The Art of the Deal
Having completed a significant piece of messaging work internally to help sales introduce new solutions across the Dealspace portfolio, combined with a recent rebrand, Intralinks US felt that a global campaign idea was required to help bring to life the new messaging at a global level.
From the outset, it was a big challenge to combine the desire to address the needs of different personas at every stage of the buyer journey, with diverse market geographies and cultural needs — all while driving engagement and generating MQLs.
Firstly, we listened. To marcoms, to product marketing, to the brand team, to sales, to local country managers. And, of course, everyone wanted something different. Each had different goals to meet, and this campaign was expected to deliver on each of those goals and at every level. So, the challenge became two-fold.
1. Finding a single-minded idea that works at a global level for the audience and the solution.
2. Devising detailed demand generation plans, by persona, which deliver the idea into market and harvest results.
Decoupling the idea from the tactical execution meant we could work on finding the right idea and remove the burden of people-pleasing, i.e. satisfying all the stakeholders’ needs at an individual level within the detailed demand generation plans, not in the idea itself.
The next step was to further break down the pre-defined audiences, understanding their relationships with each other and their ability to influence the decision, and then digging into their emotional and rational drivers. We recalibrated the audiences to Young Guns, Rainmakers and Professionals.
Now we had three distinct and relatable audiences we could identify and engage with at a human level with the Intralinks messaging.
Intralinks’ desire was to own the space as being the strategic solution in the market. We identified three core themes: Speed, Control, and Clarity, and aligned each to a persona.
This created a massive skew in the creative thinking process. Think Young Guns and Speed versus Professionals and Clarity! As a consequence, we got into some fun, cutting-edge, execution-led thinking. But we kept getting stuck. It was a process we had to go through. It did help to further our appreciation of engagement tactics, but we were not getting to the single-minded, all-encompassing idea.
It forced us to stop. Sit. And wait.
We put everything down and distanced ourselves for a few days. And that’s when it started to happen. The water cooler conversations, the emails, the ‘I was thinking this morning…’. It was time to come back together.
We were closer, but then we started tossing really great ideas in the bin because they simply didn’t pass the translation/transcreation test. We really did need one big idea. It felt like we already knew the answer, we just weren’t seeing it. It was time to go back over our thinking, our ideas and just see — knowing what we now knew — what had we missed or simply dismissed.
The idea was ‘Chess’ as the visual metaphor to quickly communicate the concept of being the strategic choice for our three personas. To be honest, we tried our hardest to kill the idea, as it felt a bit obvious but having done the work, we knew deep down it was right — it fulfilled the brief and gave us the scope to satisfy all the needs of the stakeholders through execution.
What we now had to do was make it elegant and authoritative so that it stood head and shoulders above any down-at-heel stock-shot campaigns that had gone before. The solution we created was simple but expressive: clear perspex chess pieces that came in two parts and slotted together — beautifully photographed with the light streaming through the joined pieces. The perspex chess pieces were used in direct mail, photography, office wallpaper in the boardrooms, and 6ft perspex models for events.
The chess format was symbolic too of the Intralinks product — clear to demonstrate clarity, and the perspex thick and strong to ensure we reflected the strength and robustness of the product. Ratio provided Intralinks with a complete campaign plan across all three personas against each core product message.
In classic Account Based Marketing style, there was a focus on different account levels and how influencers and decision-makers were nurtured to engage with the Intralinks sales teams.
The Intralinks marcoms team took on the email and digital execution while Ratio delivered on the direct mail and writing the first wave of assets for each audience.
“Ratio’s approach was both systematic and inspiring. They solved a problem that we couldn’t internally. A single, focused idea that worked across all of our key territories, products and personas, which in turn, was translated into detailed campaign plans for us to deliver on. Chess was the core theme for two years and it helped us to consistently drive awareness and deliver focused demand programmes. It was a joy to work with them.”
– VP Dealspace Marketing, Intralinks
The chess creative theme ran for over two years and delivered a consistent framework for the Intralinks team to communicate from, for all marcoms activities. As well as increasing brand awareness and engagement across all three audiences during that period, performance marketing enjoyed significant results across EMEA and internationally.