Case Study:

Account Based Marketing

How a small third-party software vendor become central to the IT strategy of some of the leading Global Financial Service firms.

Overview

The client was a third party software vendor to the Blackberry Enterprise Server (BES) platform. At the time SOMAmetrics met them in 2003, they had just released new software that was capable of polling Blackberry (BB) devices, detecting if any contact data has changed, and updating the BES with the changes.

The story of how they used Account Based Marketing to turn their fortune and create a compelling need for their new software is illuminating.

Key Challenges

The client targeted organizations known to have at least 250 Blackberry (BB) devices installed, and attempted selling their new software to their traditional contacts—IT Department heads.

Little or no sales materialized after eight months of calling and emailing these IT contacts. The realty was that while IT departments influenced decision (especially regarding technical solutions), they were not decision makers.

What We Did

We knew we had to find decision makers for whom this capability was a must-have. The question was who would care? To whom does this capability fulfill a compelling need?

When we asked the client why they thought this capability was important, they mentioned what had happened during 911 in New York City (NYC). They said that for several hours after the two planes crashed into the twin towers, the only communication in NYC that worked was “PIN to PIN” lines between BB devices. In other words, any BB user could send out text messages to another BB device user—provided they had the right PIN (personal identification number). The PIN basically acted as unique qualifier (same as an email address) in identifying the recipient.

It is important to remember that, unlike iPhones today, BB devices were the property of the institution, and employees were given BB devices much as they were given laptops. Furthermore, when new BB devices came out, senior execs got these, and their old BB’s were recycled to other employees. As a result, while contact information, including email and phone number, was up-to-date, the PIN was not.

We began researching everything we could find around NYC and 911. After some intense digging, the following facts became apparent:

  1. NYC is the center of the global financial services industry, with some of the largest Banks and other Financial Services firms headquartered there
  2. Financial Services firms are some of the largest users of BB devices since, at least at the time, provided secure mobile email communication.
  3. As one of the most densely populated cities in the world, NYC continued to be a high value target for terrorist attacks
  4. As a result, these global financial services firms made Business Continuity a top priority and hired a senior level executive, directly reporting to the CEO as head of these Business Continuity organizations.
  5. Because a number of these very large Financial Services firms had lost many of their top people during 911, Human Intellectual Capital (HIC) and Business Continuity became intertwined. A big part of a Business Continuity initiative was to protect a firm’s HIC. Ability to immediately reach and notify employees in the case of a disaster or terrorist attack became a key initiative.

With the above insights in mind, we contacted the IT departments with messages on Business Continuity and protecting the Human Intellectual Capital within their firms.

Results

As soon as we linked our client’s capability to detect any change to the contact information of a BB device user, and update the Blackberry Enterprise Server to Business Continuity and protecting HIC, this capability became a must-have.

Within weeks, we had meetings scheduled with various VP level decision makers in some of the leading Global Financial Service firms including Goldman Sacs, Merrill Lynch, Bank of New York, Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Citi Bank, and Morgan Stanley.

Two of these turned into pilot programs of 500 BB devices each, or an average of $50K in new business just for the pilot phase

Little or no sales materialized after eight months of calling and emailing these IT contacts. The realty was that while IT departments influenced decision (especially regarding technical solutions), they were not decision makers.