Web Site at Heart of New Avaya Campaign

Communications software and systems company Avaya has kicked off an integrated advertising, direct response and interactive campaign with the theme “Communications at the Heart of Business.” At the heart of the campaign is a redesigned company Web site that points to a new campaign-specific micro-site.

Agencies McCann Erickson NY, MRM Partners, and R/GA partnered for the effort, with MRM primarily responsible for the interactive advertising and R/GA developing the Web site. Avaya has increased its spending on interactive from 4 percent in 2003 to 25 percent in 2004, the company said.

Though the new campaign, which aims to reach C-level executives and IT decision makers, will call upon print and television, even traditional media will deliver calls-to-action aimed at driving people to the Web.

“The online campaign takes it a step further and introduces the interactive tools that people can experience to see the technology in action,” said Deirdre Robinson, director of advertising at Avaya. “That’s the goal of the campaign — to drive as many people as possible to our Web site.”

Avaya will run banner ads on sites designed to reach C-level executives and IT decision makers, including CNN.com, NYTimes.com, CMP’s CommWeb, TechTarget, ITtoolbox, and CIO.com. Ads in third-party email newsletters will be employed primarily as lead generation tools. Paid search and search engine optimization are also a part of the plan.

To measure success, Avaya will do formal quantitative brand tracking to measure unaided brand awareness, hoping to see online media grow as a source of awareness. The company will also look at the number of unique visitors the campaign is attracting to its Web site. When it looks at lead generation, it will determine the cost per responder for each Web site in its media plan.

“You name it, we measure it,” said Robinson.

Avaya wouldn’t divulge how much it was spending on the campaign, but said its budget was dwarfed by that of competitor Cisco. In 2003, Avaya spent $88.5 million on Internet marketing, while Cisco spent $891.3 million, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. Although Avaya competes somewhat with traditional telecom players, it’s come up against Cisco more often recently as the two have grappled for the enterprise voice over IP (VoIP) market.

“Cisco has really deep marketing pockets so we’ve got to be very smart in the media selections that we make,” said Robinson. “Every dollar has to work extremely hard for us.”

The Web site’s visual centerpiece is a Flash cityscape scene that interactively displays customer case studies. Web site users can mouse from side to side to discover 10 different scenes, each of which represents a different customer experience. The same cityscape, and customer case studies, will show up in the banner ads.

“It’s this collage look, which is a combination of photographs that are actually taken and some stock shots. They’re manipulated a lot,” said Richard Eber, EVP and chief creative officer for MRM Partners Worldwide. “It’s got a really interesting look to it. You would never confuse an Avaya ad with anybody else’s ad. You’ll see the name Avaya is hand-lettered and it becomes part of the graphic.”

The creative team’s goal, Eber said, was to make the Avaya name such an integral part of the images that taking it out would make the image fall apart a bit.

On the site, mousing over the photo of a woman looking at a package, for example, results in a box popping up that says “Network Integration. Victoria’s Secret can now operate its two contact centers as one — seamlessly and efficiently.” The vignette also lets users click to get a .PDF file that details Victoria’s Secret’s experience with Avaya. Other companies profiled include BMW Group Canada, the Pebble Beach Company, and the San Francisco International Airport.

“What we’ve found with our technology is that when one of our customers experiences it, sees it in action, sees how you can use it strategically to drive business results, that’s when we’re best able to really engage our customers,” said Robinson.

The Web site also delivers more information about products, including white papers, and it collects prospects’ contact information, for later follow-up. Avaya’s Robinson says the company’s typical sales cycle runs anywhere from two months with smaller companies to two years with bigger ones. Web-generated leads often serve as the first step in the process.

“We market back to those past responders with email and follow-on direct mail,” said Robinson. “It’s an ongoing engine that we’ve built to move them forward and make them warmer and warmer prospects.”

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