In the summer of 2016, NetApp launched a multi-national campaign focused on improving market perception. In recent years, the flash marketplace has grown increasingly competitive—legacy companies such as HP, EMC, and NetApp were forced to contend with disruptors, such as Pure Storage and Nimble. Many of these startups offered two solutions in one: flash storage and data management. In effect, NetApp was losing market share in an industry it previously dominated. 

Compounding the challenge, NetApp faced poor market perception, which led to a 7% drop in YOY revenue. 

To improve market perception, and in turn, increase MQL and SQL conversions, NetApp needed to solve for the following tactical problems: 

Integrate media tactics and internal teams: 

Marketing, sales, paid media, and organic media functioned separately within NetApp. Instead of approaching media tactics in silos, NetApp needed to bring together internal teams to integrate myriad strategies under one umbrella. Doing so would help synthesize learnings and optimize performance on a holistic level. 

Increase awareness and elevate market perception: 

NetApp sought to change the market perception of flash in localized markets through branded editorial. 

Integrate measurement of strategies: 

In order to gauge campaign performance across multiple sources, a customized dashboard was needed. 

DWA mapped the tactical journey of a NetApp customer, assigning integrated strategies to all stages of the purchase funnel. The program included a mix of online display tactics, including high impact units on endemic sites and retargeting across the open web, executed alongside the creation and distribution of content. 

To elevate NetApp’s perception and drive MQLs and SQLs, the program aimed to: 

  • Continue the momentum generated by NetApp’s “If it’s Flash, It’s NetApp” campaign that launched in 2014 
  • Maintain NetApp’s brand presence in the flash market and continue to feature amongst IT professionals’ consideration lists 
  • Drive engagements with new and syndicated content

To address these goals, DWA’s solution incorporated three main components: 

1. Creating a NetApp Demand Centre

DWA leveraged the expertise of NetApp’s existing partners to create a “Demand Centre,” a group of media strategies with the collective purpose of helping to drive demand for NetApp’s flash storage. This performance engine allowed for the execution of a full funnel media solution, from awareness to conversions. 

Partners included marketing automation agency MarketOne (M1), and public relations company Hill + Knowlton. 

2. Identifying Channels to Maximize Engagement

To achieve the scale necessary to reach a wide group of IT professionals, DWA identified a group of publishers whose readership fell within NetApp’s target audience. This group included large publishers with reach across EMEA, and local partners with strong readerships within specific countries. These publishers served as conduits to the client’s target audience via high impact display units and syndicated NetApp content.

For retargeting, DWA utilized programmatic partner DataXu, while LinkedIn, Outbrain, and Twitter served as content amplification channels for publisher-created pieces, community blog posts, and NetApp’s customer stories. 

Creative and content were aimed at improving the market’s perception of flash, and in turn, encouraging NetApp to feature in IT decision makers’ consideration sets. 

3. Synthesizing Performance with a Customized Dashboard

To synthesize results from paid and owned/earned media, DWA worked with NetApp’s web development team and M1 to process backend performance. Instead of viewing performance in silos, results were aggregated across all media strategies to show holistic, full funnel impact.

The campaign resulted in:

  • A 235% product market growth (global average was 87.4%)
  • A 300% improvement in Industry Tracker score
- a #2 global ranking for flash solutions

  • 15% increase in MQLs
  • 100% increase in inquiries
- 25% increase in MS pipeline - $38M in EMEA flash pipeline

DWA's work with NetApp won the client a Sirius Decisions program of the year.