IBM Offering C-Suite Services, but Where are the Partners?
IBM (NYSE: IBM) has rolled out a new set of digital marketing services aimed at chief marketing officers (CMOs) and chief information officers (CIOs), two C-suite targets the vendor believes are and will continue to be the focal point of technology marketing sales engagements. The goal of the services is to help businesses use technology to expand their digital marketing efforts to build stronger interactions with end customers in mobile, social and online settings.
Aren’t assessment services like this something channel partners love to sink their teeth into? It sure seems so, but as IBM so far has laid out its plans, there’s no mention or even a whiff of channel involvement. Hmmmm. Let’s look closer …
In an internal study of 1,700 CMOs, 82 percent of the respondents said they planned to boost their social media involvement in the next three to five years; however, only 26 percent were tracking blogs, 42 percent were watching third-party reviews and 48 percent were staying abreast of customer reviews to frame their marketing strategies. The sales opportunity, as IBM sees it, is to bring these top marketing executives into the brave, new world of digital marketing.
And how will IBM make that happen? Its consulting services to CMOs and CIOs include assessing a company’s current needs against future marketing vision, conducting a gap analysis to evaluate which of the future capabilities are currently supported through existing business architecture, and determining the new processes, technology, data, skills and governance needed to transform the strategy. IBM said that its digital marketing agency, IBM Interactive, will play a substantial role in the process.
In the end, IBM will design customized roadmaps based on methods and technologies gained from customer engagements worldwide. Solutions will leverage analytics to improve customer engagement, social marketing and collaboration and other efforts to maximize marketing.
So back to the original question: Aren’t assessment services like what IBM plans to deliver to CMOs and CIOs catnip for channel partners? For a company that has made a lot of noise in the last two years about preparing channel partners to sell to the C-suite, not offering — at least on the surface — access to these kinds of services seems, well, a bit off-kilter.
“As part of IBM’s broader Smarter Commerce efforts, IBM works with businesses to deepen customer relationships and turn prospects into brand advocates,” said Adam Klaber, IBM Global Business Services managing partner, new markets. “Leading with a data-driven approach, IBM helps CMOs and CIOs to engage with consumer audiences in a more personalized and authentic manner, to in turn, boost brand loyalty.”
Yes, it appears as though IBM Global Services wants this business all to itself. But, still, wouldn’t a trusted adviser know best about how a local business could best deploy new and custom media to reach customers and subsequently measure the effectiveness of the engagements?