Case Study: Thinking Through the End Game

Careful messaging based on strong research wins results for IBM.

“One reason SMA’s direct marketing has been so effective for us is because they really think things through: who’s the audience, what do they want to know.  SMA’s approach is practical and methodical, and gets results.”
Shawn Chaput
Manager, Business Development, Consultants and Integrators, IBM Global Channels

All of SMA’s assignments begin with a clear definition of business objectives, in this case:

  • To assist IBM in being highly effective in marketing their Web Integrator Initiative program to generate profitable sales revenue
  • To gain understanding of the target market’s business and industry environments
  • To develop marketing messages to position the Web Integrator Initiative in a way that would be relevant and meaningful to the target market
  • To determine the most effective marketing vehicles/methods of communication

SMA then devised marketing strategies that would meet the objectives.

Key components of the project were:

1. Research with prospective Web Integrators
Outcome – Quantitative information that led to effective positioning for
recruitment drive of Web Integrator Partners, IBM Web Integrator site
and e-mail direct marketing.

2. E-mail campaigns for IBM’s Web Integrator Partner Initiative
Outcome – Three successful e-mail campaigns were executed including
different subject lines for test market response.

3. Traditional mail campaign to survey participants
Outcome – 2-page personalized direct mail letter, resulting in new leads.

4. Research into competitive partnering programs
Outcome – Overview of research findings, development of market research
specialists scripts and a 49-page comprehensive Sales Guide comparing
features of IBM Web Integrator program with those of its two chief

“The research into our competitors’ partnering programs was especially useful,” says Shawn.  “The resulting Sales Guide has become a key component of our sales reps’ dialogue with Web Integrator prospects.  The team felt the document was comprehensive, giving them a very clear picture of what’s going on out there, and the ability to speak with confidence about the distinguishing features of IBM’s Web Integrator program. It’s helped our reps separate marketing bravado from what’s really happening.”

As for the direct mail, the multi-hit e-mail campaign and traditional letter format consistently delivered results, reports Shawn.  “We were extremely satisfied with the continual funnel of leads.”

“We would not have been as successful dealing with the competition
without SMA’s market research.”

Shawn Chaput
Manager, Business Development, Consultants and Integrators, IBM Global Channels