This post is warmly recreated in rememberance of Jamie DePeau, who passed on February 20, 2016.
How can you convert a humble, sales-focused company into a B2B marketing dynamo?
A few years ago, I checked in with Lincoln Financial Group, a historically, sales-based organization, which made a complete, 180-degree turn over the course of one year. The financial services, insurance, and annuities business – over a century old – stormed out with an innovative marketing campaign that transformed it into a major media and marketing player. Among other accolades, during that time frame, the corporation was named Communicator of the Year by the Business Marketing Association of New York.
How did that success come about? Today, we'll revisit this incredible story, told just a few years back. The principles presented are just as valid today, and will help you to create a successful marketing campaign.
Lincoln Financial -- A Story of Success
Credit goes to Jamie DePeau, the company’s CMO, who joined the team from TIAA-CREF. She clearly brought a strategic marketing focus with her. Although Lincoln had already begun heading in a new direction before DePeau grabbed the reigns, DePeau introduced the integrated marketing mindset to PR, advertising, and social media.
Earlier, Lincoln Financial had done research indicating that the more control people have over certain aspects of their lives, including their finances, the better they feel about their life’s direction.
Lincoln Financial, in cooperation with its agency, gyro, used findings from that research to develop a "Chief Life Officer" campaign. It aimed to empower consumers by appealing to their optimism and ability to take charge of their lives. In past times, Lincoln, which offers its products through intermediaries like employers, advisers, and agents, had targeted the middlemen instead of the end user: the consumer.
"On launch day, our new campaign promoted everyone to CEO of his or her own life. A position we refer to as the “Chief Life Officer,” said DePeau. "It recognizes the fact that our lives are in many ways like a business. We’re in charge of making major decisions, managing our finances and keeping morale positive. The primary message is that you’re the boss of your life, and Lincoln Financial is here to help you take charge."
After the launch, DePeau initiated additional research. To Lincoln Financial’s surprise, consumers, especially women, were more optimistic about their ability to influence their future than Lincoln had expected. In fact, the MOOD of America Survey showed that about 75% of women said they were optimistic about the future compared to 66% of men.
Based upon these findings, Lincoln Financial created an integrated campaign of PR, advertising, social media, as well as educational content, all geared towards Lincoln Financial and women.
"We tend to believe that because we're speaking to the business or consumer community, our advertising doesn’t have to be emotionally driven," said DePeau. "You must incorporate the emotional component, plus help educate the consumer, instead of merely talking to them.
"While others in the category tended to use fear in their advertising, we believed the time was right to try a different, more optimistic approach."
Integrating public relations, social media, and advertising, the campaign featured a video of women of all ages showing how they take charge of their lives. It also provided educational content to help women do just that. The PR was driven from the research results. The Chief Life Officer ads carried on the "take charge, optimistic theme," which was restated through social media.
And how has the integrated campaign turned out?
After having been released for four months, brand awareness is up, according to DePeau, and among the consumers aware of the campaign, all key attributes that influence consideration and purchase behavior have increased by double digits.
DePeau's 5 Tips on Creating a Successful Integrated B2B Marketing Campaign
1. Research-centric approach: "The entire time we researched our target audience and watched our competitors to make sure we completely understood American’s attitudes after 2008 and expectations for their financial services partner, plus how to significantly differentiate a financial services brand from it’s competition."
2. Emotion first: Appeal to people’s emotions as well as logic. Finance is an extremely emotional and personal issue. "We weren’t afraid to initially approach it with emotion and then provide tools and education after the emotional appeal."
3. Integrated campaign: PR and internal brand communications are just as crucial as advertising.
4. Media partnerships: Initiated focused, vertically cohesive media partnerships that lengthened reach while experimenting with new media channels.
5. Inside out: "Internal branding started first and our November 2010 launch was focused on employees. We wanted to get employees across the country engaging with the new campaign and turning into brand ambassadors for Lincoln."