We dared to fail! Tasked with launching a complex B2B telecoms product for start-ups in Germany when start-ups were in a steady decline. We smashed sales targets and transformed the client’s traditional performance media model.
German’s are scared of failure, failure is such an enormous loss of face they would rather do nothing than fail. This is even more pronounced in the German business world as pride is associated with careers and professional success. As a result, Germany, despite having a more stable economy, has seen a 54% decline in new business start-ups in the last 15 years at a time when the UK has seen it INCREASE by 31%! With so many new business opportunities enabled by technology (and a new phone plan to sell) we decided Germans needed a timely reminder that the only way to guarantee failure is never to try!
But targeting Entrepreneur is leading to another mesh of challenges.
First, the target group is elusive and impossible to describe by run of the mill sociodemographic markers. Anybody from any industry can be an entrepreneur, a "founder" from the newsboy to the app developer. Second, the product proved to be quite complex to offer a single, strong buy-in and demanded a high level of involvement from potential customer. Third, Unitymedia covers only parts of Germany, thus making the product regionally restricted while still being part of the liberty global brand assets.
This German “Angst” was the cultural truth UnityMedia as a local subsidiary of liberty global addressed with its "Start-up Package" in a market heavily dominated by global brands and fixed-term contracts for 24 months: it allows customers to quit the contract on a monthly basis and grants an extended 6-months period for free, unlike any other provider.
We dared Germany to fail! Firstly we recruited some of the most successful German entrepreneurs to create engaging content that told their stories of failure and their ultimate success. We amplified our campaign across native articles in business online magazines, social (targeting custom built audiences) and created podcasts for potential entrepreneurs to listen to on their commute. This new media mix was a dramatic leap from the performance campaigns usually relied upon on a global level and when it comes to reaching sales targets for a new product offer.
So we worked out a data-driven strategy to meet local entrepreneurial needs.
- Discoverability: A well-built local landing page coupled with SEA & SEO measures were crucial in the initial phase.
- Segmentation: We translated the extremely varied target group into regional data segments that we could address, such as people looking for small business office space in real estate listings. In this phase, we also placed native ads on websites and in online magazines geared towards entrepreneurs.
- Involvement: In an intricate process we vetted and selected reliable partners, who enjoyed a high standard and authentic reputation as entrepreneurs or managers who experienced failure first-hand at an earlier stage of their career. Our selected entrepreneur partners created original content, blog posts, YouTube videos and even podcasts, centering around the topic of failure and success, also establishing Unitymedia as reliable and relevant partner with a great understanding for the local German entrepreneurial challenges.