This is the untold story of how a technology innovator is taking on a $55B communication tech market. Learn how a public company with $300M+ in revenue is reaching and engaging new audiences by aligning human creativity with the core principles of performance marketing.
The Voice over IP (VoIP) calling market is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world, with a market size that will hit $55B by 2025. But becoming a leader in this sector isn’t going to be easy—there’s fierce competition in this ecosystem, particularly among businesses that each have their own unique value propositions. The ability to reach the right audiences, at key decision-making moments, is mission-critical for companies like 8x8, which has created an integrated platform for communication, collaboration, and data access that moves “at the speed of business.”
That’s why the company turned to out-of-home (OOH) channels—and AdQuick, in particular—to increase the efficiency and impact of its $30M performance marketing program.
“We are the only company in our industry that is fully unified and owns the entire technology stack,” explains Ken Suzuki, marketing director at 8x8. “That value proposition gives us a position in the VoIP market that no other company can bring to the table. When we increase brand awareness, we become more efficient across all marketing channels, especially search and display. If we get more out of our marketing budget, it will always grow—and our company’s revenues will grow, too.”
Since the Silicon Valley company’s founding in 1987, 8x8 has grown to $300M in annual revenue, having navigated a series of twists and turns over the last decade. The company is a Gartner designed leader and has been awarded 128 patents computer related to semiconductors, computer architecture, vid eo processing algorithms, videophones, communications technologies, and securities.
Growth, for an already high-performing company, means making its marketing funnel more efficient on the conversion-side—connecting the dots between the moment of brand discovery, along the path to purchase. Growth also means venturing into untapped markets and getting creative with brand development programs.
How AdQuick unlocks new, highly profitable growth gateways
Across the board, digital marketing ecosystems are becoming more saturated with information—and more expensive, as a result. The 8x8 team needed a way to grow its marketing impact with minimal impact to its overall budget. Seeking advertising channels that deliver high quality at a low cost, Suzuki came across AdQuick through a referral from one of 8x8’s agency partners. He learned that OOH CPMs, through the AdQuick platform, would be lower than digital channels. He quickly saw an opportunity to generate a higher return on his team’s existing marketing spend.
“There’s something to be said about a static billboard,” says Suzuki, who began his performance marketing career almost two decades ago. “It’s always going to be there. If you’re driving down the same highway every morning at 7:45, it’s going to reach audiences for however long you purchase the placement. It’s probably the least expensive."
In January 2019, OOH marketing became a focal point of 8x8’s marketing mix. After working with AdQuick to run a test campaign in New York consisting of billboards, taxi ads, and transit station ads, Suzuki and his team drove a 350 percent increase in website conversions and 400 percent in region-specific brand awareness, according to a brand-lift study. Based on these early results, Suzuki and his team decided to implement an evergreen, ongoing OOH program.
“We do GeoBlitzes—as city takeovers—at 8x8 in our top designated market areas (DMAs) and metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) based on existing revenue and propensity to buy,” explains Suzuki. “We look at the concentration of businesses in a particular area, as well as the buying patterns of customers.”
In partnership with AdQuick, 8x8 has expanded its presence into nascent, growing tech hubs such as Chicago, Minneapolis, and Atlanta in the US and London in the UK.
What to keep in mind when buying OOH media
One of the challenges of the OOH market is that it’s fragmented, with ad units being owned by different entities. Without AdQuick, the process of buying media involves collaborating with multiple media owners and coordinating logistics with each individually through low-tech means, to get a campaign launched. Suzuki, who came to AdQuick with OOH media buying experience, explains that launching multiple city takeovers would have been near-impossible without AdQuick’s technology.
“It’s a rough process,” he explains. “There are only 24 hours in the day, and we’d all prefer to spend 8 of those hours sleeping. I don’t think anyone wants to commit to a 200 hour work week for the sake of launching a marketing campaign.”
Because of fragmentation in the industry, the process of launching an out of home campaign can be expensive due to unnecessary media waste. Suzuki found that with AdQuick, campaign costs were less expensive than going direct.
“AdQuick lowers the barriers to entry for out of home,” Suzuki says. “With AdQuick, out-of-home is almost not out-of-home anymore. It’s digital. If you think about platforms like YouTube TV or Roku—or whatever, you buy media through a digital platform. That means analog channels have the same capabilities of their programmatic counterparts.”
With AdQuick, performance marketers like Suzuki can:
- Overlay demographic data on maps to identify target audiences—and lookalike audiences
- Track amplification effects of campaigns through shares and re-shares of content on social media
- Preview media based on their surroundings through a proprietary, satellite mapping feature
- Sort opportunities by CPM
- Tap into geofencing capabilities to see whether ad units are driving action
So where does 8x8 find its success?
Success, according to Suzuki, boils down to a brand’s ability to be creative and deliver a message that stays memorable with fellow humans.
“That’s the fun part of marketing,” he says. “If you don’t make it fun, then it’s not memorable. Otherwise, you’re going to create, essentially, something that should belong in a dictionary rather than a social space. Nobody wants to read that. It has to be light and cheeky.”
Suzuki elaborates that there’s a systematic process for determining what will resonate. Consider 8x8’s New York geoblitz, as an example.
“We first extrapolated what our selling points were,” he says. “We then integrated these selling points with plays of New York slang—for instance, that Long Island is ‘Strong Island.’ There are five boroughs here that each have their own personality and flair.”
With this mindset, 8x8’s test campaign took on a life of its own.
“There was one specific billboard at Bryant Park that got a lot of attention,” he says. “Musicians started playing in front of it, which made for an amazing, unexpected social media campaign. We didn’t think about this initially. But people were pushing out our marketing, with musicians in front.”
Out of home has reached a new era that takes businesses back to its most human roots in marketing and advertising—with a programmatic twist.
To learn from more AdQuick customers, check out this 3 minute video, here.
This blog post was a collaboration between the AdQuick team. Chris Gadek, John McClung, and Jack Gaylor contributed to this piece. Payton Biddington created the visuals.If you'd like to learn how out of home can work with your unique marketing campaign and business, send a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call (213) 986-6179. We'll reach out with case studies and recommendations tailored to you.
The opinions expressed are those of the authors. This material has been prepared for educational purposes only. Please be sure to consult with your internal team of stakeholders to assess your specific needs before adapting any practices from this blog, as your own.