If you read this blog regularly, you know I write mainly about 2 things. The first is that we marketers need to stop talking about ourselves and focus on our customers.

The second is that  marketing can be more effective at creating value for our own business when we seek to meet the needs of our customers.

Well, almost as a rule, I try to follow my own advice and don’t use this site as a platform to promote what we are doing at SAP. But I think we have a great example launching today on how to use customers to tell our story. And how to focus on meeting their needs.

So with that request for forgiveness but hope that you find some value in the example, I invite you to read about how we’re trying to put these principles of customer focus and customer storytelling to work in our latest advertising campaign…

Run without warehouses. Run with a department of one. Run with less hardware. Run anywhere, anytime. What’s your vision for how your company can run like never before?

With the launch of our new Run Like Never Before advertising and marketing campaign, SAP is inviting people to imagine what is possible for their businesses today. The campaign is designed to show how companies are transforming with powerful business innovations – not only to run better, but to run like never before.

The “Run Like Never Before” campaign is aimed at telling the story of innovation – and how SAP’s strength across the categories of mobilecloudanalytics, and in-memory computing is bringing the future into focus – today. Rather than using a traditional landing page with product information, the Run Like Never Before campaign links back  to the Business Innovation from SAP site to let people further explore how these innovations can enable their vision for their business.

Unlike many B2B campaigns, “Run Like Never Before” aims to connect to audiences across the world on a human level, speaking not to businesses, but to the people behind those businesses.  Our campaign is designed to create an emotional impact with imagery, music, and film techniques more typically associated with consumer advertising.

Filmed in five countries and across three continents, the campaign seeks to reflect what global business means today and saying: “whether you’re a small local business or a global corporation, SAP is ready to partner with you to help achieve amazing things for your company.”

As I said, I don’t normally talk directly about our marketing efforts at SAP. But I’ve been personally involved in the campaign as editor of the landing experience.  (See this post on creating inbound marketing destination pages for your customers.) So I invite you to check out the “Run Like Never Before” campaign on this site or through the SAP Youtube, Facebook or Twitter accounts and let me know what you think!

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

12 Comments

  1. Stan Faryna said…

    First thing that came to mind was Hunger Games. [grin]

    I looked at the landing page, in memory menu, and your essay, biz at the speed of thought. The images didn’t connect me to the leit motif (running), didn’t communicate the drama and win, and didn’t reinforce the value of the information. Illustration would have been perfect.

    It seemed like a link was missing at the end of your essay.

    If this comment isn’t useful, feel free to delete it, Michael.

    Recently on my blog: Beyond advertising, social, and IBM. And other digital DOHs. http://wp.me/pbg0R-Kz

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Stan, all constructive comments are useful!

      This is not a traditional “landing page” as we move from Run Like Never Before creative to learn how to innovate on the landing page. The content is all designed to educate. So maybe too disruptive if you are expecting a traditional landing experience with consistent imagery. We really tried to balance the creative with the call to action to learn more about innovations that help you ‘run like never before.’

      I also appreciate the comment on the link. That article is a summary of a white paper we would normally require registration for. I have summarized it and provide the link to download it without registration earlier in the article. I will add the link to the end thanks to your guidance!

      Best, Michael

  2. Abhimanyu said…

    Hello Michael,

    I am well acquainted with SAP’s “Run Better” campaign which was active, some one year ago. Working wit Fujitsu, which is a global partner with SAP, we had done a joint marketing activity with SAP in India where SAP was then running the “Run Better” campaign.

    The thing that is singular and also impressive about your post is your statement on SAP now being more human-centric. I think the gradual step to move up the value chain by solving the problems of people and not systems/machines is well in cohesion with the “Run like never before campaign”

    As always, thank you for sharing a good post.

    Kind regards,
    Abhimanyu

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Abhimanyu,

      We are really working very hard to communicate with people (“buildings do not buy software”) and also to humanize the brand. It has not been an easy transition but we are making great strides. I am excited that you noticed that aspect of the campaign and thanks for sharing your excellent feedback!

      best, Michael

  3. Scott Heitland said…

    Michael, thanks for the post.

    I think it’s great that the SAP campaign’s focus is connecting with the people who comprise businesses. It’s sometimes easy to forget that the essence of any company is its people. Companies don’t make decisions, act, innovate, develop, drive or impact anything – it’s always the people, and that’s where the fertile ground for the emotional impact you refer to is always found.

    Best of luck with the campaign, and thanks for your leadership in promoting the best in marketing, sales and customer loyalty!

    Scott

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Scott, we’re doing our best to try and focus on customers and resist the urge to focus on the short term sale. I appreciate your support and comment!

  4. Steven Keith said…

    Michael, Since I found your blog yesterday I have spent a majority of my time absorbing it. There is a wealth a great info. I really enjoy it.

    Specifically, your core focus areas 1. “…stop talking about ourselves and focus on our customers.” and 2) “…marketing can be more effective at creating value for our own business when we seek to meet the needs of our customers.” ARE RIGHT ON!

    I applaud that focus. We do the same @centerline. We wrote an ebook largely on those two topics that I’d love for you to take a look at. It’s here: http://www.centerline.net/lib/pdf/the-art-of-customer-storytelling.pdf

    I’d love your feedback.

    (Disclosure: we’re a company that does a majority of IBM’s customer storytelling.)

    Again, keep up the great work. I have point many colleagues your way in the last several hours.

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Steven. I think you are spot on about my focus. It seems obvious doesn’t it? Yet when you talk this way a lot of business people and marketers look at you like you are crazy. “Wait, what? stop selling?” It sounds like you are doing great stuff. I don’t usually allow links in my comments but I think it could help my readers to explore ways to accomplish these objectives. I will certainly check it out.

  5. Steven Keith said…

    Thanks Michael. I appreciate it. I have the same response when talking to clients about transparency and relinquishing what they perceive to be “control.”

    “Wait, what? Stop selling?” <- you are so right. That is hilarious because it's so true.

    We're involved in planning out a content conference and I'd like you to consider participating. I will reach out to you soon. Thanks again.

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