The Drum Awards Brand Strategy The Drum B2B Awards

How Intercept and Microsoft went big to snap up small businesses


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 5, 2022 | 5 min read

Intercept won at The Drum Awards for B2B 2022 in the Best B2B Customer Experience award for its Innovation Mavericks campaign on behalf of Microsoft. Here's why our judges loved it:

Innovation Mavericks brought big business service to a raft of small and medium sized enterprises

Innovation Mavericks brought big business service to a raft of small and medium sized enterprises

Small and medium-sized businesses, ironically, make up a huge proportion of the audience for technology tools. With the need to be more agile than their larger rivals, they are keen to eke out the best value from their tech solutions.

The brief

Microsoft is known as a leading technology brand for 'big business’, which - while valuable - has pushed start-ups and scale-ups to compete cloud providers. So to combat this shift, Microsoft built a 30-person team of field sellers to win SMB customers and get them running on Microsoft’s cloud services (Azure). For the sales team to succeed, they needed a smart marketing strategy to generate high-quality leads.

The business goal was to generate new revenue – a lot of revenue. Five million of additional cloud spending on Azure came from SMBs, which meant a staggering 30% year-over-year growth - a tall order even for a global giant like Microsoft.

The idea

Research told Intercept that small businesses nevertheless want to be treated like big businesses, with personalized communication, relevant offerings, and useful insights. The challenge, then, was to design a ‘managed account experience' for SMBs that could function at scale and be cost-effective.

The team set out to do so in a number of ways. Under the aegis of 'Innovation Mavericks', it paired SMBs with innovation investments, technology consultants, Microsoft engineers, and training resources to help scale their business growth. It also used LinkedIn among other marketing channels to target high-growth digital native companies and legacy businesses it identified as ripe for transformation and reached them through Conversation Ads and LinkedIn CarouselAds.

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The results

In its first year, the Innovation Mavericks campaign empowered nearly 100 businesses by identifying innovation roadblocks, offering strategic business and technology mentoring, and providing access to innovation investments.

It all added up to $14million of business impact, a 280% increase over the target of $5million of incremental cloud spending on Microsoft Azure. The program was one of the most successful pilots in Microsoft history, proving that marketing can do more than generate campaign impressions and qualified leads: it can net real revenue. The success of this project was a contributing factor to the project owner-winning Microsoft Gold Club.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum B2B Awards 2022. The full list of winners can be found here.

The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

The Drum Awards Brand Strategy The Drum B2B Awards

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