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Three years ago, our company realized we needed a change.
ShoreGroup is a managed services company headquartered in New York City. We deliver solutions to customers in multiple sectors, from financial services to manufacturing to healthcare. Since our founding in 1999, we've seen truly remarkable success. But we're operating in the most competitive market in the world, and that can be tough. Three years ago, the company realized that if we wanted to keep growing, we needed to take a new approach to marketing.
That's when I started here. One of the biggest things I set out to do was to build up our digital marketing practice. Today, on all the measurements that matter—from click-throughs and website visits to lead generation and brand awareness—that practice is thriving. As a result, our digital marketing efforts are now pretty highly valued by the entire company.
But looking back just three years, a lot of people in our organization didn't really see the point.
Which isn't so unusual, actually.
Like many companies, ShoreGroup at the time did not treat marketing as an integral or important part of the organization. Yes, there were newsletters. There were data sheets. Above all, there were events—here in New York City and also in other parts of the country where we have sales offices.
Now, here's the thing about events. Events can be great. We still do events—just not as many. Because what was becoming clear, to everyone involved, was that events just weren't the best way to reach our customers anymore. Here we were trying to persuade prospects to get in their cars or get on the subway and come to a specific place at a specific time—and they weren't showing up.
Instead, where were they? They were online, doing their own research on their own time.
And when they went online, they weren't finding us there.
So what we set out to do is meet them there. Online. It was a big step, and it took a pretty big re-orientation as a company. But it was the right thing to do—and it paid off. You can get a good idea of what we were trying to do from this short video.
The challenge, initially, was that a lot of people in the organization were skeptical that digital marketing could deliver real value. What difference would click-throughs make for actual sales? Who cares if we show up on social? So while we were given a green light to start down the digital road, it's not like the whole company was rallying behind us with baited breath and throwing us marketing funds. The sales team especially was not convinced. And I understand that. We needed to prove ourselves first.
But we didn't have a whole lot of resources to do it. That's where Cisco made a big difference. With Partner Marketing Central, I discovered that we had access to an array of very rich digital marketing programs that were just waiting for us to take advantage of them. Pay-per-click ads especially, at the beginning—but there was lots more there, and we took advantage of it. And what happened, as we carried out these initiatives, is that gradually we were able to rack up the metrics that got past the skepticism. We were filling the pipeline. Our email campaigns were generating good leads, qualified leads, and the sales people saw that. They started looking at us differently.
Now, three years in, a lot has changed. The sales team sees us as a necessary part of the company. We're in this together, side-by-side, working on a common strategy, fully aligned on which customers to target, which industries, with what focus. Pipeline is up. Sales are up. And everyone understands, digital marketing is a big part of that. Digital marketing is fundamental to how we reach our customers—and how they find us.
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Susan Andersen is Director of Marketing at Shoregroup. With more than 25 years of marketing and business experience, including as co-founder of Vitel Software, Product and Channel Marketing at CA and Empirix, she brings an enthusiastic and creative approach to marketing challenges.