Despite a rocky beginning that saw it struggling to pay bills and find funding, Federal Express was delivering 65,000 packages per day by the early 1980s.

One key to Federal Express’ success was a crafty use of multi-channel marketing and IT before most other marketers had recognized their strategic advantage.

FedEx – which became the company’s official name in 2000 – is perhaps most recognized in the marketing community for several iconic TV advertising campaigns created by BBDO during its early years. However, for years, direct marketing agency Digitas was also involved in extending these efforts across channels, such as direct mail and telemarketing initially and, later, the Internet. These days, like many marketers, FedEx is shifting its focus to digital marketing while reducing its overall budget. FedEx didn’t advertise during the 2009 Super Bowl after buying a spot there for many years. The company did, however, launch its first Webisode-based effort this summer.

FedEx is also a pioneer of customer service technology. In 1984, it introduced the first PC-based automated shipping system and distributed custom software to large customers. In 2000, it installed a database from NCR to gather information from its sales force, Internet and call centers.

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