Friday, July 29, 2011

My Comments on Bills Post

Bill, Well written and thought out.

As pointed out, Domino is not the leader of the pack and no amount of marketing will change that now, although an abrupt closing of Microsoft would help.

I get slammed by Exchange and Sharepoint ads daily, in every magazine, newspaper and online and in emails. I also see a lot of Smarter Planet ads.
But will IBM keep with this campaign?

If history is correct, it takes at least 3-5 years before people realize what IBM and Lotus try to do. Look at KM and where we ended up, but it took almost 10 years!

IBM got to where it is because they took and take a VERY long view of the road ahead and it has paid off for them.

While many of us are IBM BPs because they folded Lotus in there, not sure how many have branched beyond ICS or Websphere in any serious shape or form.

The real choice is what else do you start peddling? Jive? SocialText? Sharepoint? Because it is all about collaboration or do you go down a different rabbit hole?

When I was a customer, and not a BP, I enjoyed the future as IBM and others told it.

As a BP, it is not as important to my day to day business and one might argue we as BPs are rather cynical about some of it. But again we care about our day to day business as well as the future.

Lotus was so far ahead of its time and that is one of the things I loved about the company. It provided a future direction. But right now we do not have the future, Connections is today, the pinnacle of KM, but what is the horizon? Where is the reach goal? Cyncis will say there isn't one, I believe there is a goal, but it may very well be some place none of us have even thought about.

Where is the equivalent of the IBM iPod?

Something that could take them in a whole new direction and make believers out of people again in IBM. I don't buy that the Lotus name is that tarnished, but I accept a rebranding of it is in its best interest.

IBM has never catered to the people, but to the business world, and one could argue both sides of that argument. We can not change the reality of their view. Only IBM can, if they choose to do so. Lotus was the only consumer facing brand. When you are the only anything of a business, it gets very lonely eventually if no other plans bring forth a foil or twin partner. Would anyone care about the iPhones if the iPod had not impressed them so much?

Since we are not IBM, and do not work for IBM, then we have a choice to pursue what we like and enjoy. And if that comes from some place else, at least we will always have Lotus for putting an idea into our younger selves that will see us through no matter where we end up on the business roads.


  1. Thanks for the mention Keith and for the kind words on my blog. Yes, there are many facets to consider. Let's see how things progress from here.

  2. The difference between Microsoft's ads and IBM's ads it that Microsoft advertises a product, something tangible and understandable by the audience. IBM advertises...what? a brand? a concept? Would you even know what to buy if you decided to buy what was in the ad? Would IBM sales rep know what to sell you to give you what their ad represents?

    Brand recognition without product recognition is irrelevant.

    Keith, if you get the chance to read them, I would enjoy hearing your opinion of the two books I mentioned in my comment on Bill's blog. You have a particularly keen understanding and appreciation of this topic.


  3. Bill, have fun at your meeting/call with the team. I am sure many people would like to be with you.

    David, I read Persuasion, neuro is on my to do list.

    Branding is an interesting idea for concepts or directions. I don't agree that showing a product or device or app is always important. My thinking is because this only leads to current sales not the future. It's a tradeoff, no question.
    I take the grander view that IBM has to focus on what makes them money and expansion of future business. Today's business was last years or older ads in their mind.
    It is an interesting perspective IBM has and unless one is the CEO, not going to change anytime soon. The elephant can and does dance but it's a slow dance because they are not able to Tango at that size.

  4. Next 2 books I offer to read would disagree. "Your Marketing Sucks" (covers some specific points about IBM's marketing) and "Neuromarketing: Understanding the Buy Buttons in Your Customer's Brain" (Terrible title, but great book)

    It would prove more useful if the elephants at IBM read these, but the more we study the topic, the more informed our influence can be.