Friday, February 20, 2009

What a great integrated marketing program looks like

If you’re looking for an inspiring example of a totally integrated marketing campaign, look no further than the Amgen Tour of California. Few programs pull it all together as effectively, and offer the potential to change as many lives worldwide, as this one.

The tour is the largest bicycle stage race in the U.S., covering 750 miles over nine days from February 14-22. It features the worlds top professional riders and teams including seven-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong who is celebrating his return to bike racing, along with support of his Livestrong cancer survivor advocacy and Amgen’s Breakaway from Cancer initiative.

This campaign represents the fourth time Amgen has put its marketing muscle behind the world-class event. Their totally integrated program beautifully leverages virtually every marketing medium: advertising, worthy cause promotion, sponsorship tie-ins, celebrity involvement, public relations, local marketing events, merchandise, online, social media, live coverage on the web and on television.

As I write this blog entry, I’m toggling my computer between my document and Amgen’s live coverage. Levi Leipheimer, who won the 2007 and 2008 race, just won today’s stage six, 24.1 kilometer (15 mile) time trial event in Solvang, CA and extended his overall lead. Levi, shown here raising three fingers in anticipation of winning his third straight tour, finished in 30:40. He’s fast, averaging over 29.3 mph!

A culture built around improving people’s lives

Amgen, is a world-leading biotech company devoted to discovering, developing, manufacturing and delivering innovative medicines. Their therapeutics have changed the practice of medicine, helping millions around the world in the fight against cancer and other illnesses.

Amgen’s desire to improve people’s lives is ingrained into their mission and culture. One of the ways they express this mission is through philanthropics that advance science education, improve quality of care and access of patients and support community resources.

In 2005, Amgen introduced Breakaway from Cancer as a critical component of its sponsorship. “One person alone does not beat cancer. It takes a team. Amgen's sponsorship of the Amgen Tour of California provides us with an opportunity to support the millions of people affected by cancer,” said Stuart A. Arbuckle, vice president and general manager of Oncology Business Unit at Amgen. “Amgen is proud to work with our Breakaway from Cancer nonprofit partners to raise awareness of the vital programs and services they provide that support people fighting cancer.”

Ride with Amgen employees—if you can keep up

Tour sponsorship touches every Amgen audience from employees to health care providers to cancer survivors and their families to each and every one of us, worldwide including the tightly-knit cycling community.

Healthy lifestyle matters to Amgen. And they “ride the ride,” if you’ll pardon the metaphorical extrapolation. Amgen sponsors one of the largest corporate employee cycling teams—with more than 900 members.

Totally connected, strategically strong

By now, the connections should be clear: Amgen’s involvement in developing breakthrough cancer theraputics. The personal connection of employees who have survived cancer (several of whom are featured in its online marketing). Its employee cycling team. Its creation of Breakaway from Cancer. The involvement of cancer-survivor activist Lance Armstrong. Each is a natural fit and a reason this program is so strategically strong.

No single marketing medium can deliver the impact that all these levers working together can deliver. See for yourself, watch the final two tour stages live tomorrow and Sunday. And use the Amgen Tour of California as a model for your major integrated marketing initiatives.

Images: Amgen, Amgen Tour of California, Breakaway from Cancer, Lance Armstrong, Livestrong.

Blog content: ©2009 Paul J. Hydzik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Paul Hydzik grows brand value. As a brand marketer and award-winning creative leader, Paul has more than 15 years of experience driving business success from start-ups to blue chips. His strategic resume covers all aspects of B2B and B2C branding from go-to-market to consumer insight to identity development and all forms of marketing communication.

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