Business Challenge and Objective
Businessolver, a software-as-a-service benefits technology company from Des Moines, Iowa, pursued a strong brand mission of “technology with heart.” Its high-touch, empathy-infused platform is designed to engage employees with benefits. Through its annual thought leadership study conducted by Edelman, an underlying issue pervasive in company culture was identified as a possible engagement detractor: the lack of organizational empathy and its impact on business bottom lines. With Businessolver on the cusp of launching its second annual thought leadership study, “Workplace Empathy Monitor in May of 2017,” a seemingly countless number of challenges and scandals were rocking U.S. businesses.
To cut through the noise, Businessolver focused its study launch marketing effort to engage specific audiences within the HR industry, media, existing customers, and prospects. This targeted approach aimed to raise awareness around empathy issues in organizations, and nurture existing and new prospects through a wholly integrated campaign utilizing earned news, events, creative content, and multi-channel advertising. This approach generated leads and led prospects down the decision path in their benefits technology purchase.
This campaign is the second launch of Businessolver’s “Workplace Empathy Monitor.” It’s an ongoing commitment by Businessolver to answer a specific challenge of its customers and prospects and be a leader in its industry. The first year of the study functioned as a test bed for the idea. This second report launch proved the value of a though leadership-based approach in bolstering and driving sales outcomes.
Insights and Strategy
Disengaged employees cost U.S. businesses billions each year, according to Gallup, a symptom of a changing and challenging business landscape. Businessolver and Edelman sought to define a topic that addressed workplace engagement. After conducting industry research and interviews with customers and prospects, Edelman identified empathy as a clear driver of engagement and a topic that was compelling to HR pros looking to improve how their employees specifically engaged with benefits throughout the year.
Through exploration of empathy in the workplace using the Workplace Empathy Monitor as a research vehicle, the company defined a creative platform centered around the concept. Based on research of the audience, it was clear a focused, personalized program that connected prospects, customers, and industry influencers to content on a personal level would be key to moving the sales needle for Businessolver.
Research findings were intertwined with the creative platform throughout the year and packaged into a comprehensive whitepaper, housed on a gated landing page. The whitepaper and messaging were further packaged into graphics, infographics, blog posts, and other forms of content personalized to each audience and purchasing decision phase. To effectively reach audiences along their purchase path, the company mapped execution to the channels that were most effective and relevant to each decision stage in Businessolver’s sales funnel, and then distributed the audience and decision-specific during the official launch, and throughout the remainder of 2017.
After developing a suite of content materials including a long-form executive summary, visual and social imagery, blog posts and other pieces, Edelman and Businessolver developed a promotional plan. The plan focused on engaging audiences with content. The company presented study findings at the Businessolver-organized, three event series, Vision 20/17, which gathered hundreds of existing users and prospects. In addition, the company conducted news media outreach and sponsorships to garner organic news coverage. Businnessolver also leveraged a third-party influencer at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business to participate in media engagements and event presentations. The company also launched IP address targeted display and paid social media targeting enabled by data partners, and delivered segmented lead generation and nurturing email marketing.
Following the campaign’s initial launch, Businessolver developed additional content throughout 2017 that built upon the core empathy study messaging. The Empathy Monitor became focal point of Businessolver’s lead generation, earned media, paid media, and more for the remainder of the year. This ongoing promotion was designed to nurture initial leads, with content coming in the form of webinars, revamped display, blog posts and social content.
The net lead pipeline increased with 478 qualified leads generated in just the first two months of the campaign. Among the existing 250 target accounts, 30 percent of target accounts showed increased engagement with Businessolver content through IP-address targeted display ads. More than 387 accounts moved through the sales pipeline after interacting specifically with targeted content. On average, 46 target accounts made repeat visits to the Businessolver site each month via targeted display ads. Earned media generated 16 articles in trade and mainstream news, in the likes of Entrepreneur, HR Dive, HR Daily Advisor, and more.
According to brand level research, a third of HR professionals had heard of Businessolver in relation to empathy, specifically with Businessolver’s empathy blog and social media content. Fifty-seven percent of HR professionals believe Businessolver is leading the benefits technology industry forward.
“The Business Impact of Empathy.” 2018 B2 Award Gold Winner, Integrated Marketing Communications (Division Integrated Comm Prog $250K – $1 million). Brand: Businessolver. Lead Agency: Edelman.