Sometimes invisibility is an asset that enables you to listen in on other people’s conversations. Other times it’s a problem that precludes your P25 radio systems from being heard at all.
Due to low brand awareness and insufficient incoming sales leads, Tait Communications’ American public sector sales team found itself battling against the undesirable form of invisibility. For some time, the US public safety radio market had been dominated by Motorola, which held a 75 percent share, followed by Harris with 15 percent. Add to this the fact that low-end manufacturers, like Hytera, were also starting to make inroads into the market and prospects didn’t look positive for Tait, a company with only a two percent share of overall sales.
While it might’ve been easier to scrap it out at the lower end of the market, Tait decided not to sacrifice the quality of its offering and set an objective to go toe to toe with the market leaders. But in 2012, a common complaint from Tait sales staff was that customers didn’t know about the brand. And, perhaps even worse, those who had heard of it inaccurately understood what the company provided. This, when compared to the fact that Motorola enjoyed 100 percent awareness in the market, meant that very few clients would be willing to switch from a brand that they already knew and trusted. Conventional wisdom at the time was that ‘no one ever got fired for buying Motorola’, and this was a particularly persuasive argument given that public service radio systems were purchased by government agencies with taxpayer dollars. To make matters worse, Motorola had also garnered a reputation for taking competing companies to court over their procurement processes.
Tait couldn’t outspend Motorola, meaning that the Kiwi-owned company had to take a shrewd approach when setting out to increase brand awareness, generate more sales leads and position itself as a thought leader in the industry.
What Tait did have on its side was 40 years of industry experience and a reputation for integrity. So while it was impossible to out-market Motorola, Tait believed it was in a position to out-teach its competitor. And this was particularly valuable given that the P25 radio landscape was going through a transitional phase, which necessitated a more didactic approach to marketing.
Many retiring radio experts were passing their networks over to ICT departments lacking experience to make P25 decisions, a move that was problematic given that no-one had created guidelines on best practice for managing these multi-million dollar systems.
To fill this gap in the market, Tait launched an extended content marketing campaign with the aim of producing industry guidelines that would not only be informative but also establish Tait as a leading voice in the industry. Taking on a multinational content marketing endeavour meant that Tait would have to introduce some logistic changes to initiate the project. So the company introduced the Basecamp collaboration platform to Tait and established a “war room” in Christchurch, which facilitated roundtable planning, content writing, visual identity, website design, social media, ATL material, direct marketing and PR. Each discipline’s leader was required to share plans and progress weekly, and this dynamic environment served as the root from which the campaign grew. But before a single word was written, Tait felt it necessary to consult with industry experts in the American market. To do this, it organised roundtable discussions in New Orleans, at the New Zealand Embassy in Washington DC and at Lake Tahoe.
Tait’s American regional marketing team recruited radio network managers and consultants to share their thoughts during the meetings, under the moderation of a Tait consultant. Each meeting was filmed professionally, and the attendees were also interviewed independently to capture additional insights. A team of copywriters back in New Zealand then took on the onerous task of transcribing these videos and then using this text to develop a series of four P25 best practice guidebooks titled ‘First Steps’, ‘Specifying’, ‘Procuring’ and ‘Implementing’.
All this content was then consolidated and published on the bespoke P25 Best Practice website, which went live on 1 February 2014. Immediately after the launch, Tait promoted the www.p25bestpractice. com via magazine, web and PPC advertising, comprehensive social media, direct emails to purchased lists, and also took the innovative step of ‘poly-bagging’ the ‘Getting Started’ guide with 16,000 public safety communications magazines.
The campaign has seen Tait cure the problem of its invisibility in the market. The sales teams have reported a significant rise in brand awareness among potential customers, and this is largely attributable to the impressive levels of engagement on a website that is the epitome of niche.
Since its launch, the Tait-branded P25 Best Practices websites has received 4,955 unique visitors and there have been over 1,200 unique downloads of the guides. And now that more people recognise the company as a thought leader in the market, Tait has been able to grow its contact portfoilio substantially on a month-to-month basis.
Before the P25 Best Practices campaign went live, Tait was generating roughly 49 new public safety contacts per month. Since the launch of the campaign, this number has swelled by 270 percent and it now adds an average of 182 new public safety contacts per month.
And the campaign has not just generated more leads; it has generated better leads. In the four months of the campaign the 732 content downloads generated have already generated two sales opportunities worth NZ$5.2 million. Even more significantly, the campaign has directly led to over $150 million of sales opportunities, including new deals with existing clients. And given the average cycle from lead to sale takes approximately 18 months, Tait is feeling optimistic that more good news is set to follow