Tektronix - Americas Marketing Campaign
Tektronix Americas Campaign 2004
Tektronix requested a year long marketing strategy to promote their new line of Oscilloscope products to existing and new business clients. The campaign will be a combination of email, direct mail, and event centric campaign strategies that will coordinate with marketing promotions and public relations efforts.
The campaign strategy included a custom built email and direct mail marketing system, web response sites and outbound email services. The web response sites displayed campaign dependent content based on each user's unique PIN number. The numbers were auto-logged upon a click in an email and were manually entered when the participant came from a direct mail. The web response site accepted click-through from external lists and email services.
The web response site captured which users entered the site, where they clicked, and providing they filled out the registration form auto populate the participant's contact information, as well as the answers they gave to the marketing questions. We also utilized give away and drawing to increase participate interest.
The customers' records were then exported into Tektronix's XML DTD format for importation into their Marketing database for further lead generation classification. We provided new XML template files for each new campaign launch at least 48 hours in advance to verify the data integrity. The XML template was provided until we could setup automated exporting services.
The year long campaign contained 23 separate direct and email campaigns. Each campaign contained an average of 12 to at most, 60 separate email and direct mail customer lists. Each list contained a range of a few thousand to a hundred thousand customers provided by Tektronix Marketing (house lists) or via 3rd party vendors. For each campaign we had to build a campaign response website, email templates, setup the tracking and reporting harness, and manage all of the customer lists.
The results of the year long campaign were very good for the client. The client had over 200 qualified leads that resulted in a 70% follow through in sales. This was huge! Considering the fact that each sale meant roughly a sale of over 1 to 5 million (on average) which meant a very good sales year for the client.
This was a very challenging series of projects, both logistically and politically. I was brought into the middle of the project where about three months had progressed and no work had been accomplished. Or I should say no technically oriented work had been accomplished. Sure email scripts had been written and portal interface designs has been presented. But no development had been accomplished to meet the technical scope of the project. I did my best to assess the current scope of the project and coordinate the one additional developer available to start working on the tasks at hand. The "previous" technical manager for the project decided to gain time by reusing the source code for the CMD Direct and Database Marketing Tool that would have been fine, however the plan was to add significantly complex new features to the system while also building a dynamically managed portal service for the upcoming campaigns. Add to the need for a XML based web-services exporting service that had conflicting business rules and no personnel to manage the events and you can see how daunting such a project could become.
As I stated, I was not involved with the original project scope and budget. As a result the budget for the development; let alone the individual campaigns, were horribly under estimated. Throughout the six months I managed each individual campaign and the development of the system I constantly contended with the management and sales staff that it took more hours and required more developers than they had budget for. It was very challenging, and if they wanted the work to get done we needed to spend the hours and resources required to meet the promises made to the client. Needless to say, I was not a very popular guy during that time.
As the number of concurrent campaigns increased the workload quadrupled and I had a hard time keeping all of the tactics in order for all of the campaigns and management, and development required; especially when my staff was cut in half and at one time I only had one part-time developer assigned to help me! The thought was to squeeze the developer time to keep the project on budget. Again a common tactic for the then sales and management department. Sadly such vigilance was not taken with the design and marketing departments who seemed to always go 80 to 130% over their budgets on every campaign. As a team we had to work hard to keep the projects in line and meet the campaign deadlines.But somehow I didn't feel that everyone had the same "team spirit" that I was trying to instill.
I worked hard with the producer (a project manager) and the sales and management team to build a bridge of trust between us and to talk to me first before promising the world to the client. Several times I had to use tough love with the sales staff as they promised new features or set deadlines without checking with each department head. All of the strife didn't improve anything and at its worse we looked horribly unprofessional to our clients.
Understaffed and over worked our plight got even worse as the New Technology Director was convinced that 3rd party vendors could do the job better than our internal team. So he diverted project funds to support a small 3rd party vendor to slowly take over a few campaigns. The strategy was a failure, we estimated that a campaign would cost on average about $25,000 to produce in-house and based on our budget observations it cost double that average figure to accomplish the same campaign using a 3rd party vendor. Add to the fact that the vendor only supplied about 1/3rd of the features and services our existing system could provide and you could see how poor the decision was. This was even more of a headache because now that we were using a separate system we couldn't get accurate statistics and figures to coordinate previous campaign results.
It was a challenge to manage and address but I did my best to support the direction I was tasked to accomplish. I also made it my duty to inform the technology director of the facts and figures behind the strategy he instructed us to undertake. He was not pleased and took two additional developers off my campaigns to support other projects. So instead of wallowing in despair I decided the best way to get things done was to organize the process, streamline it and set rules for what was within scope and what was out of scope. Sure this would "hinder their creative freedom" of the graphic designers and sale marketers but it would ensure we could actually accomplish the technical work within the time allowed and in a manor that would provide some reuse and efficiency. The strategy sort of worked however I need more personnel to actually accomplish the work. At one time I had over 20 campaigns in various points within the development and release process and I had only one part-time developer available to help me. The challenge became even more daunting with the need to conduct data integrity checks and de-duping of un-subscribed customers from all internal and vendor lists on a regular basis and boy, was my hair thinning.
After some rather excessive political lobbying I finally got the attention of the administration and financial officer to get additional support and finally got three additional developers assigned to help me on the campaigns. Now, I could focus on meeting the other technical requirements for the campaigns and the overarching strategy. I coordinated with the technology and statistics department at Tektronix and defined the standards and business rules required to export data to the client's marketing system. After a few weeks of testing we got the system running updates nightly. The next step was documenting check off sheets, setup, and management procedures for all campaigns. I then conducted training for all of the developers on my team and also a few additional developers within the department. 17 campaigns into the 23 campaign we had finally got into a rhythm and actually started to work a normal 10 hour day.
Unfortunately the campaign was cut short because of political disagreements both internally and with the client. The account and management staff were asking for more money above and beyond what the contract agreed. Also because of political changes within the client's marketing organization the client's boss pulled the remainder of the budget and went with another 3rd party marketing company for the remainder of the year and into the next quarter.