How Sage’s marketing rethink drove a 12% revenue boost  

By overhauling its approach from B2B demand generation to human-centric brand building Sage changed perceptions, drove sales and improved its ROI.

Source: Sage

Forty years since its inception, accounting software giant Sage had lost its way. Faced with an influx of fresh competitors, the business needed to reclaim market share and re-engage its audience.

To turn things around Sage decided to go back to basics, shifting from a reliance on demand generation to brand building.

The business needed to cater to four core audiences – accountants, finance managers, HR professionals and SME owners – across eight markets. Focusing on its ‘dynamic investor’ target segment, Sage and agency VCCP combined 65 audience interviews with global quantitative data to develop three end-to-end customer experience maps.

Across all audience segments a recurring theme emerged of feeling lonely and unrepresented. Sage approached the rebrand as an opportunity to celebrate these “unsung heroes”, feeding its customer case studies into new creative platform ‘Voices of Business.’ The customer stories were paired with colourful animations, focusing on the emotional benefits of Sage products.

The marketers created more than 1,160 assets spanning channels from TV to outdoor to online. The new approach extended to sponsorships of Six Nations Rugby and cricket competition The Hundred.

The rebrand played a pivotal role in a “bumper year” for the business. Total recurring revenue rose by 12%, driven by customer acquisition and a renewal rate by value of 101%.

Winner of the 2023 Marketing Week Award for Brand Building Excellence in B2B, Sage claims refocusing on brand investment not only increased its marketing ROI but shifted perceptions. Compared to its nearest competitor, the company claims it is now perceived as 8% more insightful and 6% more empathetic.