The Opportunity

Direct Marketing / Strategy / Collateral / Marketing & Sales Alignment

Cox Business, the B2B division of Cox Communications, provides advanced voice, data and video products and services to small and medium sized businesses across the country. In 2008, North Star began working with their New England office to develop ways for them to sell more services to ideal customers.

The Cox team was looking for a campaign that would resonate with their small business prospects and help them get their message to the decision maker; whether it was the office manager, owner, or bookkeeper. They had a list of many businesses they’d been trying to speak to with no success and they needed a way to get their foot in the door.

The Solution

As we began crafting our approach, we learned that there was no way to know who exactly at each company would make the decision to hire Cox Business. So we needed to create an office-wide event as a way to ensure that person would know Cox Business was interested in their business. We partnered with Gregg’s Restaurants and delivered Death By Chocolate cakes which came in Cox Business branded boxes that said “It’s a piece of cake to switch to Cox Business.” We did several versions of this and the campaign was a huge success getting sales reps in front of the people they couldn’t get in front of alone. The previously skeptical sales team loved what marketing was doing for them and helping them go after the small business customer.

The Campaign Continued

In 2010, Cox Business wanted to take this concept to their larger enterprise prospects. We were charged with looking for ways to help Cox Business sales reps to sell more services into “upmarket” (high value) prospects. In RI we were on the heels of a huge flood and many businesses were not prepared for the disaster and went down for weeks or closed completely. This was an opportunity for Cox Business who needed to be seen as a valuable resource and partner to CIOs at enterprises in Rhode Island charged with overseeing their company’s disaster recovery/business continuity plan.

Through extensive research, NSM uncovered that the CIOs knew what needed to be done, but were challenged to get C-Suite to buy-in. What we wanted to show CIOs was that Cox “got” them, that Cox understands their day-to-day struggle to simultaneously plan for the future while figuring out a way to appeal to their CEO. We sent a Magic 8-Ball to 100 CIO’s as a sign of the unpredictability of the future, with the message that we hoped this wasn’t what they were relying on when putting together a disaster recovery/business continuity plan for their company. The CIOs felt like “this is exactly how I feel…we got tremendous feedback” from this approach.

Once mailed, our telesales took over to invite them to take the next step, a web briefing called “Not Planning for a Disaster is a Disaster” that talked about 7 best practices within disaster recovery and business continuity plans. The web briefing sealed Cox’s reputation as an industry leader, and positioned them as a partner, rather than a vendor to their CIO targets. This approach allowed Cox to learn what was on the minds of these CIOs and present findings back to the CIOs on where they were in good shape and where there could be room for improvement. Sales and marketing worked closely through these steps and sales were having the conversations they had previously only dreamed about. And marketing was getting the credit they deserved.

The Results

“Cake” campaign

  • 100s of small business learned what Cox Business could do for them [and they got cake!]
  • 40% appointments set exceeded sales projections

 Magic 8-Ball campaign

  • 100 CIOs learned what Cox Business could do for them
  • 30% of CIOs attended briefing exceeded sales projections

"I finally scored a meeting with a prospect I’d been trying to get in front of for over a year!"

Mark CentracchioCox Business Sales Representative