AT&T Reaches Out to Exec Desktops via Wall Street Journal

AT&T signed on as the first advertiser for the newly-launched Wall Street Journal Online desktop news alert service. It’s part a multi-channel campaign for its networking solutions.

“We’re moving people from understanding us as a ‘pipe support’ company to a network solutions partner that drives business value for our customers,” said Dawn DiMartino, director of integrated marketing communications for AT&T.

AT&T has always included online as part of its mix. After conducting and studying media consumption research, they decided online would be the best place to focus a limited media budget to reach their target audience of C-level executives and the IT professionals who work directly with their products.

“Online plays a significant part of this campaign. The Wall Street Journal Online allows us to be relevant and targeted in our messaging, as well as the context in which we’re operating,” DiMartino said.

In addition to desktop alerts, AT&T will use display ads in the Online Journal’s interest-based targeting program, which uses Revenue Science’s technology to show ads to specific users based on site-usage habits.

The campaign will also include media placements on other business and networking sites, including CBS Sportsline, which offers a demographic that fits AT&T’s target of mostly male business users. AT&T will also advertise in the Wall Street Journal’s print edition.

“Our strategy was to use larger, and fewer, heavily targeted media properties to reach the ‘C-suite’ professionals on a consistent, frequent basis,” DiMartino said.

The desktop alert units will be sold as monthly exclusive sponsorships, offering placement of the advertiser’s logo with a “Brought to you by” message located in a sidebar under the Wall Street Journal Online logo. Future opportunities in the alert application may include more dynamic units.

Clicking on the AT&T logo brings visitors to a landing page at that describes the transformational qualities of AT&T’s networking solutions. Visitors are encouraged to join AT&T’s “Networking Exchange” community, where they can access case studies, white papers, and a personalized page with information on relevant networking and change management issues. The campaign was developed by AT&T’s agency of record, Young & Rubicam New York.

Users download and install the news alert application, which launches in a small window on the user’s desktop, when a “major news event” occurs. Users can choose to be alerted of breaking business and world news, market news or tech news. A “tech alert” Thursday afternoon, for example, informed users of a change in Intel’s revenue guidance for the quarter.

The format was attractive to DiMartino because it “cuts through the clutter” of email and banner ads. “It’s something people will really pay attention to, and it will be reaching the target we want to reach on a consistent basis. Plus, there’s an immediacy to it that really supports our value proposition of 24-7 access,” she said.

Alerts will be sent at the discretion of editors, with no set frequency. Currently, alerts average about three per week, which suits the needs of both the editorial and advertising sides of the Journal’s business, according to Mike Henry, VP of sales and strategy at the Wall Street Journal Online.

“From an editorial side, it works because people know that if they sent out an alert, the editors think it’s worth seeing. It also works for us from a media frequency perspective, because you don’t want people to start ignoring it if they get too many,” Henry said.

The new service will be promoted on the Journal’s Web site, in its email newsletters, and offline editions.

Anyone can use the news alert service, but only Online Journal subscribers will be able to click through to the site for full coverage. Users can choose not to receive alerts by clicking an icon in the system tray to change application preferences. The Online Journal will continue to provide breaking-news alerts via email, as well as a daily afternoon news wrap email.

Skinkers, a London-based firm, provides the software. The company creates alerts for news, marketing, or corporate use. News alert clients include BBC News, Sky News, and Marketing alerts were used by Microsoft for the launch of its Halo 2 Xbox game, and Warner Bros. for new movie alerts.

According to Skinkers’ Web site, the tool collects only aggregate information on the number of broadcasts and responses made. No personally identifiable information (PII) is included. It doesn’t use cookies or record the user’s IP address.

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