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Lotus Knows Marketing

By Andrew Pollack on 08/05/2009 at 09:15 PM EDT

No, really. Seriously. Marketing. Ok, I fully understand you don't believe me. Let me explain..... No, there is too much. Let me sum up....

At the recent user conference, a new marketing campaign was announced called "Lotus Knows". This is a bid deal by itself, because for years we've been told never to expect a direct marketing campaign that is deeper than general "IBM Software". Suddenly, the LOTUS brand is going to be getting some love.

The idea behind the campaign is to really show off the things people can do with Lotus software that even many users of the tools hadn't thought of. We've been told to expect this campaign to be visible in more places than we're used to seeing. Specifically, expect to see it at places when you're "Away" -- at airports, on taxi cabs, etc.

Ok, since you know I'm a cynical old guy, here's my take on the whole thing:

#1. Even if the whole thing is just turds dropped from a high place (as was suggested by someone in chat) as long as the turds are yellow and say LOTUS on them, we're already a step ahead of where we've been. Just seeing money being spent on the brand will go a long way toward dispelling the myth that the product line is being allowed to wither on the vine.

#2. If the campaign in even marginally successful and getting people to take another look at what they've already got and think about what else can be done, then for us business partners it will be a huge win. For customers it will be a win as well because they'll increase the value for their money. For IBM, the goal would be to increase renewals and keep customers. In a market this stable, it's critical to keep your customers and regenerate maintenance. It costs 10 times as much to get a new customer as to keep an existing one -- and the way the licensing works, it's a wash in terms of profitability.

#3. If the campaign is wildly successful and at the same time Microsoft continues to offer so little of value (and frankly, I believe that IT "big thinkers" are starting to see through the pretty curtains into the mess that is Sharepoint underneath) then IBM just may see an uptick in new Lotus Notes seats.

How fascinating!

There are  - loading -  comments....

re: Lotus Knows MarketingBy Michael Sobczak on 08/05/2009 at 10:19 PM EDT
Excellent points. I'm thinking the end result will be somewhere between #1 &
#2. (No pun intended.)

For Sharepoint, it may be a mess underneath, but is got something Lotus
Notes/Domino doesn't have--newness. Lotus Notes/Domino has the smell of a
legacy platform. I'm thinking that people with budgets who want to make a name
for themselves don't want to do that with a platform that's over 20 years old.
If Lotus Notes somehow had a new feel to it, that would help. Yes, the Eclipse
UI and xPages help, but its still Notes/Domino underneath. That may be cool
from my perspective, but management/executive types still probably think of
Notes from the R5 days, and new tools for developers won't get their rocks off.

My thinking is that Connections and Mashups will do more to give the Lotus
brand a lift than Notes 8.5 or Quicker 8.x. If Connections and Mashups were
integrated with Notes that would certainly help the Notes cause, particularly
from places where Notes is established but under a barrage of MS-oriented
I almost agree....By Andrew Pollack on 08/05/2009 at 10:37 PM EDT
Lotus Domino or Notes has never been hip and cool. I've been in positions in
years past where perfectly good Domino based websites were constantly under
threat from IT department heads who wanted to spend as much as 100 times the
budget to replace it with something "COOL" underneath that offered no
additional functionality (we did win that fight, btw).

However, you can freshen a brand. People still buy Excel all the time. They
buy Word, all the time. They buy Coke or Pepsi. Lots of long term brands do
very well.

People want to be reminded that they made a good choice. That's one of the
jobs of an ad campaign. Attractive people with big smiles doing cool things
with your product make your real end users feel good about it. It's not
rocket surgery.
Very trueBy Michael Sobczak on 08/06/2009 at 07:36 AM EDT
It is amazing how conservative some parts of IT are, and then there are others
where if you're not on the bleeding edge, you're a dinosaur.

I'd love to find out what marketing firm has been doing IBM's marketing for the
past 10 years. How they get a ton of money to create campaigns that don't
appeal to IT workers--or are even understood by IT workers, is mind-boggling.
re: I almost agree....By Bart Severein on 08/28/2009 at 05:17 AM EDT
"People want to be reminded that they made a good choice" - this is the best
remark re. Lotus marketing I've seen in a long time.

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