The company I work for, Avanade, is embarking on a new strategic marketing campaign called digital workplace. This integrated marketing communications evaluation and partial plan provide guidance on communications strategies and tactics Avanade can utilize to enhance the market awareness and audience recognition of its digital workplace campaign.
A Bit About Avanade
Avanade is a professional services firm that sell and implements technology solutions for businesses worldwide. The company focuses on helping its customers realize results in a digital world through business technology solutions and managed services that combine insight, innovation and expertise focused on Microsoft® technologies. Avanade combines the collective business, technical and industry expertise of its worldwide network of experts with the rigor of an industrialized delivery model to provide high quality solutions using proven and emerging technologies with flexible deployment models–on premises, cloud-based or outsourced. The company, which is majority owned by Accenture, was founded in 2000 by Accenture LLP and Microsoft Corporation and has 23,000 professionals in more than 20 countries.
Avanade’s target market is large business enterprises (for example, multi-national corporations) across the world. The company targets companies in multiple industries including retail, consumer goods, banking, insurance, health, energy, utilities, and communications. As a provider of technology solutions, Avanade first targets marketing and sales communications and interactions at the Chief Information Officer in these companies. However, as the line of business functions in many businesses become more involved in recommending technology purchases, Avanade has started to focus more attention on communicating to the line of business leaders. Line of business targets include executives and management in human resources, finance, field operations, sales, and marketing.
Avanade’s Strengths and Opportunities
Like all companies, Avanade had certain strengths and opportunities that guide its decision making. Here is how I see Avanade’s strengths and weaknesses:
The Need for an Integrated Marketing Communications Plan at Avanade
Avanade’s is on a multi-year journey to transform its service offerings to help its customers become digital businesses. Digitization is the significant technological force driving (and enabling) businesses of all types to rethink how they respond to markets and reshape their operations. Avanade desires to be the go-to digital technology adviser and implementer that helps businesses rethink and reinvent business models, employee and customer relationships, businesses partnerships and more in the digital age.
A major part of Avanade’s digital journey is its digital workplace initiative and campaign. Digital workplace focuses on helping businesses apply digital technology to redesign how people work so that every action, every day creates competitive business value. Digital capabilities provide the intelligence, information and personalization that match the distinct industry and context of each employee’s work role, requirements and environment to help optimize work performance.
As digital workplace is a new and unique go-to-market campaign and initiative for Avanade, a careful and well-thought out integrated marketing communications approach and plan is needed to inform and educate Avanade’s target market of the capabilities and benefits of digital workplace. Since this integrated marketing communications approach and plan will be supporting a digital business topic, it must embrace the characteristics and attributes of today’s digital age.
Embracing today’s digital age in its digital workplace campaign means that Avanade must consider carefully how today’s businesses evaluate and buy technology solutions and services. Research performed by SiriusDecisions shows that 7o% percent of a business buyer’s total purchase journey is managed digitally, including social media. Global consulting firm McKinsey refers to this change in buyer behavior as the new customer decision journey. This journey is circular, rather than linear, as customers self-guide themselves through different decision sources and paths rather than being guided in a linear path by a sales person. Avanade needs an integrated marketing communications approach and plan to help customers find, understand, and use the relevant, pertinent, and compelling information need to evaluate digital workplace needs, approaches, and technologies that ultimately help drive a purchase decision.
Recommendation for Avanade
Avanade has a unique opportunity to position itself as a leader in digital workplace strategy and solutions. A critical factor in determining if Avanade will capture this opportunity is how Avanade executes communications and conversations with its target market. As digital workplace is a new concept, significant market education must occur to build awareness and demand. Avanade can secure the opportunity to lead this education effort, which will put the company in a leadership position to sell and deliver digital workplace solutions.
Any communications plan Avanade executes must take advantage of Avanade’s unique market position. This position is Avanade’s relationship with Microsoft and Accenture that allows the company to market to Microsoft technology to Accenture’s customers, as well as Avanade’s direct customers. Accenture is seeking to be a leader in digital business. Hence, Avanade already has a large known target market in Accenture’s digital business target customer base to involve in extensive pull marketing. As such, Avanade’s integrated marketing communications plan for digital workplace should position Avanade as leading information source and trusted advisor to Microsoft and Accenture customers for everything about digital workplace strategies and solutions.
To become a leading information source and trusted advisor, Avanade must look beyond the traditional marketing communications tactics of blogs, social media posts, and event participation. While these tactics are essential in building market awareness across a general audience, Avanade must look at tactics that are highly focused on communicating with Accenture’s customers and prospects.
Marketing communications tactics to use with Accenture’s customers must allow Accenture’s extensive network of sales people to deliver content directly these customers in a compelling way that grabs attention. In other words, the content must be packaged and presented in a way that encourages Accenture’s time-starved customers to engage and interact with the content.
With these factors in mind, the recommended marketing communications tactic for Avanade to adopt immediately in support of its digital workplace campaigns is a quarterly interactive newsletter. This newsletter would be distributed directly key Accenture and Avanade customers and prospects. It would take on the high quality of design and content found in the best the technology and strategy newsletters, such as the McKinsey Quarterly.
Recommended features of the Avanade digital workplace quarterly newsletter include:
- Electronically delivered as a summary email with links to a dedicated newsletter website.
- Presents highlights of key digital workplace content curated and created throughout the previous quarter.
- Presents at least two new feature articles on a digital workplace topics. Ideally, one article from a quest author (outside of Avanade or Accenture).
- Enables linking to interactive demonstrations of capabilities mentioned in at least one of the articles. This allows the newsletter to become live and encourages readers to engage with real-life examples of the content.
Through its digital newsletter and supporting digital and social marketing tactics, the Avanade digital workplace campaign can position Avanade as an information leader and trusted advisor on all things digital workplace. By taking advantage of its unique access to Accenture’s customers, Avanade can turn the newsletter into a highly valuable pull marketing tools that build awareness and ultimately, sales pipeline.