Editor’s note: Bertrand Cerisier is a finalist for 2018 Content Marketer of the Year. We’ll share insight from CMY finalists in the blog before the winner is announced at Content Marketing World in September.
When you imagine the future of work, what comes to mind? Does your futuristic workspace include printers? Does it even use paper?
If not, you’ve got a good idea of the messaging challenges the global marketing team at Xerox faced. How do you convince the changing workforce that a company known for its printers should be part of that future? And that those very printers can do more than churn out paper?
The answer: a multi-pronged marketing campaign that includes content adaptable for digital and in-person engagements. The thoughtful strategy, careful coordination, and smart repurposing behind this work earned Bertrand Cerisier, who led the initiative, a Content Marketer of the Year nomination.
Here’s what to learn from how Bertrand and team did it.
Build on existing foundations
Xerox has transformed from a printer company to a technology company. Though many remember the “speeds-and-feeds” approach it once took to marketing, in recent years, the company has moved more toward helping people rethink how they perform their everyday work on the job.
Consider the difference between the 1977 Brother Dominic Super Bowl commercial and its 2017 counterpart. The 1977 version is decidedly product-centric:
Forty years later, a new twist on the ad shows people, instead of technology, receiving digital copies of the same hand-lettered document in their own languages all over the world.
For the company’s largest product launch – including nearly 30 multi-function printers (MFPs) with security, cloud connectivity, and productivity features and apps – Bertrand faced the challenge of influencing the perception of printers, moving them from peripherals to the heart of the office.
To achieve this, Bertrand and team needed to demonstrate the benefits of automating document-heavy processes. They needed a way to open people’s minds to think of the MFP as a workplace assistant, supporting productive, cost-effective, and streamlined business. They created The Future of Work Global Tour as the platform to achieve this.
It takes a village, so recruit one
As vice president of global marketing for the Xerox Workplace Solutions Business Group, Bertrand oversees marketing activities for Xerox Office products and solutions. These include everything from strategic messaging, market intelligence, and life-cycle management to pricing strategy and sales enablement.
That broad responsibility, coupled with his 30 years of experience in a variety of marketing, sales, and strategy roles, positioned him well to create a cross-functional team to dig into the global challenge.
For the Future of Work program to be successful, Bertrand knew he’d need the cross-functional capabilities of Xerox’s corporate communications team. Support came from the company’s marketing, product marketing, public and analyst relations, social media, web marketing, paid search, brand, advertising, and global experiential marketing (events) teams around the company.
While in total this particular group is not specifically charged with content marketing, content was developed by this group based on expertise within these various functions..@Xerox cross-functional team wasn’t charged w/ #contentmarketing, but on creating content based on expertise. Click To Tweet
Here’s an overview of the content program’s construction and measurement:
Spend time on strategy first
The strategy of the communications team was to build a global, audience-centered story to tell through targeted channels including:
- On-site experiences
- Press, analyst, and influencer content
- Social engagement
- Xerox-owned properties
The idea behind this approach was to saturate the most important business, IT, channel, small- and medium-size business (SMB), and vertical audiences with an experiential, media, and content blitz. The ultimate goal was to create awareness and advocacy for workplace assistants, representing Xerox ConnectKey-enabled devices and its MFP ecosystem.The strategy of the @Xerox communications team was to build a global, audience-centered story. @CarlaJohnson Click To Tweet
Other objectives included:
- Re-establish Xerox as a leader and innovator
- Motivate interest with new clients in target segments
- Energize employee interest and emotion to increase engagement and enthusiasm
Keep the momentum rolling
Reaching the right audience meant starting with industry media and analysts – nearly 40 industry influencers attended the New York City product launch in January 2017. A similar event took place the following week in London. Interviews focused on the company’s strategy of changing how people define the modern workplace.
Next, a Future of Work Global Tour visited 14 cities in Europe and North America in six weeks, attracting more than 1,500 targeted partners, resellers, agents, and customers for a hands-on experience. Two Future of Work Partner forums brought together channel partners (who have a direct sales line into SMBs) for a hands-on look at the new ConnectKey portfolio.
Seeing the technology and apps firsthand was critical, as it helped attendees understand how the apps could change how work gets done. For example, the Xerox Easy Translator App translates and localizes documents in over 40 languages (through machine language translation). And its Mobile Printing App lets people use their smartphones to scan and print documents from a remote location.
The events included live tweeting and Facebook Live interviews with speakers and executives to extend the reach.
Make it easy to duplicate
Xerox channel partners around the globe recreated the Future of Work Global Tours by using marketing kits developed by Bertrand’s team. The partner-run events helped generate awareness in local markets and created demand for Xerox’s broader technology portfolio, as well as the partners’ complementary services, custom apps, and deep expertise.
Influencer outreach kept ConnectKey top of mind throughout the year with SMB, workplace, and technology influencers creating and amplifying product reviews, unboxing videos and other shareable content.
Alexandra Levit, an American workplace expert and futurist, created an unboxing video and wrote about the technology on her Water Cooler Wisdom blog.
Steve Strauss, an expert in the SMB market, wrote about the company’s history of innovation and touted ConnectKey as a “smart workplace assistant.”
Bertrand’s team repurposed Steve’s piece on various Xerox social channels, segmenting messaging to customers and channel partners.
Digital and physical proof
Though it wasn’t as easy as pushing a few buttons on a sleek digital interface, the hard work from Bertrand and team paid off.
Over the course of the launch, the team earned more than 518 pieces of coverage in more than 40 countries, which added up to 400 million impressions..@Xerox Future of Work launch earned 518 pieces of coverage in 40+ countries, totaling 400 million impressions. Click To Tweet
Feedback from the media and influencers indicated that the Future of Work program represented a “genuine technology shift.” Introducing it this way spurred opportunities for channel expansion, with new channel partners signing on to sell Xerox products.
The program also triggered an increased interest from new partners to join the Xerox MFP Workflow App Customization Service. The dramatic increase of app downloads was an insightful indication of the appetite customers have for the technology.
And Bertrand’s team earned praise for its practical approach, which included a sales-enablement strategy from the start.
It may not have been Brother Dominic’s “miracle,” but it worked.
“The Future of Work messaging platform allowed Xerox to communicate and demonstrate how the fundamental nature of work is evolving and why office technology must stay ahead of the curve to meet the changing needs of today’s modern workforce,” Bertrand says. “Attendees got it.”
To find out live who is named the 2018 Content Marketer of the Year (and lots of things to help your content marketing program), register today for Content Marketing World Sept. 4-7 in Cleveland, Ohio. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.
Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute