Lotus Knows Marketing - Some Personal Thoughts and a Challenge

August 17 2009

You can read all about the blogger briefing this morning here, but I wanted to share some personal thoughts on this.

We all know that marketing is the dirty word in the Lotus community. Partners fret over it all the time - many have blogged about it in all forms. Rational and completely irrational. Customers wonder why there is no marketing to back up their decision. And IBM always answered with IBM brand and messaging focused advertising. Like Smart Planet. The Lotus community, or the "Lotus Loyals" as IBM calls us, just shook their head and laughed.

But this time, IBM is answering. Kristen Lauria and her marketing team have created the first Lotus branded campaign that I can remember since the R5 days of "I am Superman" ads. It is telling when the campaign is yellow and black - and the IBM logo and masthead on the website is not the focal point. This is also not a "one quarter and done" type of effort. IBM is talking about 24 months of effort - unheard of for the Lotus brand since the days of R4.

While we might not get TV ads (Kristen said TV was not off the table, but not the focus for the first quarter of the campaign), this is going to target folks on-line and when they leave their house - either traveling or during their commutes. The Lotus Knows Jam, starting this Wednesday for 72 hours - will help take the initial messages and clarify them. Lotus is asking us to help create and comment on the content of the campaign - something I have not ever seen since 1993.

The key thing around this campaign is that IBM wants to engage the community. They want us to create videos, blog, tweet, and spread the message. They want partners to take the branding and apply it to their messages and own marketing. IBM is hoping to leverage our community - and work with us.

To me, I see this as an opportunity. There will always be things that we can find to complain about. But we have asked IBM to deliver on marketing. Now that they are starting the process of delivering, it is now our job to support them. If this campaign does not go well, IBM may never put this much time and money on a branded Lotus marketing effort again. I am not saying we need to apologize for IBM - or carry them. But we have a chance to help make a difference. I think everyone in the immediate community (PlanetLotus, Facebook groups, Twitter addicts, etc) should fell challenged on how they can participate. There are no excuses - if you do not participate, it is not because IBM hasn't gone out of their way to ask for your input. My filter for bitching is going to pretty much turn off if you complain and didn't partake in some form - warning everyone now.

So how are you going to get involved? Start with the Jam. Brainstorm about how "Lotus Knows" what you do at your workplace. I am super excited and feel empowered to kick some major ass with this effort. I already have a todo list of how I and PSC can participate. I know Nathan is jazzed. What are you going to do?

P.S. "Lotusphere Knows .. " would be an amazing Cult Shirt theme ... "Lotusphere Knows what you sang at Kimono's last night" - "Lotusphere Knows how many beers you had at the Opening Party" - "Lotusphere Knows that you wait in line for Rocky's sessions" ...