Appealing To The Personal Pride Of Small Business Owners

Being the biggest and best in the world is an accomplishment to be proud of, but what if you’re trying to reach small business owners? That’s the challenge ADP faced when the global provider of business outsourcing solutions sought to expand into the small business market. Despite the value that ADP workforce solutions offered to these businesses, the company was perceived as being too large and corporate focused. By humanizing the company and appealing to the personal pride of small business owners, ADP sales exceeded plan in this new market.


ADP is a comprehensive global provider of cloud-based Human Capital Management (HCM) solutions and a leader in business outsourcing services, analytics and compliance expertise. But as the company sought to expand into the small business market, research revealed that these business owners did not perceive ADP as a viable solution due to its large size and corporate focus. We needed to redefine the ADP brand position, value proposition and product portfolio for this new “small business owner” audience.


To better understand the mindset of the small business owner, we conducted research that would give us insight into their emotional and professional drivers. One thing we learned is that these business owners derive tremendous satisfaction and pride from the delivery of accurate and timely paychecks to employees. With this insight, we decided to flip the brand platform on its hinges, focusing not on the value of ADP solutions to the business owner, but the value of accurate and timely payroll solutions to the end-consumer: the employee.


An integrated campaign was planned and launched to reposition the ADP master brand among small business owners. Concept testing favored a “Paid by ADP” message, which featured the employees of real ADP small business customers enjoying the fruits of their paychecks, all processed by ADP. The campaign was rolled out through advertising, events, digital platforms, sales tools and direct marketing. To enlist the support of the ADP sales teams, we invited the field to visit a microsite where they could nominate their own customers to be featured in the campaign.


Resulting sales after the campaign launched exceeded expectations. A 15% increase in sales leads driven to the microsite and call center was achieved. We saw measured improvement in conversion rates and projected life cycle revenue per customer. Also significant was the tremendous response from the sales organization, including the large number of customers nominated for inclusion in the campaign and the increased utilization of marketing materials and tools by the field.


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