The Other Secret to Red Hat’s Success: A Magazine (No Joke)
What’s the biggest secret to Red Hat’s success in a down economy? Plenty of pundits think it’s Linux and JBoss open source middleware. But The VAR Guy has another theory: One of Red Hat’s smartest moves is promoting a particularly influential magazine article. The VAR Guy suspects the magazine article — which is updated annually — helps Red Hat to sign millions of dollars in new business every year. Here’s the scoop.
Each November, CIO Insight magazine — from Ziff Davis Enterprise — publishes a Vendor Value Survey, which identifies which IT companies deliver the best bang for the buck. And each December, Red Hat celebrates its high ranking in the survey by issuing a press release or media statement.
Here are prime examples of Red Hat’s promotion strategy for the article:
- December 9, 2008: CIOs Recognize Red Hat for lowering IT costs
- December 3, 2007: Red Hat Ranked Most Valuable Software Vendor by CIO Insight Study for 4th Consecutive Year
- You’ll find similar promotions from Red Hat for the 2006 and 2005 surveys.
Arming the Red Hat Evangelists
But this is more than a “press release” strategy for the open source company. Each December, Red Hat’s direct sales force heads into the field — armed with the latest CIO Insight Vendor Value Survey results. During sales meetings with corporate IT managers and CIOs, Red Hat summarizes the survey results with a pretty simple message:
“If the vast majority of existing customers think Red Hat delivers huge value and reduces IT costs, surely you will too.”
It’s a great strategy, and The VAR Guy suspects many CIOs purchase new or additional Red Hat service contracts based on the survey results from peer CIOs.
Painful Paper Cut?
Now, for the challenge: Print magazines aren’t exactly thriving these days. Print editions of IT publications — from InfoWorld to PC Magazine — are disappearing by the truckload. And CIO Insight’s print edition (like most IT magazines) doesn’t exactly carry a lot of girth these days.
If CIO Insight ever went away — and The VAR Guy certainly isn’t making that dire prediction — Red Hat would lose one of its most valuable sales, marketing and promotional tools.