David Tebbutt, originally published on Teblog

With the prospect of a conference call with Lotus today, I thought I’d better try (yet again) to get my head around the extensive and, as a non-user, confusing product set. First stop was the IBM/Lotus product pages. Quite a bit of enlightenment, but you sometimes have to drill down unnecessarily to dig out the information. For example, once you get to ’Alloy by IBM and SAP’, why doesn’t it have a short explanation like the next item, ’Lotus Connector for SAP Solutions’, has? I knocked up my own outline so I could see all the information in one place. Sad or what?

Anyway, having kind of refreshed my memory on the product side, I turned my attention to a recent IBM Lotus event called an ’IdeaJam’. This one bore the theme of the company’s latest marketing campaign called ’Lotus knows’. The purpose was to get a lot of people from the Lotus community to come up with, and comment on, ideas for getting the brand better known. The discussion was broken into four categories:

Lotus knows working smarter depends on great technology…

Lotus knows marketing is key to technology adoption…

Lotus knows technology is only great with client success…

Lotus knows the world is getting smaller, flatter and smarter…

A terrific idea, except it’s a bit like asking a church choir what songs they should be singing. They’re going to choose the easy ones, the catchy ones, the ones that appeal to the choir itself. At least, after such an exercise, the vicar will know how to motivate the choir. But whether the choir’s choices match the vicar’s or the parishioners’ needs is another matter.

Still, Lotus’ event was very successful by its own standards. Over 20,000 votes were cast on 928 ideas and 2246 comments were made. Ideas could be voted for or against. The top vote (302 net votes) went to putting Notes in more schools worldwide. Second top (209 net) was raising awareness of Lotus among the rest of IBM sales staff. This is astonishing when you consider that IBM bought Lotus fourteen years ago. Talk about hiding its light under a bushel.

Maybe, just maybe, Lotus would have benefitted much more and been able to direct its marketing efforts much more successfully if it were to have run ideajams with IBM mainstream staff and non-Lotus users out there in the real world. The danger is that they might say “Lotus who?” and refuse to participate.

Share

Comments

Leave a Reply