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SoftwareOne Highlights Expertise With Daring Creative

Integrated campaign brings awareness and drives engagement with SoftwareOne’s FinOps experience by adding personality to an emerging topic.


The cloud promises innovation capabilities and costs savings, but without effective cloud financial management (FinOps), organizations lack the transparency, predictability and governance to capitalize on their investment. SoftwareOne’s team of FinOps pros helps customers regain control of cloud spend and accelerate the adoption of cloud financial management practices.

As organizations advance their digital transformations under the backdrop of economic uncertainty, FinOps is rising as a critical framework for organizations across industries, one that requires experience and dedicated knowledge to implement.

SoftwareOne tapped Walker Sands to elevate awareness and drive market adoption and interest in its differentiated approach to FinOps. Our team took a chance and pitched a bold concept that hinged on a film noir video series starring SoftwareOne’s FinOps SMEs — who we asked to fly to Chicago and dress up like detectives. The team’s confidence in our creative idea garnered results across a growing number of activations.

splash-worthy creative concept that differentiated SoftwareOne’s FinOps solution amidst traditional cloud narratives

above benchmark Google Display click-through rate

social media engagement rate, exceeding industry standard

The Ask

SoftwareOne needed to promote the concept of financial cloud management, its essential role in achieving and measuring cloud business impact, and their expertise among a crowded marketplace of cloud vendors. Our creative team was tasked with developing a concept that would educate and engage IT leaders with a consultative and friendly approach and drive action through activations at all stages of the marketing funnel.

The Concept

As organizations increase their reliance on the cloud, the processes behind it become siloed and complex. SoftwareOne’s FinOps leaders shared that one-third of all cloud computing spend is wasted — and many teams either don’t realize it or don’t know why it’s happening. With this insight in mind, Walker Sands developed the key selling idea that organizations need to discover where their cloud spend is going. 

As FinOps continued to gain ground across industries, SoftwareOne needed to break through the industry’s repetitive cloud messaging with content that told the tale of excess cloud spend in a relatable, interesting way. We proposed the campaign lean into the language and aesthetic of the mystery genre to bring organizations’ foggy view of cloud spend to life. The full-funnel initiative would bring SoftwareOne a step out of its comfort zone and cast FinOps leaders as savvy Cloud Detectives, magnifying glass and all. 

This approachable campaign would explain and champion the framework and position SoftwareOne as experienced and relentless partners ready to guide companies through their cloud optimization journey with FinOps. A series of activations would lean into a smart, but playful tone, with language and art fit for a crime drama, to challenge CFOs, CTOs, and CIOs at various stages of the buyer journey to crack the case.

The Activation

Right away, Walker Sands worked to bring the Cloud Detectives to life, starting with a live-action video series. SoftwareOne recommended two key FinOps leaders who embodied the spirit of the campaign — they knew the framework inside and out and could break it down in their sleep. We asked them to ditch their slide presentations and step into the studio with Walker Sands to film a six-part video series that introduced the core tenants of FinOps. Walker Sands set the first-time actors up for success by producing a comprehensive outline for each video, identifying soundbites fit for sleuths. 

Next, Walker Sands developed custom illustrations of the Cloud Detectives to visually connect collateral across channels and provide mascots for the friendly support SoftwareOne customers can expect from their FinOps consultants. The pair appeared on a tip sheet that introduces why and how FinOps optimizes cloud spend and digital advertisements that call out the cloud’s mysterious tricks.

Before any content went live, SoftwareOne requested additional activation, beginning with booth designs, print collateral and t-shirt designs that Walker Sands quickly turned around for distribution at Gartner IOC, a key IT conference. Other activations in this second phase included a three-part animated video series, GIFs for use on social media, a direct mail kit with custom detective-themed gifts for target contacts, and various ad creative, including display, social in-feed and LinkedIn Conversation Ads. All activations directed audiences to a resource style landing page that served as the hub for all Cloud Detectives assets.

Additional LinkedIn activations boosted the credibility of the leading Cloud Detective, Dan Ortman, Global FinOps Practice Director at SoftwareOne. Through a series of articles, we dropped mystery creative to explore the three continuous phases of FinOps. The articles offered further color and context on establishing effective FinOps practices, empathizing with cloud stakeholder pain points and introducing the recommendations teams might initially expect from SoftwareOne. Walker Sands then built out Dan’s Cloud Detective character even further through audiograms for added engagement on LinkedIn.

The Results

The Cloud Detectives have become SoftwareOne’s enduring FinOps mascots, adding personality to a technical topic for a diverse audience of decision-makers. The campaign garnered awareness and engagement across channels. 

The LinkedIn video ads and Google Display banner ads generated 300,000+ impressions and 1,000+ clicks. And viewers weren’t just scrolling past ads. The LinkedIn videos ads garnered a video completion rate 27% higher than benchmark, and the Google Display ads earned a click-through rate 212% higher than the benchmark. 

On social media, across LinkedIn and Twitter, Cloud Detectives content exceeded the industry standard engagement rate, reaching 5.2%. Other social media KPIs included 3,770 impressions and the top shared LinkedIn post in SoftwareOne’s program that quarter. 

The audience responded well to the Cloud Detective characters, proven by video series views — more than 800 views on YouTube since the campaign launched — and 250 t-shirt giveaways at Gartner IOC. Dan Ortman also saw strong LinkedIn engagement on both his reposts of the Cloud Detective videos and his articles. The first article ranked within Dan’s top five performing posts for the year, two weeks after it was published.

Soon after the second phase activations launched, the SoftwareOne team tapped Walker Sands again for additional creative, reinforcing our strong, collaborative partnership. And at the end of 2023, Walker Sands and SoftwareOne received a Platinum MarComm Award for the campaign. 

SoftwareOne partnered with Walker Sands to stand out among growing FinOps buzz and highlight the company’s unique ability to optimize the cloud. By leaning on SoftwareOne’s industry-leading talent and breaking from the typically dense conversations in the space, the Cloud Detectives campaign drives awareness that SoftwareOne continues to build on.

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