SBJ/April 1-7, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Plugged In: Jonathan Becher, CMO, SAP

Computer industry veteran Jonathan Becher joined SAP in 2007, when the company acquired Pilot Software. He’s been chief marketing officer at SAP since April 2011, during which time the company has increased its sports marketing spend dramatically. Since technology integration with sports is one of the paramount topics across the industry, SAP’s interest in sports should continue to grow.    
— Compiled by Terry Lefton

Photo by: SAP

We have the [NFL] league deal and we are trying to own fantasy as a marketing platform. Our [sponsored] award is the Fantasy Player of the Year, and by supplying the numbers to allow a basis of comparison, we think it’s a real way to stand out.



Target marketing:
The marketing world has made a mistake by trying to differentiate B-to-B and B-to-C marketing. … We market to companies, but we recognize that when we are dealing with the finance person, or the IT person, or the salesperson, or the HR person — all want something different. So really, our marketing is B-to-B-to-C.
 
Getting their attention: [Smaller] companies are generally wary of technology because [the employees] have grown up in the company and they wonder if they really need what we sell. We have stuff that could cost them as little as $10 a month. If we can show them how our technology can change sports, we have a better chance of showing them how they can change the way they interact with their own customers.

Using sports:
We already have people saying, “I want my business data to provide as much competitive information as you have shown SAP can do in the world of sports.” … Our sports sponsorships are a moneymaking enterprises for us, and we’ve more than doubled our spend there over the past 18 months or so.
 
About the NFL: Our value proposition with the NFL …  is using technology to help businesses do what they do better. Next, we will be embracing fantasy and use our technology to get deeper numbers in terms of tendencies and more extensive mining of NFL data.

What’s next: Everyone wants a second screen with them now. If we can be the brand behind the technology that makes the game-day experience as good as the home experience for NFL fans, and create a network of fans around the game and get deep into fantasy, we’ll be at the center of the NFL as technology needs change; we’ll be there to provide change.

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