“This is probably the most successful and valuable program
I’ve run during my career. This is our secret weapon.”
- Eric Lewis, Senior Director of Corporate Marketing, GuardianEdge (now part of Symantec)
As the leading provider of endpoint data protection for the enterprise, GuardianEdge had more than 700 companies and government agencies across dozens of industries using its solutions. However, due to the delicate nature of computer security, GuardianEdge customers had been hesitant to talk about how they used the company’s solutions to safeguard sensitive and proprietary information. “It is always a challenge to get someone to speak on your behalf,” admits Eric Lewis, senior director of corporate marketing for GuardianEdge. “Many companies have specific policies that prevent them from talking about the security solutions they depend upon.”
Such policies previously made it difficult to carry out GuardianEdge awareness campaigns which are generally achieved through strong endorsements from customers. As a result, GuardianEdge understood that gaining participation from customers through a traditional customer reference program would be a less than appealing prospect for most. Yet without some sort of tool to showcase customer achievements, it is often extremely difficult to validate a product or demonstrate how a solution is used successfully.
GuardianEdge turned to Activa PR to create a unique approach that reached beyond the typical constraints of a customer reference program. Activa developed a Customer Recognition Program allowing GuardianEdge to provide a service that promotes customer achievements through a series of components including a comprehensive speaking and industry awards platform. Partnering closely with GuardianEdge sales and marketing teams, Activa helped to uncover strong candidates for the program. Activa then cultivated relationships with GuardianEdge customers and presented appropriate opportunities to create the most meaningful experience for those customers. “We selected Activa because of their strong track record in launching successful customer reference programs and because they have a unique knack for getting things done,” said Lewis.
By highlighting customer successes through its Customer Recognition Program, GuardianEdge was able to substantiate its own solutions and obtain strong validation in the marketplace. This valuable tool ultimately provided a vehicle for GuardianEdge customers to gain visibility as leaders in the use of cutting-edge security solutions. At the same time, GuardianEdge sales and marketing teams gained a business generation and customer retention resource.
GuardianEdge customers who participated in the recognition program saw their executives honored with prestigious industry awards, quoted in high-profile publications and featured on panels and as keynote speakers at exclusive industry forums, ultimately building their own reputations as thought leaders.
“This is probably the most successful and valuable program I’ve run during my career,”
said Lewis who has helmed more than a dozen specific marketing and sales efforts.
“This is our secret weapon.”
The ability to approach a customer with the offer of participating in a recognition program is quite compelling. “Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of it?” Lewis asks.
Occasionally, customers felt such a program was too good to be true and didn’t believe the intent. “We’re here to make the customer look good and there are no strings attached,” Lewis said.
This proven method of promoting the customer truly has its merits, Lewis adds. “If you ask a customer for a reference you may receive one but if you promote a customer through the customer recognition program you have a reference for life.”