WebSphere Marketeer Writes the Book on Marketing 2.0
November 24, 2008 Timothy Prickett Morgan
A familiar IBMer has just finished writing a book about the new style of marketing that is enabled by recent Internet technologies, and that author is someone who is familiar to AS/400, iSeries, System i, and Power Systems i shops: Sandy Carter, currently vice president of SOA and WebSphere marketing, strategy, and channels at IBM.
The book she has penned (well, people don’t really pen books any more, do they?) is called The New Language of Marketing 2.0: How to Use ANGELS to Energize Your Market, and ANGELS, being a phrase created by an IBMer, is an acronym. Now, I am not particularly interested in touting an IBM book being published by IBM Press, the Big Blue book publishing operation which is in turn managed by British publisher Pearson Education. Here’s why I bring it up at all. Considering that the AS/400 is much more of a tangible product that WebSphere ever was, maybe the Power Systems and Business Systems divisions at IBM can get a copy of the book and read it, and then try a few things to help push the i platform.
Here’s what ANGELS stands for:
I am pretty sure that I don’t believe in marketing, at least not as the be-all, end-all of a company. (That last forced “S” in the acronym is something that makes me cringe, and putting the technology last just makes me bristle with anger. No technology, no need for marketing.) Marketing is what companies tend to do when they don’t understand the product they are selling and customers know even less than they do. (In big companies, with so much employee churn, I am sure companies forget what they do all the time.) Marketing is the department that takes over when a product is not engineered correctly but is already on the market, or when a product has saturated its market and can’t easily grow any more and you need to convince someone they need something they might need, but then again, they might not. No one has to market a Walkman or an iPod, but you do need to advertise for informational purposes to let people know the product exists. That’s technically “marketing,” but to me, that sounds like sales.
Having said all that, marketeers can help get a product rolling and can revitalize it. No doubt about it. They can help get sales teams connected with new methods of getting their products noticed in the cacophony of IT advertising and sales that is going on every day in the market. So don’t get me wrong. But I think that people put too much pressure on marketing. If you have a good product at a good price and customers who want it, then you have a business. If you have a good product at the wrong price, and you think the problem is something else, then you have a declining business. I think you catch my drift. Marketing can help, for sure, and it is a necessary evil, just as it research, product development, sales, product support, accounting, and taking out the trash.
So, despite my belief in the limits of marketing–both as an excuse for declining i platform sales over the past decade and in general for all businesses–I think the 54 case studies that Carter goes through in her book, based on real customers, her experience peddling WebSphere (not an easy task, especially on the AS/400 and successor platforms), and her insight into how to make use of social networks, online communities, viral marketing and eNurturing (that’s a new one to me), serious gaming, widgets, wikis, blogging and Twitter, RSS feeds, podcasting, and video casting to help market stuff is no doubt useful. Besides, I like Carter, having talked to her lots over the years, and if you have to read a book on modern marketing, I am sure hers will be a lot more interesting than other ones out there.
You can find out more about Carter’s book here. It costs $24.99.