AT&T, one of the largest networking and telecommunications companies, was having difficulty breaking into the government marketplace for the upcoming Networx contract. Sage was tasked with developing and implementing a comprehensive advertising campaign to relaunch ATT Government Services to the Federal Government, targeted at government executives and IT decision makers involved in the procurement process.
With an established reputation as one of the largest networking and telecommunications companies in the world, AT&T’s Government Solutions division was still having difficulty breaking into the government marketplace to become part of the Networx contract. Despite its track record of delivering full-scale solutions as part of complex programs for Defense, Intelligence and civilian government agencies, they were still perceived primarily as a telecom company. Sage created a comprehensive advertising campaign to change that perception and increase sales by speaking directly to government executives and IT decision makers.
To change the perception of AT&T Government Services with the federal government through a fully integrated advertising campaign.
Sage began by conducting a series of interviews with AT&T Government Executives (CEO, COO, VPs Marketing, Business Development, Sales, Practice Areas) as well as four business partners and two of their biggest clients. The agency delivered an executive report that listed AT&T’s differentiators, and researched AT&T biggest competitors to determine which messages already existed in the marketplace.
At the same time, Sage coordinated a series of focus groups and surveys with government IT employees, including helping to craft the survey questions and attending all of the interviews. The information gathered from the focus groups, executive team and AT&T partners helped Sage determine that AT&T’s leading strength was its ability to provide telecommunications and network solutions for government’s needs, and combine these with existing resources to assist in implementing any solution. The company’s main challenge was that they were not promoting their successes effectively. This information provided the benchmark to measure the increase awareness levels over the duration of the media plan.
As part of the plan, Sage determined which of AT&T’s services should be presented to each of its target audiences (Director-level, C-level, Military and IT professionals, etc.) and developed messaging points and specific case studies for each audience. Once these were approved by the client, the agency began brainstorming the creative executions that focused on specific government mandates and how AT&T could help each agency meet them. Each Sage concept addressed individual problems faced each member of AT&T’s target audiences. “My World is about net-centric operations,” “My World is about cross-agency connectivity,” etc.
Sage identified models for each demographic required by the campaign and set up on-location photo shoots at several Washington, DC federal buildings. For each creative execution, Sage wrote, directed and produced a corresponding 30-second radio spot, as well as designing specific Web site landing pages on the AT&T Web site, teaser ads, animated interactive banners, and outdoor displays for Ronald Reagan Airport. Sage handled all the coordination between photographers, vendors, production houses, talent and media.
To determine the best way to reach each target audience, Sage’s media planning department researched every publication in the Federal government space. The agency looked specifically at all editorial calendars, special sections, and events, and mapped AT&T’s messages to the editorial content of each publication. Since AT&T’s primary focus was on individuals located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area, the completed plan included radio, Metro platform advertising, print and interactive banners, interstitials, e-mail blasts and landing pages.
Sage used its in-depth knowledge of the strengths and weaknesses of each publication to negotiate aggressively discounted rates, premium positioning, and the highest number of insertions within the client’s budget. As part of our “added value” negotiations, we worked with local media outlets to create breakfast seminars and other events to defer AT&T’s costs. The radio add-ons included working with WTOP to turn AT&T case studies into sponsored news “vignettes” that ran right after the morning drive-time feature “Today on the Hill.”
Once the media plan was agreed upon and each creative execution was finalized, Sage’s media placement services took over, managing all billing and physical requirements while delivering over 200 specific print, out-of-house, and interactive ad placements on time during the first year.
AT&T was awarded the Networx contract and received many new business leads, as well as calls from other sub-contractors looking to partner on the Networx account. Because of the work Sage did their behalf, follow-up focus groups confirmed that AT&T was no longer viewed as a “phone company,” and its market share within the government space has increased dramatically.