Eaton Powers Up Its Brand Perception

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The power management company embarked on a marketing campaign to penetrate the IT market.
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Positive brand perception is imperative for organizations to succeed and create brand awareness, especially when trying to penetrate a new market, like the IT sector. Power management company Eaton was facing this challenge since it was largely unknown among small and medium business IT professionals.

The $17 billion company, which markets products and services to chief technology officers to provide power to small and medium-sized data centers, wanted to improve its brand perception among IT professionals. Kristin Somers, marketing communications manager at Eaton, explains that the brand was already established in the electrical power distribution space and large data center markets, but only had a minimal presence in the IT channel, particularly in the small and medium business market. She notes that understanding the demands of the IT community, the company wanted to introduce more customers to its power management products and services.

In fact, at the beginning of 2011, Eaton had less than 5 percent share of the SMB IT market, opposed to its largest competitor which commanded an 80 to 90 percent share. This lack of brand recognition meant that field sales representatives were encountering challenges selling Eaton's products since most prospects had never heard of the company and were not comfortable switching to an unknown manufacturer. "It was clear we needed to introduce Eaton, gain awareness, and increase sales," Somers says. "A game-change was needed."

With acquisitions and new products poised to launch, Eaton's business leaders felt the time was right to further position the company as an IT solutions provider. The organization determined the need for an integrated marketing campaign to differentiate the company and generate leads for partners, recruit new Eaton resellers, and increase awareness and preference for Eaton's products in the market.

After researching the situation, Eaton's leaders determined the need to position the company to behave as a challenger brand and demonstrate that it truly understands the IT professionals who influence purchases. A required change was to communicate to different audiences in the most relevant way. Previously, Eaton was sending its three client segments-directors of IT and IT managers, CIOs and CTOs, and IT resellers-email notifications about product launches. Eaton held focus groups and one-on-one interviews to determine audience pain points and challenges to tailor the campaign messaging to their needs.

The campaign, "Things Have Changed," kicked off at the end of August 2011 featuring IT managers' desk toys, ranging from finger puppets to mini Triceratops, with the aim of showing IT managers that Eaton understands their needs. This underscores the company's expertise in IT and data center solutions while positioning Eaton as a company that gets IT. The campaign was built as an online ecosystem, with numerous channels and tactics, including print and banner advertising, email, direct mail, and social media, driving traffic to the SwitchOn.eaton.com website, a hub that invited users to share their personal information to either download a white paper, sign up for sweepstakes, or create a caption for images of desk-toys, among other interactions.

The success of the campaign was evident from the start. In Q42011 alone the campaign exceeded the goal of gathering 10,000 end user leads and 400 reseller leads in a third of the time that had been earmarked. Initial results show that between September and November 2011, the campaign led to the identification of $2 million worth of opportunities. Last year Eaton added another 12,000 leads to its database.

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