What does Lotus Know about a Smarter Planet?

Saturday, December 5th, 2009
I know they know a lot. Equally important is what their customers know about IBM, and specifically, Lotus Solutions...

I originally posted a comment to Graham's blog about customer perception of Lotus Marketing. Graham asks if Lotus Symphony is losing the 'hearts and minds' battle.

After posting my response I realized that this point needs broader coverage so I'm blogging it as well.

I agree with Graham. IBM Lotus has many amazing products that the worlds does not know about.  I am also pleased to see IBM step up the marketing. However, I still  cringe each time I see the IBM Smarter Planet ads. They are fine ads but they do not leave the customer with a specific product they can attach to a pain point. In fact, I'm not sure what they leave the customer with.

When I see a Microsoft ad for SharePoint, I am not confused which product they are selling and neither are my customers. They all know and understand that SharePoint will solve ALL of their problems because Microsoft Marketing has educated them thus.

LotusKnows is an excellent start but I think it needs to get tied to specific PRODUCT solutions, IMO, so that customers can think "if only I had Lotus [Product Name] I would be able to ..."
"If only I had LOTUS SYMPHONY, I could handle my office productivity needs without spending $$$ each year in maintenance fees..."

"If only I had LOTUS FOUNDATIONS, I would have everything I need to run my small business and I could focus ON my business instead of on my computers."

"If only I had LOTUS NOTES, I would be able to organize my information, communications and actions so that I could work smarter and get things done."

When customers connect a solution to their pain, they want it and they will pay $$ for it. I know. We see this with eProductivity and customers are loving Notes (or even switching to it, in the case of first-time or Foundations users). BUT, IBM needs to make it easier for the customer to know that there's a solution for their needs. As I said earlier, the LotusKnows Campaign is a great start - it says that Lotus is still in business. Now. IBM needs to go beyond that and show specific products and solutions that customers can connect with.

I think we need to see more of the LotusKnows stories that connect a customer's need to a Lotus Product for a solution. We created our LotusKnows video and many other people have submitted their own compelling stories. I want to see these stories; my customers want to see these stories.

I remember the old days when Ken Wax did his marketing seminars for Lotus and talked about story-telling and how "Lotus Notes is what XYZ corp is using to ...." In the Notes community, there are many high profile individuals and organizations that use Lotus products that are willing to tell their story.  (again, I point to my video as just one example.) I have seen some excellent Lotus Knows videos that tell this story well.

I think we need more of that in the public awareness. It's up to IBM and it's also up to each of us to get out there and tell these stories.

I think these are the message that needs to get out to end-users. I think the Lotus Marketing team is doing a good job and I look forward to seeing the next phase of this exciting campaign.

Just my cranky $.02 for a Saturday afternoon.

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