Truth Behind the Trends

Conversations about Australia’s major IT trends like cloud, mobility and cyber-security tend to be oversaturated by the benefits and importance of new technologies to businesses nation-wide. IBM, however, observed amongst its customer base that many IT professionals felt current-day trends did not always align with their on-the-ground reality. Questioning the assumptions made by these trends would not only reinvigorate interest for the media, but also demonstrate to businesses nation-wide that IBM’s deep expertise across critical IT topics went far beyond the typical vendor-led rhetoric.

To demonstrate the authenticity of this experience, IBM would have to generate insights which not only provided new angles to existing media conversations; but were also grounded in quantifiable and common feedback from IT leaders themselves. Gathering this feedback and delivering it in an intuitive, integrated manner would be the main challenges for any media strategy.

The campaign’s audience spanned key decision-makers and influencers in the three target areas of Cloud, Mobility, and Security.

Planning & Execution

There were three elements of the campaign:

1. Data collection: the team worked closely with the IBM Demand Programs/Marketing who organised half day roundtable workshops held in three states: Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. During these workshops IBM subject matter experts facilitated discussions with 87 IT leaders (clients and prospects) from a range of industries. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods – the team captured feedback from the attendees regarding their view, insights and anecdotes regarding the trends, and to what extent they were manifest with their organisations.

2. Content development: The data was analysed and collated into the form of a whitepaper/e-book. The result is a series of surprising discrepancies between the commonly-cited trends and the immediate realities facing IT professionals in Australia in 2013. In addition to the whitepaper, the team also developed a series of digital assets such as infographics and podcasts to bring the story to life in visual and audio form and provide access to IBM subject-matter experts in cloud, mobility, and security, offering additional findings and advice for each expert’s practice area. Working with IBM’s Brand Systems team, a dedicated webpage was built to host all the assets and had lead capture capabilities built at the back end. In addition, an interactive e-book was developed which provided links for readers to share infographics, key findings, and the e-book itself across their social networks.

3. Launching the results: The whitepaper was launched to industry analysts, business and technology media, and online influencers in Sydney on 19 June 2013. The event, featuring a panel of IBM experts, industry commentators and IT decision-makers, generated a robust discussion on the topics of Mobility, Cloud and Security - elevating IBM's relevance and thought leadership in all three areas.

IBM and Text100 also executed a comprehensive influencer identification program to find key influencers in online conversations around cloud, mobility, and security, these influencers were contacted during the campaign to see if they would be interested in receiving further and opportunities for interviews in parallel to the media event.

Effectiveness / Results

* Media: The campaign, as of August 2013, achieved 14 feature pieces across tier #1 IT and business media, including broadcast coverage on Sky News. Media coverage associates IBM with positive sentiments around ’truth’ and ‘reality’.

* Analysts: The whitepaper was sent to 28 industry analysts, generating strong positive feedback.

* Digital: Significant online conversations were generated on Twitter and LinkedIn by IBM SMEs, bloggers and business partners. The whitepaper and webpage was shared on influential blogs, and media coverage and social media outcomes generated over 1000 views on the campaign’s microsite.

* Sales enablement: IBM is using the whitepaper as a core element of an upcoming lead generation and sales enablement initiative, in Australia sales enable initiative to support growth priorities around cloud, mobility and security. As of August 2013, “Truth Behind the Trends” has generated 22 sales opportunities for IBM.

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The Campaign Asia-Pacific Team