This is a truly remarkable client success story for many reasons, one being that Atomic Revenue, two PR firms, a media buyer, a creative agency, a tableau® building consultant, an internal organization of 10+ employees, and a board of directors all worked together to take Paper & Packaging Board’s marketing and educational campaign strategy to the next level. This collaboration and the objective were very different from the norm, as Paper & Packaging Board does not sell anything. It is an association that exists to influence the global community to use more of the industry’s products, with no revenue or profit to measure and track results.
Find out how a one-of-a-kind campaign strategy went from a consumer pull-through campaign to an industry push-through campaign with more B2B sales elements, and how it was implemented, measured, and tracked to achieve a weighted engagement rate that almost tripled in one year, and a steady increase of 7,297 target audience actions in just nine months.
The Uniqueness of Paper & Packaging Board Project
Paper & Packaging Board is the voice of an industry of major publicly traded companies. Its board of directors is made up of the executives and leaders of those publicly traded companies who pay into the association for an industry marketing campaign. To get a nationwide group of competitors across thousands of product categories to agree on how to spend campaign funds in a way that benefits everyone in the industry was challenging and political. Atomic Revenue accomplished this in a measurable way with integrated KPIs that demonstrated the value of their spend as an augmentation to the USDA Check-Off Program econometrics models.
Our team also enabled the measurement of purchase intent as it related to consumer sentiment, which was measured through market research. We not only expanded the campaign’s reach and objectives, but we also positioned Paper & Packaging as a resource for raw material converters, distributors, wholesalers, and the entire supply chain, from pulp to sales to consumption.
The biggest challenge of the Paper & Packaging Board program was identifying the value proposition and reaching the target audience. When one thinks of the marketing and educational campaigns for beef, dairy, eggs, or avocados, it is much easier to recognize because they are sold as products to consumers and manufacturers.
In contrast, the general public doesn’t buy paper pulp. Pulp is a raw good that’s turned into paper and fiber products before it is converted into a product that is sold, such as corrugated boxes or sheets of paper for envelope manufacturing or commercial printing. Then, those manufacturers and mills turn it into other products that get packaged and sold to distributors, retail, commercial, and other industries before consumers ever touch it. Thousands of products are bought and sold dozens of times before the commodity of "pulp" becomes a consumable good.
When Atomic Revenue began working with Paper & Packaging Board, the focus was strictly on a consumer campaign. Once we conducted research and began diagnoses of the existing campaign’s issues, the emphasis became a value proposition for paper and fiber packaging that addresses:
- Global awareness
- Sales enablement
- Sales validation
- Public relations
- Industry sustainability/benefits
The campaign also shows all the ways in which paper continues to drive value into our everyday lives, even in a world where recycling is questioned, waste reduction is a social theme, and minimalism is a social trend.
The goal of the campaign is to get consumers to buy into using paper and fiber-based packaging. For example, meetings are more productive with handouts. Students learn better when they take handwritten notes. To take an entire industry from pulp-to-consumer awareness and decision-making and see significant results was rewarding.
Data-Driven Challenges & Solutions that Went Beyond the Campaign
Paper & Packaging Board needed to clearly demonstrate itself as a highly valued resource to manufacturing companies in the paper and fiber packaging industry. To do this, the organization needed to take back control of its own data (SEO organic web performance, public relations, paid LinkedIn advertising) and KPI reporting from multiple marketing agency partners to show an integrated impact story to its board of directors and the companies it serves, as well as make informed campaign decisions.
Good campaign performance measurement was imperative to show the customer journey, focus on the metrics that matter, allow for year-over-year comparisons despite strategic shifts, and clearly show campaign value. However, individual partners’ data was disparate and provided no view on the customer journey and no connection between data sets. Other issues included:
- Too many vanity metrics from all the different marketing agency partners that created noise around what was important and clouded the real indicators.
- Limited benchmark evaluation comparisons of year-over-year progress and between segments.
- Limited focus on ROI and budget – key components in understanding the value on marketing spend.
In sum, Paper & Packaging Board could not provide its board of directors data that showed the campaign’s value and why industry professionals should continue to fund the program, largely because the organization did not own its data or have value-driven data. Paper & Packaging Board received limited information for optimizing performance and had no way to demonstrate the impact of an evolving campaign strategy.
Atomic Revenue developed the following steps to solve its campaign impact and measurement goals using the right data:
- Prove value progression of the annual marketing campaign.
- Identify opportunities to improve or expand campaign impact.
- Investigate the relationship between campaign and consumption.
How Atomic Revenue Resolved KPI Management & Framework
Before the team at Paper & Packaging Board contacted Atomic Revenue, they recognized the need for centralized management of all data and development of a holistic framework that connected the independent agency partner silos. Atomic Revenue managed and resolved these needs with the following objectives:
- Develop a strategic measurement framework.
- Aggregate 200+ data sources from multiple partners into a single data-visualization tool.
- Support the tableau® vendor in executing the data-visualization requirements of the project and navigate the politics of data access.
- Use data-points from media, creative, PR, social media partners, and staff research to create a holistic view by connecting front-end impressions (impressions) to back-end activity (website sessions, social activity) to show progression of the customer journey.
- Develop a weighted scoring model, as not all activities are valued the same.
- Add budgets to understand the return on investment (ROI) for each area of the $25M+ annual campaign.
- Benchmark year-over-year performance to understand impact of adjusted campaign strategies.
- Create executive reporting to top line campaign progression for the board of directors.
- Identify areas for investment reallocation by cutting waste and find hidden opportunities.
- Adjust KPI requirements to reflect annual shifts in campaign strategy, approach, and impact.
Atomic Revenue helped them look at the consumer journey and the entire production and distribution supply chain between pulp producers and end-users to drive greater impact within the industry. It was this strategy that shifted the way agencies and media were managing campaign dollars.
The data-visualization dashboard helped them make strategic marketing allocation decisions. For example, Paid Search showed the strongest ROI, so it reinforced the recommendation to allocate more budget to Paid Search. KPIs also helped identify that Twitter needed to be adjusted as a much lower ROI than other social channels.
We identified B2B and sales support opportunities that changed the focus of the campaign with supporting materials for industry sales reps and on-trend consumer awareness messaging that promoted engagement. We continued to refine measurements while still recognizing year-over-year improvements in the way consumers engage with the campaign.
Throughout the entire process, we were teaching them why the new data (that they now owned) was significantly more impactful than the previously siloed vanity metrics, which provides the Paper & Packaging team the ability to move forward with understanding and make informed data-driven decisions.
The pivotal moment in this project came once Paper & Packaging Board gained ownership of its data, connected the silos, and showed progress in the campaign with year-over-year benchmarks. Being able to “see” the customer journey and the ROI was an ah-ha! moment.
- Vendor selection
- Vendor management
- Performance benchmarks
Audits & Assessments
- Evaluation of people, process, data
- Marketing operations audit
- Industry sales opportunity audit
- Vender and agency metrics audit
KPI Strategy & Framework
- Dashboard selection and integration
- Customer journey mapping
- Aggregate and integrate partner data
- Third-party data integration
- Measured holistic campaign progression
- Identified investment reallocation opportunities
- Grew dashboard development and utilization capabilities
"Industry campaigns are complex in both strategic direction and measurable performance since competitors co-fund initiatives to impact consumer goodwill and product preference. Measuring campaign performance and value requires data from multiple agencies, market research, and third-party sources within a KPI strategy that withstands the politics of diverse perspectives, serves all stakeholders, and presents clearly in an automated dashboard. Atomic Revenue was an excellent partner for our team, our agencies, our Board, and our Tableau team to accomplish these objectives." – Mary Anne Hansan, President, Paper & Packaging Board
Optimized – Paper & Packaging Board Key Accomplishments
Due to data visualization in the holistic dashboard, the Paper & Packaging Board campaign continues to be monitored and adjusted to perform well. The campaign highlights the areas of life that are just not the same without paper and fiber packaging, and continues to support all phases of the industry, including sales professionals’ B2B needs.
We also found that eCommerce, of course, drives packaging, but on the paper side, Millennials and Gen Z prefer to read printed books because they look at screens all day, and journaling, planners, and organizers are growth markets. We also see direct mail and paper billing once again driving real value for businesses, even though those sectors were on the decline for a long time.
With Atomic Revenue’s programs, Paper & Packaging Board achieved and continues to optimize the following accomplishments with data-driven strategies and messaging created and backed by meaningful metrics.
- Created a single, holistic executive dashboard so that the progress of the campaign is clear year.
- Proved distinctly that the campaign continues to meet its goal to move users through the customer journey with more campaign engagement (see Weighted Engagement Rate chart).
- Developed an “Action Goal” metric to show users’ strong interest in content by their actions of downloading, printing, or sharing content (see Actions Goal chart).
- Identified opportunities to reallocate investment for higher performance platforms. For example, more frequent digital searches increased engagement in content by users. Within search, invest more in Bing as stronger ROI than Google.
- True intent surveys connected the campaign directly to the audience’s buying habits.
- Expanded reach of consumer-influencing content to full-sales channel so the campaign could directly support salespeople in converter, distributor, retailer, designer, publisher, and printer industries downstream.
In Summary – Data-driven Solutions Preserve Important Industry-Funded Resource
Paper & Packaging Board is the voice of an industry that is now heard. Competitors across thousands of paper and fiber product categories can see that their combined campaign funds are benefiting everyone, from pulp to consumer. The campaign messages and CTAs are tailored to each target audience, and consumers and users are responding. The ability to measure results with data-driven, meaningful metrics and adjust for optimal outcomes has never been clearer.
With the weighted engagement rate almost tripling, and actions and indicators of deep interest in content, such as downloads and prints, steadily rising, this important paper and fiber packaging resource is a successful collaboration that can be maintained for years to come.
Our team thrives on partnering with our clients to help maximize Revenue Operations and launch measurable growth. Not sure where to start? We make it easy – simply take the first step by contacting us for a free, no-obligation revenue operations assessment and we’ll guide you through the exciting process.
About Roger Bielicke
Roger is an Executive Partner at Atomic Revenue and owns Unleash Insight. He has 24 years of previous experience at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, leading analytics initiatives for the Car Sales Division. His role included location planning strategies, consumer activity analysis, and identifying key business drivers to optimize performance, skills that honed the data-driven strategies he uses to help clients today. Roger excels at organizing and establishing processes to connect departments together so that everyone contributes to winning outcomes.