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Content Marketing Campaign of the Week: ADP

We see a lot of great content marketing examples for B2C organizations, but where is the B2B love? In 28 content marketing campaign of the week posts only two of the featured companies could be considered B2B. Shame on me considering I’ve worked primarily for B2B companies during my career. It’s true that we hear more about the B2C publicity because they tell stories on a personal level, and they are speaking to individuals instead of businesses. But that doesn’t mean B2B content marketing campaigns are any less creative or effective.

In the 2014 B2B Content Marketing Research study by Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, results showed that 90% of B2B marketers are using content marketing, and 44% have a documented content marketing strategy. This is a core concept that has been lost on many practitioners, you need a strategy. Many people say they do content marketing, but they don’t have goals, metrics or results they can show you.

Automatic Data Processing (better known to all of us who get a paycheck as ADP) is an example of a company that created a strategy and followed through with content marketing efforts, earning monumental results. People often complain that it’s hard to do content marketing with a boring product. You don’t ge

The Value Added Services division of ADP, along with the help of agency Stein IAS, created a quarterly, multi-touch campaign mixing digital materials and other collateral. The results are staggering:  $1 million in new sales opportunities. In 2014, ADP attributed $3.7 million in closed business to its content marketing and an ROI for the effort in the first three quarters of 905%.t more plain or droll than payroll and human resource management. So what did ADP do?

Here are a few lessons to learn from ADP’s success:

1.       Set yourself up for success:  Determine how you will measure success or failure

If you don’t monitor your data, you don’t know how you did. If a weight lifter trains for a year and at the end can bench press 300 pounds, great. But how do you know how much he actually improved? Maybe he could press 295 to start with and his training wasn’t really all that successful.

Where do you start with numbers for marketing? Everywhere and anywhere. Whatever data you can get your hands on about your sales pipeline, revenue, followers and likes on social media, web traffic, in-bound calls, database size, etc. is useful. Prior to this multi-touch campaign that started in late 2012, ADP hadn’t run a trackable digital campaign. Head of Brand Management Jim Ferrauilo stated they didn’t even use landing pages before then.

2.       Have clear objectives

Some people confuse objectives with measuring success or failure. The simple difference to ask yourself is what outcome you want to accomplish. Whether it’s actionable or awareness based, what do you want people to do? All of the KPIs can go toward measuring how much you’ve accomplished, but make sure you have a consistent message that follows your objective, both internally to fellow employees and stakeholders, and externally to the customers. ADP had a clear business objective:  build awareness and demand for ADP Workforce Now; One clear goal.

3.       Know your target audience

In promoting their Workforce Now software, the campaign strategy was to associate customer pain points with the Workforce Now solution from ADP. To determine these pain points, they defined their audience as businesses between 50-999 employees as the prime audience. Further, they identified HR decision makers, chief human resource officers and midsize business owners as the people within those businesses. Finally, they used their own research about top concerns of midsize business owners in a post-2008 economy to develop a persona and read into what are the true concerns of their ideal buyer.

4.       Offer something different that captures attention of your target audience

Is payroll exciting? Doubtfully. But ADP created content that made peoples’ jobs easier and informed them of a massive change in their profession (the Affordable Care Act). Take a look at the ADP tools and resources page. The infographics are informative AND pleasing to the eye. This short style of information is easy to digest, much easier than reading 100s of pages of legal jargon that affects the HR of a company.

Not only were these infographics on the site and distributed via social media, this and other content such as white papers, online videos and case studies were leveraged with display advertising, industry publications, and stalwarts like Forbes and The Wall Street Journal.

5.       Test different ideas

The more you test, the more likely it is you will find the best solution. When you know what works you can invest more in that and let the less successful ideas fizzle. About the ADP content marketing strategy, Ferrauilo said, “We refocused the entire campaign on five strategies to help navigate healthcare reform – specifically for midsize business. We did a lot of optimization along the way – pulling out elements that just weren’t working – and the response rate went way up.

The bottom line is that there is no one way to do marketing anymore. A content marketing strategy is unique to every organization, and success depends on the ability to create a plan, follow it, test it, measure it, and adjust when needed. This type of content marketing can attribute to hard sells of products and services, for B2B and B2C companies, but it’s the ability to measure and report findings that will give a voice and recognition to deserving marketers.

Note:  Much of the information in this post came from the Advertising Age article ADP Content Campaign Pays Off.

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