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Turning the Art of War into the Art of WOW

By Torie Sullivan

Jul 31, 2015

About 6 minutes

CFO-ebook-1.pngHow TSL Built a Brand from the Ground Up with Inbound

Starting out, this project was completely "from scratch." The IBM BP Network didn't exist before two years ago, and the TSL Marketing team was tasked with creating, promoting and building that brand from the ground up. This eBook was just one element in our content marketing machine. 

Their overall target audience was mid-to-enterprise level companies interested in how IT solutions can improve their business’ bottom line. From this, the ultimate goal was to provide sales opportunities and closed business to business partners in the network.

The Big Picture

For this campaign, IT BP Network’s target persona was the IT Director. The primary challenges for this persona were:

  • Overcoming budgetary restrictions
  • Adopting new technology to remain competitive
  • Finding ways to store, access, and migrate data

He also has to overcome supporting his employees with outdated technologies. 


The IT BP Network had a goal of positioning themselves to align their solutions with the sometimes conflicting goals of the CFO and IT Director. As a result, the eBook entitled, The Art of Persuading A CFO, was born.

The goal was to help IT Directors realize that their goals weren’t all that different from those of their CFOs, they were simply worded differently. Aligning the two was a matter of conveying the benefit of addressing the needs of IT as a positive affect on the company’s bottom line.

Getting A Better Understanding of Your Personas


One of the two original content pieces emphasized 'reasons you should upgrade your storage.' It had very few conversions even though we distributed the content to a targeted audience of storage and server professionals. The reason this failed is obvious in retrospect.

Storage professionals know WHY they should upgrade and they know the advantages and benefits. Where this content failed is that it spoke to the IT professional like they weren't in fact professionals. It certainly addressed a business issue, but it's an issue that IT pros understand very well. The old content brought nothing new to the table. As a result it got few clicks and fewer conversions.

The Intersection of the Personal and the Professional

We got together as a team and brainstormed on the issue. After a few rounds of idea generation we settled on a topic that better spoke to the personal/professional problem the IT Storage Professional faces. They know all of the benefits of upgraded storage but they face challenges getting IT budgets approved.

The goal now was to build out a content piece that provided professional tips for IT pros on how to make the business case for storage to their CFO. TSL was able to take the content and target the very same audience and get a much larger response. We saw more clicks and conversion rates at the peak of the promotion of around 30%.

The Solution

The newer eBook, The Art of Persuading A CFO, served as a guide for IT Directors to persuade their CFOs to support storage project pitches, citing benefits to the bottom-line in a way that would resonate with a CFO. These benefits included:

  • Productivity and operational increases
  • Measurable ROI on storage investments
  • Employee retention
  • Overall customer satisfaction

To compensate for low initial organic site traffic, we invested in LinkedIn advertising and persona targeting to provide early results. The content was sponsored on LinkedIn using LinkedIn sponsored updates, with a CTR of about 1%. 

This provided qualified traffic to the blog and landing pages and ignited the lead generation process. As new leads came rolling in, our Inside Sales team were notified via the the HubSpot and Salesforce integration and immediately reached out to those conversions with a human touch.

Failing Forward

The IT BP Network content The Art of Persuading a CFO was a success born out of a failure. The original content envisioned for the campaign was:

  1. Overly product focused
  2. Built with business pains in mind but without a deeper grasp of the needs of the persona

This piece was a great example of how agile marketers can use 'failure' to inform the framework for successful strategy.



Art of Persuading a CFO eBook results to date:

  • 1499 Unique Visits

  • 26.4% Visit-to-Conversion Rate

  • 395 Qualified Leads

  • 2 Wins

  • $137,272 in Closed Business


Curious about how TSL can help transform your online presence leveraging content marketing? Download the free whitepaper below. 


content marketing ebook

Tags: IT trends, advertising