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A World of Opportunity—Tech Data and IBM

Every industry faces its own set of challenges, and in today’s fast-moving digital economy, the ability to rapidly develop credible solutions is key to unlocking growth. IBM and its Business Partners therefore need to position their solutions in the context of a business-led, rather than a sales-focused discussion.

A marketing campaign led by Technology Solutions (a division of Avnet at the inception of the campaign, now part of Tech Data) is successfully doing this, resulting in significant opportunities for Business Partners in the CEE region, as well as a 2017 IBM Beacon Award nomination.

Tech Data focused on the retail industry across six markets (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and SEE countries):

  1. First, it conducted an analysis of the software market in each industry, comparing it with an overall CEE and European view, to identify significant patterns.
  2. Industry pain points were then mapped to specific business solutions within the IBM portfolio.
  3. At a regional level, the team defined a set of business themes, to which different challenges faced by players in the retail industry could be allocated. This helped them to profile the players in the market.

The outcome was a list of businesses in each industry to target with a campaign based on country-specific landing pages and a variety of tactics designed to drive traffic towards them. A traditional inbound approach, including branding and social amplification, was used, as well as a more innovative outbound approach. This was achieved through LinkedIn targeting, with customers visiting the landing pages being presented with three business challenges, distinctly aimed at different buyers:

  • CMO: Customer Insight—How to engage in a personalised interaction with your customers, without having to interact individually with every customer
  • CIO: Big Data—How to manage and analyse data to produce timely and meaningful insights, which can drive a smarter customer experience
  • CFO: Performance Management—How to provide an outstanding customer experience, while increasing sales and profits

E-books and infographics highlighted key pain points and offered insights into how they could be addressed, but these assets were deliberately kept brand-free; IBM and Tech Data were not the focus of attention. Instead, the team wanted to establish a dialogue with the customer by opening up a discussion about their business concerns. Once the customer was convinced by our insight and capability, the conversation could turn to individual solutions, which are illustrated by IBM case studies.

The resulting leads were jointly managed by IBM Analytics and Tech Data and passed to one of twelve participating business partners for progression.

According to Erika Baird, Director of Marketing, Tech Data East Region, the use of a non-branded approach was one of the main reasons why the campaign was a success. ‘It wasn’t positioned as a sales conversation—it was about listening to the customer, understanding and reflecting their challenges’, she explains.

The campaign was rolled out across further industries in CEE during the third quarter of 2016, with a focus on Finance & Insurance, Energy & Utilities and Manufacturing. Tech Data is running analytics workshops with Business Partners participating in the campaign to help them identify, target and nurture additional leads. To date, two workshops have taken place, with plans for another later in the year.

In total, by the end of November, over 15,000 visitors had accessed the landing pages, resulting in 66 validated leads with a value of €1.7 million in revenue.

Do you have a story to tell about your partnership with IBM? If so, please contact me at [email protected]. You can also share your feedback using the comments feature below.

Andrew Davidson
Channel Communications, Europe

Andrew Davidson leads communications for IBM's One Channel business in Europe. With over 20 years experience in telling stories about technology innovation and the way it shapes our world, Andrew helps IBM and its Business Partners to share how they are working together to increase client value.

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