HOUSTON: BMC Software, a provider of business service management solutions, has selected Waggener Edstrom Worldwide as its AOR for an account worth somewhere between $1 to $2 million, according to Mark Stouse, BMC director of worldwide corporate communications.
The extensive three-month pitch process involved 15 firms. WagEd beat out co-finalists Weber Shandwick and GlobalFluency for the account, which begins July 1, 2006. Incumbent Porter Novelli, which repitched, had represented the company for the past six years. Sarah Russ, WagEd VP and GM in the agency's Austin office, will lead the account.
WagEd will help create an integrated, multichannel communications program, focusing heavily on media relations and competitive relations.
"[A goal] is understanding to the extent that is legal and ethical what a competitor is up to and being competitive with them in the press by holding them accountable for the delta between what they say and what they do,” Stouse said.
Stouse said that WagEd and the communications department would jointly decide, on a quarterly basis, metrics (both media and revenues) and goals for the PR function.
“If they hit those metrics, they’re paid a certain amount; if they exceed them, they get paid more,” Stouse said. The purpose, he added, was to directly tie PR to the business objective. Stouse also said that the account billings could increase next year.
Stouse said the company took great care to pay attention to the client-facing teams at the potential agencies during the pitch process.
“Having spent 20 years in the business, on both the agency and corporate side, the whole RFP process had gotten way out of control,” Stouse said. “We didn’t want to focus on agency offerings; we wanted to focus on the capabilities of individuals that would be working on my account.”
Stouse said that BMC mandated the three finalists pitch with only staffers who would be directly working on the account, with a mandate to agencies to not "Clutter up the process with a lot of extraneous people.”
The company took finalists through pop quizzes and intense, one-on-one breakout sessions.
“We wanted to do a deep dive with the individuals on each agency team during the final presentation,” Stouse said. “We took a hard look [to ensure] the people knew what they were talking about. We were looking for people who knew technology stone cold and could translate the tech story into a larger story to the man on the street.”
Stouse said that, at BMC, PR has a significant seat at the table.
“I meet with the CEO regularly and meet with senior execs,” Stouse said. “BMC is cognizant of its need to better communicate with wider audiences; we see the impact of it on top-line growth. I’m a big believer that PR is not only a brand function, but demand-generation function; PR needs to help the sales team close the deal.”