DMNews chats with Eric Opel, group manager of client communications, Microsoft Advertising

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Eric Opel, group manager of client communications at Microsoft Advertising, discusses targeting CMOs for the launch of its new search engine Bing

Q Why did you target CMOs for the Bing campaign?

A We wanted to do things differently with Bing. Usually, our target is the executive who is purchasing search directly, but with such an exciting launch, we wanted to reach the CMO. The companies we reached out to spanned verticals and were primarily from the Fortune 1,000 list. We think of the CMO as the highest-ranking customer advocate, and Bing is a customer-centric product.

Q How did you design the creative with a CMO in mind?

A We worked with Wunderman to design a direct mail piece for 500 CMOs. The letter and envelope are very polished and simple. We wanted to have a peer-to-peer connection, so we had our own SVP of marketing sign the letter. The package included a little card with a personalized username and password for the CMO to preview Bing online.

Q What were the results?

A Of the 500 CMOs that were contacted, 293 unique IP addresses viewed the Bing preview video — a view rate of 59%. In total, there were 882 views of the preview video — implying that there was a large amount of pass-alongs — and 808 of those who viewed the video logged in to explore Bing. An ancillary benefit of the campaign was that we were generating internal discussions about our brand. Many sales executive had their contacts say they were getting more inquiries from a top level about search strategy.

Q Why was the campaign a success?

A We wanted to position ourselves more as a partner and less as a salesperson. Part of that partnership was getting the timing right. We sent FedEx packages overnight to every CMO to arrive the morning after the official name Bing had been announced. By including them early, we were reinforcing their importance to us. I think they recognized that.

Q Is the combination of direct mail and a personalized Web site something you would use again in the future?

A Direct mail is not the best tactic for driving Web traffic. Typically we would send an e-mail that had links directly embedded in it. In this case the physical piece was complimentary to our objective and helped drive brand awareness as well as drive people to the Web.

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