contact him. We knew right then Tail-f had become a global brand."
Connect suggested Tail-f start a formal public relation program. "Even I was skeptical," says Stromberg. "I had no experience with PR and was unsure about how it would benefit us, but Connect had our trust, so we gave them the go ahead." The program was successful, helping build Tail-f's sales pipeline. "I had people from inbound sales thanking me for all the leads," says Stromberg. "Connect had hit the ball out of the park"
At this point Tail-f was growing rapidly. "Our technology is amazing, and fills a crucial need," explains Stromberg. "Connect had helped get that word out, and sales were steadily increasing. The next step for us was to institute a formal inbound marketing program."
Stromberg knew she wanted Connect to run this important program. Connect helped build personas, flowchart each persona's journey to revenue, build an overall content map, and implement a comprehensive inbound marketing program. The goal was to attract new prospects, and nurture these contacts until they were ready for sales to formally engage.
"The results were stunning," says Stromberg. "In the initial six months organic traffic was up 234 percent, our email open rate was 35 percent - more than double industry averages, and our click-through rate was 18 percent, almost 10 times industry averages." The success of Tail-f's inbound marketing program actually caused a few headaches for Stromberg. "We had so many qualified leads that I had to jump on the phone and help with sales for about 3 months," laughts Stromberg. "I have never seen anything take off so fast."
In the end, Connect Marketing was able to turn Tail-f's skepticism about marketing agencies into confidence and trust. And, along the way, help Tail-f grow while adding more than a few new customers.