Aptean: Out of many, one

How do you communicate a consistent, relevant message to an audience that includes insurance companies, timber producers, retirement home operators – and every vertical market in between? How do you build a brand for a newly-renamed company when many of its products have better-known names than their parent?

Here’s how Aptean and Arketi Group brought order to chaos – and $21 million to the funnel.

Challenge

And, at a practical level, how do you help website visitors quickly find the software solution they need amidst a slew of others they don’t?

With some 30 software products covering the needs of 13 business functions and applications across 26 industries, Aptean is a software powerhouse. But the depth and breadth of that portfolio creates challenges when it comes to marketing!

Solution

Divide and conquer

The Aptean marketing team were almost all new to the company, which allowed them to start with a clean slate. They began by dividing the software portfolio into two groups – products where the company expected to continue to experience growth, and those where revenues would come primarily from maintenance on an existing customer base.

This also allowed them to streamline the 26 verticals down to five industries that would be the focus of new marketing activities.

Aptean then commissioned Arketi to develop a comprehensive integrated marketing strategy to launch the new brand, covering everything from a new website, organic and paid search, multi-vertical public relations efforts and ongoing demand generation and lead nurturing activities.

The project began by surveying the company’s 5000+ customers in order to understand their buying processes, including sources they use for finding product information, their knowledge of Aptean and its competitors, and their communication preferences. The results would be used to guide how the website and outbound campaigns were structured, and to frame the media relations team’s strategy.

In parallel, Arketi applied its custom methodology to conduct a thorough review of Aptean’s marketing activities and existing assets, including the website, search marketing, media relations, content marketing and social media. The agency also reviewed Aptean’s 60+ social media accounts and made recommendations for streamlining and strengthening them.

Build it…

With clear inputs and a defined strategy, the project moved into execution mode. First up was a new version of aptean.com. 

The old site, though attractive and content rich, had several issues:

  • lacking calls-to-action, it was a poor lead generator;
  • the proliferation of products and markets made it confusing to navigate;
  • the Sitecore content management system was expensive and understood by only two Aptean employees;
  • not being responsive, the site showed poorly on a mobile device.
  • The new site addresses these concerns and more, providing an engaging experience rich in interactive content that is customized to the visitor’s selected industry. Rather than overwhelming visitors with information from the start, the site lets them drill down for more detail when they want it.

Once the corporate site was launched, dedicated sites were built for nine other countries/languages, including Chinese and Japanese. All the sites are now maintained on day-to-day by Aptean’s in-house marketing teams.

… And be sure they come

In parallel to building the new website, Arketi worked to develop several lead generation initiatives to deliver leads into the sales funnel – and to create tools that the sales team would use in guiding leads through the buying process.

These campaigns all leveraged the new message and brand established around the concept “Aptean: where software works.” This new tagline was a powerful expression of the company’s focus on applications such as a manufacturing, supply chain and data integration – unsung but nonetheless vital software that “rolls its sleeves up and gets the job done.”

Arketi media relations team secured Aptean coverage and bylined articles for public relations in numerous trade publications across the company’s key verticals, including Credit Union Journal, Manufacturing Business Technology, Bank Systems & Technology and Software Magazine.

Inbound traffic was generated through a tightly targeted paid search campaign focused on those markets where the company’s products had less awareness.

Results

This frenzy of activity culminated with the official launch of the “new Aptean” at the company’s user conference, Edge, held in Las Vegas. The website was unveiled and the other components of the campaign kicked off at the same time, and starting showing results within weeks.

Over the course of the 6 months following the launch, the integrated campaign generated a $21 million sales pipeline which Aptean was able to directly attribute to marketing activities. Arketi earned Aptean media coverage in the form of 32 key media placements from bylined articles, interviews and editorial calendar pitching. Media interviews conducted at the user conference resulted in additional articles.

The new website and Arketi’s search engine optimization efforts placed Aptean on the three pages of Google results for 71 percent of the company’s targeted ERP keywords. Total traffic to the site increased 37 percent year on year.

The initial email campaign to launch Aptean Respond, a software platform to capture and manage customers’ feedback or complaints, exceeded industry averages for email opens, click-through and conversion. The campaign generated 837 leads, resulting in a campaign ROI of 820 percent.

Kudos

In addition to generating revenue for Aptean, this case study in integrated marketing for a software company has garnered several national awards including:

·MarCom Gold Award for Business-to-Business Website

 for Integrated Communications – Business-to-Business

Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Silver Anvil Award of Excellence

for Direct Mail/Direct Response

PRSA Georgia Award of Excellence

for Websites – External

PRSA Georgia Phoenix Award

for Marketing/Promo Campaign/Integrated Marketing

MarCom Platinum Award

for E-Communications/E-mail Campaign

MarCom Platinum Award

for Business-to-Business Website

MarCom Platinum Award

“Arketi truly served as a strategic marketing partner during this critical time as we sought to develop our new identity. Our tight partnership with Arketi helped us implement programs through an integrated marketing approach that exceeded our goals to generate real results and revenue.”

Will Haraway, global analyst and public relations director, Aptean

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