Third-Party Service Provider Marketing

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Third-Party Service Provider Marketing

This research provides ten case studies of successful marketing campaigns from third-party service providers, as well as three best practices for marketing third-party services. Notable companies analyzed in this brief include Korn Ferry, Shred-it, and PwC. To market third-party services, it is important to leverage opt-ins, social media, and redirected calls-to-action. While best practices that cut across all third-party segments are not available, the third-party logistics industry has been used as a benchmark, with statistics and examples to validate the effectiveness of these practices.


Korn Ferry — Global Industry Recognition

  • Challenge: Korn Ferry (KF), a global executive search firm, had acquired Hay Group, a management consultancy, in an effort to build a comprehensive organizational and people consultancy firm. By collaborating with a marketing agency, Man Bites Dog, it aimed to challenge growing misconceptions that technology would make people less important in their jobs.
  • Ultimately, the goal was "to create a global c-suite thought leadership campaign to substantiate its brand positioning as an organizational consultancy."
  • Solution: Korn Ferry and Hay Group launched the Global Talent Crunch campaign, in an attempt to position Korn Ferry "as the go-to experts with powerful insights to share." The agency created a content program to highlight Korn Ferry’s expert consulting capabilities and eventually generate beneficial C-Suite conversations. This content program was rolled out in three stages.
  • First, the campaign used the "Talent Crunch" concept to "[challenge] the accepted model of labor economics, which assumes supply will always keep pace with demand". A new model was then created by the campaign. This generated a strong call to action for Korn Ferry’s "talent services by revealing a shortage of 85.2 million skilled workers globally by 2030, threatening $8.5 trillion in lost annual GDP."
  • Secondly, KF used the "Salary Surge" to showcase its reward capabilities. To achieve this, the firm revealed that there would be "a $2.5 trillion rise in annual payrolls globally by 2030, threatening companies’ profitability."
  • In the third stage, Korn Ferry used the "Talent Shift" concept to refresh and relaunch its strategic workforce planning services. KF used opinion research to reveal the talent blind-spot of the C-Suite. Korn Ferry revealed: "while 84% of leaders believe they will need more highly skilled workers in the future, just one in ten has a long-term talent plan."
  • This campaign engaged the C-Suite which usually difficult to reach. It was done by establishing a connection between talent and financial performance, and by providing relevant sector and country data.
  • Results: Through the Global Talent Crunch campaign, Korn Ferry was successful in positioning itself "as a global thought leader on talent, generating exceptional media coverage." Also, KF’s most successful media campaign surpassed media targets by over 900%. It also achieved a global impact.
  • The campaign achieved over 600 pieces of worldwide media coverage. It received an online readership of 1.1 billion, a reach of 178 million, and 157,000 social shares. Also, "media results drove the largest ever spike in web mentions and traffic."

New York Life — Brand Awareness and Reach

  • Challenge: The New York Life Insurance Company is a Fortune 100 company that was founded in 1845. It is one of the largest life insurers in the world, providing insurance, retirement services, investment, and financial products. The company hoped to boost its brand awareness and increase its reach.
  • The company also sought to measure the effectiveness of using "a cross-platform approach that combined Facebook and TV ads, compared to TV only."
  • Solution: To achieve its aim, New York Life partnered with a creative agency, Anomaly, to build and measure the effectiveness of its cross-platform campaign — “Be Good at Life”. The creative agency helped to re-purpose New York Life's TV ads; these ads were optimized for Facebook and Instagram.
  • Anomaly designed the "Be Good at Life" campaign to appeal to different generations; however, the focus was on the needs and interests of young families. This campaign encouraged people "to make a plan to protect their families and be insured by New York Life."
  • Celebrities were also featured in the ads, highlighting the benefits of patronizing New York Life.
  • Results: The campaigns that combined TV and Facebook ads were displayed from April 3 to June 2017, while the Facebook media ads were displayed between June 19 and July 12, 2017. In combination, these ads were found to be more effective than running TV ads alone.
  • Running in automatic placements on Facebook and Instagram, the campaign achieved an "11% incremental reach with Facebook, compared to TV alone." Also, there was a "4-point lift in brand awareness with Facebook and TV, compared to TV alone."
  • Compared to using TV channels alone, this campaign was also three times more efficient at reaching an audience aged 25-54 years when running Facebook ads. Additionally, the cross-platform campaign had three times "more efficient incremental reach for Facebook alone compared to TV alone".

Castle Security — Website Inquiries and Traffic

  • Challenge: Castle Security is a Western Australian company that designs, supplies, and installs commercial, government, and residential security systems. The company has been operating in "the Perth Metropolitan Area and all country areas of Western Australia, for the past 20 years."
  • The company aimed to increase inquiries on its website, grow its traffic, and increase the ranking of its keywords.
  • Solution: To create a strategy for Castle Security‘s search engine optimization (SEO) campaign, the first step was to identify a strong mix of phrases and keywords that are searched regularly by potential commercial and residential Castle Security customers.
  • Various SEO tactics were used to support these keywords, including content strategy and paid search campaigns. By running both search engine management (SEM) ads and web re-targeting, Castle Security could be seen whenever potential customers were simply surfing the web, as well as when these people were actively searching for keywords that are relevant to the company's business.
  • Also, to support the customer journey, the Castle Security website was optimized regularly in order to improve its usability and grow conversions.
  • Results: By combining SEM, SEO, web management, and web re-targeting, Castle Security has achieved optimal results. Through this approach, Castle Security's SEO keywords grew by 405 places overall. Also, website sessions have risen by 51.09%. Castle Security's goal completions also grew by 316%.

SnackNation — Leads

  • Challenge: SnackNation is a subscription service that finds and delivers healthy snacks from a variety of brands. These snacks are delivered at homes and offices. The company's goal was to generate more leads by converting existing traffic from blogs.
  • Before using OptinMonster, the company's lead generation attempts were not productive. SnackNation "needed more control over the placement and triggers of their opt-ins in order to segment users effectively."
  • Solution: To tackle this challenge, they decided to use OptinMonster. The first step taken by SnackNation was to use content upgrades to increase its leads. Content upgrades are important pieces of information offered on a website in exchange for a visitor’s email address. These content upgrades are tailored to the specific content of the post or page that a visitor is reading.
  • For instance, after a visitor read its article titled "101 Inspirational and Motivational Quotes for Work", the company "offered the entire list of 101 motivational quotes, compiled into one PDF." This offer was shared with visitors using a MonsterLink from OptinMonster.
  • Once "a visitor clicks the text, “Download this entire list as a PDF,” an opt-in appears containing a subscription form." After subscribing, the PDF is delivered to its converted subscribers on a confirmation page, and through an email. 56.97% of readers that click the MonsterLink are converted.
  • SnackNation went further to enable Exit-Intent, adding a full-screen opt-in with the same offer. The Exit-Intent tool triggers an opt-in whenever a visitor’s mouse moves towards the browser bar; this is usually an indication that the visitor is about to leave the website. Therefore, one final enticing offer is made just before the visitor leaves. This opt-in has a conversation rate of 3.53% for abandoning visitors.
  • SnackNation also used Exit-Intent offers on its Free Trial page. When a visitor attempts to leave the trial page without completing it, the visitor is shown a full-screen opt-in that prompts that visitor to check out a bonus offer before leaving. For abandoning visitors, this opt-in has a conversion rate of 31.85%.
  • Finally, SnackNation smartly segments its website visitors into two groups: home and office. Users who are ordering snacks for an office are simply kept on the same page, while those who are ordering for home use are redirected to SnackNation’s subscription service. Since the decision-making process varies for each segment, this segmentation helps users achieve their aim faster, thereby improving the overall user experience and saving time.
  • Results: By segmenting its users and using opt-ins, 1,200 new emails are added to SnackNation's list every week. Also, the company converts 15 to 20 qualified leads daily.
  • Another remarkable benefit of this strategy is the fact that SnackNation converts 31.85% of its abandoning visitors.

Home Renovation Company — Business Growth

  • Challenge: In 2015, one of Laire Group's clients, a certain home renovation company, was generating up to $1.5 million in sales revenue yearly. While this company was making an impact and achieving results, it was getting most of its new business from referrals. The company had challenges with growing its customer base and getting larger projects. Within one year, the business was only "getting about 40 home improvement leads from [its] website."
  • Specifically, the company's brand image was limiting its growth. It had minimal social media presence and very little activity on its channels. Also, there were no communication channels to help the business stay in touch with its website visitors or prospective clients. The home renovation business wanted to increase its revenue and average job size.
  • Solution: To address the issues faced by this home remodeling business, Laire Group started with six months of social media efforts, after which it developed an inbound marketing strategy. A complete website redesign and re-branding was done, as well as "HubSpot website migration and integration, content marketing plan, and paid ads strategy."
  • Direct marketing campaigns were done, alongside a facelift, to reach non-digital clients. These mails were targeted to areas that were close to recently renovated buildings.
  • For the website, detailed research was conducted on the company's brand and its buyer personas; this ensured that the messaging, content, and imagery resonated with the correct audience and also felt helpful. Targeted digital advertising was also leveraged.
  • Results: Halfway through 2016, as soon as the company's website redesign was completed, there was "a lift in traffic, viable leads, and quality of projects."
  • In 2016, the company made sales of $1,980,000, representing a 32% growth from 2015. By 2017, sales revenue grew to $2,109,000, a 6% growth from 2016. By 2018, sales grew to $2,414,310; this was a 14% growth from 2017.
  • In terms of leads, the business grew from 52 to 66 between 2016 and 2017. By 2018, the company had 218 leads. Website traffic also grew from 450 monthly visits in 2016 to 1,310 monthly visits by 2018.

Hectare Agritech — Awareness, Subscribers, and Acceptability

  • Challenge: Hectare Agritech is a start-up focused on transforming the way farmers sell, buy, and pay for their produce. The company wanted to grow the profile of SellMyStock — its online trading platform — and to make people aware of the potential for trading livestock online. Hectare also wanted to find out whether its services would be demanded in new international markets.
  • Solution: The company's strategy was to encourage farmers to start using data more efficiently and to trade their livestock online. Also, it wanted to prove to "the wider public that, contrary to popular opinion, farmers use and rely on technology day-to-day."
  • Hectare collaborated with Octopus Group to develop an app — Tudder. This was done with a public relations and social campaign focused on Valentine's Day. Tudder was built like a simple dating app designed for cattle. It worked liked Tinder, allowing users to swipe right or left on the profiles of bulls and cows.
  • For every successful match, a mooing sound effect was heard. From the cow or bull's profile, the interested party was then led to the SellMyLivestock platform. Once at SellMyLivestock, the person could find more information.
  • The aim was to "put ‘livestock love on the media agenda’." Also, cards that were tailored to the Valentine theme were mailed to important journalists. Exclusive briefings were held with media contacts, as well as a mixed social media campaign.
  • A creative set of assets were given to media outlets for coverage; this included lighthearted livestock and farm photography. Hectare and the Octopus Group interviewed farmers at farms. These farmers addressed important issues around agriculture, technology usage, and the well-being of their peers.
  • Results: With a marketing budget of just £22,500, Hectare Agritech "generated awareness, direct engagement with the campaign app, and led to a dramatic increase in subscribers to the SellMyLivestock platform."
  • This campaign received global attention on major commercial and public news outlets, including BBC, The Guardian, The New York Post, and Reuters. Tudder also received widespread coverage on several international news channels, including France 24, FOX24 News, Russia Today, CNN, Antena 3 Noticias, and TomoNews.

Shred-it — Awareness, Relationships, and Revenue Opportunities

  • Challenge: Shred-it is one of the leading information security companies in the United Kingdom, providing advice on data protection as well as secure shredding services for businesses of all sizes in the public, private, and third sectors. The company wanted to consolidate its position in the enterprise market.
  • Although Shred-it is an expert in its field, the company operates in a crowded marketplace and was faced with the challenge of submitting tenders for larger opportunities. This is a process that usually takes time and relies on building relationships.
  • To differentiate its brand and reiterate the company's position as an expert and market leader in data destruction services, Shred-it "needed a bold, creative proposition to make an immediate impact, followed by a smart, nurture strategy to take prospects through to a qualified opportunity." This inspired the launch of its marketing campaign — ‘The Art of Destruction’.
  • Solution: Really B2B assisted Shred-it to create a campaign theme that summarized how the company wanted to portray itself to its enterprise audience. Using the words ‘The Art of Destruction’ in its campaign message, Shred-it positioned itself "as the ultimate authority in data destruction — providing customers with complete peace of mind."
  • It used the confidence of its campaign statement to inspire the confidence of its prospects. The company's choice of words told its audience that Shred-it is the complete expert that can use its skill and innovation to turn the destruction of confidential materials into an art form.
  • The campaign also leveraged a creative direct mail concept, a landing page with a strong call-to-action message, HTML emails to follow up on the direct mail, lead generation emails delivered in plain text, sponsored posts on LinkedIn, and telemarketing.
  • Results: According to Andrew Johnston, Shred-it's EMEA marketing and public relations director, the campaign achieved exactly what the company needed it to. Among large enterprises, The Art of Destruction broke down barriers. The campaign generated appointments with Tesco, M&Co, ITV, Unipart Logistics, New Look, Mail Boxes Etc, and DS Smith.
  • The campaign also generated a 1,321% pipeline return on investment and an HTML click-through target of 1,011%. Also, 160% of the campaign's inbound lead target was achieved, with a £1.2 million sales pipeline.

PwC — Relationships, Client Experience, Awareness

  • Challenge: Through its CFO Quest program, PwC wanted to create a better client experience throughout its client journey. The company hoped to increase retention, create loyalty and advocacy, and generate client engagement in the long term.
  • Ultimately, PwC wanted to differentiate itself from competitors and remain relevant in today's complex and evolving world.
  • Solution: In collaboration with the London Business School, PwC provided a comprehensive and structured program that combined practical business experience with academic knowledge to get future finance professionals prepared as they progress towards chief financial officer (CFO) roles.
  • To provide a tailored and personal experience for its priority clients, the company leveraged its internal networks. An internal communications plan was used as the primary driver. By asking the lead relationship partners of its priority accounts to nominate their clients, PwC created an approach that was exclusive and by invitation only.
  • Results: At the end of the program, PwC conducted a client satisfaction survey. It found that "96% of delegates rated the overall program as ‘exceeded expectations’".
  • The program also had an advocacy score of 100%, implying that all participating clients would recommend the program. PwC also achieved an app engagement of 100%. The company also generated revenue of £250,000 within the first six months.

Atos — New Business and ROI

  • Challenge: Atos is a leading company in digital services, providing cloud, high- performance computing, cybersecurity, big data, BPO, business applications, and digital workplace solutions. The company wanted to position itself ahead of competitors and increase the number of new business won, improve its win rate on deals, and deliver a very high return on investment (ROI).
  • Solution: To achieve its aim, Atos applied ABM technologies, methodologies, and techniques to win new deals. Its marketers spent "50% of their day supporting deals and [working] collectively on 10-15 deals each day."
  • For this campaign, Atos targeted senior prospect/client buyers on its deals/bids, including board level personnel such as CEOs, COOs, CFOs, and CPOs. The campaign also targeted the direct reports of these individuals, covering both the public and private sector markets.
  • Three specialist agencies were used during this campaign. Agent3 was contracted to build a client insight team within marketing. This team was tasked with providing "deal-based client insight on individual stakeholders."
  • It also engaged Coterie to deliver messaging/value propositions by working with the company's marketers on industry/market-based "content that is re-used and tailored to each deal."
  • The third agency, Oliver, joined an onsite creative team to work on each deal, providing personalized, individual, and digital creative for every deal.
  • Results: Through this campaign, Atos achieved a "167% increase in new business won over a three-year period (against 50% target)." Also, it obtained a "76% deal win rate in 2018/2019 (compared with a 34% win rate in 2015/2016) (42% increase compared with 20% target)."
  • The company also acquired 18 new clients in 2018/2019, a great improvement from three new clients in the 2015/2016 period. Atos achieved a 40:1 return on investment during the 2018/2019 period, exceeding its 50:1 target.

B2B Logistics Company — New Deals

  • Challenge: Callbox was contracted to market a client that specializes in providing logistics solutions to wholesale, retail, manufacturing, technology, and home delivery businesses throughout the United States.
  • This client wanted Callbox to help search for retail businesses that fit its target market and to contact key individuals in charge of home delivery and logistics operations. Also, Callbox was tasked with screening these clients further and scheduling qualified contacts for introductory meetings.
  • Solution: As the company's outsourced marketing partner, Callbox "launched a targeted appointment setting campaign". In its execution, the agency combined email, LinkedIn, phone, and AdWords. Details on the strategy used by Callbox can be obtained by simply filling out a short form (name, company name, and work email) and downloading the full case study.
  • Results: Through this campaign, the logistics company was able to close three of the appointments generated by Callbox. These deals were closed with new customers, helping the company earn $6 million through the new sales.


Leveraging Opt-in Opportunities

  • Not all users that visit a site are aware of the services or products offered. These visitors may also not be aware of the benefits of choosing that particular company over others. Therefore, to show visitors what a company has to offer, it is important to fill up the site with several opt-in opportunities such as newsletter sign-ups and popups that prompt users to allow notifications whenever new content is released.
  • Most of the opt-in opportunities that are placed in the sidebar of a web page are easily ignored by visitors. This happens because visitors tend to remain focused on the main content. Placing opt-in buttons in a pop-up box can effectively engage visitors and convert them into valuable leads.
  • For users who are visiting a site for the first time, it is important to offer them "downloadable white papers, eBooks, infographics, and slide decks to facilitate a better understanding of [the] brand." On the other hand, existing leads and customers should be guided and prompted to contact sales, try out services/products for free or view live demos. This helps to prove the credibility of a brand and acquire more leads.
  • The following statistics prove why this is one of the best practices:
    • According to OptinMonster, "44% of users check their email for a deal from brands." Also, emails reach nearly 85% of people. The average open rate for an email is roughly 23%, with a click-through rate of 3.71%. In terms of engagement, emails outperform Facebook, Twitter, Instagram that "have an engagement rate of only 0.6%."
    • Insights for Professionals report that email marketing has a return on investment of 4400%. Also, email marketing yields $44 as returns for every $1 spent, making it "the most cost-efficient digital marketing channel".
    • SnackNation, a prominent third-party snack delivery service, uses opt-ins to add 1,200 new emails to its list every week. Also, the company converts 15 to 20 qualified leads daily.
    • According to Nikki McGonigal, opt-ins that are delivered as "pop-ups drive 1375% more subscribers" than those placed on sidebars.

Redirecting Calls-to-Action

  • To convert a website's visitors to leads, companies should not focus on making them click on call-to-action (CTA) buttons alone, it is also extremely important to link the CTA buttons to a dedicated landing page. The landing page captures visitors' information via a conversion form.
  • The following statistics prove why this is one of the best practices:
    • By using multiple calls-to-action, Fulcrum Gallery increased its conversions by 20%.
    • A Scandinavian workout facilities chain generated "68% more conversions by writing a call to action that addressed users’ immediate concern of location."
    • Shred-it, a leading information security company in the UK, used a strong call-to-action message on its landing page to achieve remarkable results, including a 1,321% pipeline return on investment.

Leveraging Social Media

  • While it is important to use popular social networking platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to expand a network or grow the brand awareness, these platforms have proven to offer more benefits besides connecting with people.
  • Since retailers are using social media to update their customers with the latest products and influence purchase decisions, it is very vital that third-party service providers leverage this technology to stay updated on their customers’ needs.
  • The following statistics prove why this is one of the best practices:
    • Generally, "78% of customers agree that their purchasing decisions are highly influenced by the posts, updates and tweets sent out by companies." Studies reveal "that 63% of customers are highly likely to purchase a service/product with positive online reviews over products with no reviews or online presence at all."
    • Top logistics companies such as C.H. Robinson leverage Twitter in "pushing their transportation services to the target audience."
    • DHL, one of the largest logistics companies in the world, uses social media to stay connected and relevant to its core customers. As an inbound marketing technique, the company uses social media strategies across Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to engage its audience.