Building relationships with small to midsize businesses

Staples / Office Products Retail & Distribution

The Background

Staples needed to support its field sales force in building and maintaining relationships with small to midsize businesses throughout the country. The company needed an omnichannel approach that would reach fast-growth small-business owners and decision-makers in an ever-competitive landscape. So the program needed to stand out while reaching the audience members where they were.

Staples Worklife magazine and content marketing

The Challenge

As part of the company’s brand transformation, Staples sought to launch a new print magazine and online content to support its sales team and small- to midsize-business customers. The Worklife content program would embody the company’s new brand values as an inspired and proactive ally to small-business customers. Additionally, Staples sought to position itself as a thought leader and a curator of inspiring content relating to life at work — regardless of industry or profession.

Staples Worklife content marketing program branding

The Solution

In partnership with Imagination, now the Content Marketing Practice at The Mx Group, Staples launched Worklife magazine, a quarterly, 68-page, high-quality print magazine distributed to more than 500,000 current and prospective customers. The magazine features advice, resources and solutions-based content that address the pain points and needs of small to midsize businesses. Additionally, a number of digital complementary assets, including monthly static and interactive infographics, are created for use on Staples’ website and atomized for social media channels. Finally, the Worklife Resource Center content hub features a quarterly full-length Q&A video with the featured business owner, celebrity, or expert in the current magazine issue and monthly online-only articles. The magazine also supports Staples’ in-person Worklife events and other initiatives.

Worklife uses thought leadership content to build a content ecosystem that provides inspiration and practical know-how to innovative solvers. In doing so, the omnichannel program connects a community of like-minded individuals, bridges industry-leading ideas with action-oriented solutions, and leads challenging but necessary conversations about the world of work. Through a strong thought-leadership-driven content program, small- to midsize-business owners are sent the message that Staples is an inspiring, proactive ally.

Staples Worklife magazine and content marketing

The Result

The Worklife content marketing program helped change the perception of Staples among customers and prospects. The program helped Staples to be seen as a thought leader and drove increased loyalty / share of wallet among the most-valued small-business customers. It also drove sales through one of three channels: retail, direct sales or online.

  • 64% increase in web traffic after Worklife launch
  • Outperforming Facebook benchmark cost per lead (CPL) by 67%
  • 23% and 27% October and November click-to-open rates, much higher than previous months
The second issue of Worklife looks fantastic! Thanks to the entire Imagination team for your great work!
Naomi Fujimoto  ​/​ Marketing Program Director, Staples
I was reading an online review of the cable show ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and the reviewer, who is leaving at the end of the season, said it would be interesting to see how the new reviewer would find new ways each week to say, ‘Elisabeth Moss is really good.‘ That’s how I feel about Imagination: I’m always trying to find new ways to tell you how much we appreciate and love your work. You are the Elisabeth Moss of marketing agencies!
Naomi Fujimoto  ​/​ Marketing Program Director, Staples
Staples Worklife magazine motivation

The Awards

Staples won Best Print Publication at the 2022 Content Marketing Awards (aka the CMAs) for Staples Worklife magazine.

Brand magazines can be highly effective sales tools, and Staples Worklife is no exception. The magazine is used as an icebreaker to prompt conversations between Staples’ sales team and its top business clients. To facilitate that dialogue without pushing products, we find subtle ways to incorporate helpful office supplies that solve common workplace challenges. For example, in a recent feature titled “A Better Way,” an illustrated guide offers tips and tech tools for mastering video conference setups.

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