• Subject: Re: IBM Spin Doctors on AS/400 Marketing
  • From: DAsmussen@xxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 24 Oct 1997 20:40:26 -0400 (EDT)

Chris,

In a message dated 97-10-24 13:23:53 EDT, you write:

> >Gee - I wonder if they ever thought of heavily marketing BOTH options
>  >?    
>  >Would General Motors stop promoting Cars just because they could make
>  >more money on Trucks & SUV's ?  No - they sell and advertise both.
>  >Maybe IBM haven't quite grasped this yet ?   :-)
>  
>  Isn't this the same group that bitched and moaned because IBM was sinking
>  a bunch of money into advertising the new release instead of funding some
>  kind of entry level training for AS/400s? Doesn't that money count as
>  advertising AS/400s? 

Well, the bitch was that we disagreed with the way the money was spent.  That
situation has not changed.  As an AS/400 professional, I still have to
_SEARCH_ for any advertising related to the /400.  The ads that I remember in
1980 attracted my attention even though I _WASN'T_ an AS/400 professional.
 "Computer Geeks" don't buy AS/400's, Management does.  If management isn't
familiar with the box, management buys what they learned in school (HP/9K,
DEC, or Tandem).

>  Jeez, guys! IBM is a business, they will do anything for money. 
>  We have demanded NT products and support, and IBM is delivering. After
>  all, that is a revenue producing area. Much handier than (for instance) an
>  installed base of older machines that want all of today's functionality
>  stuffed into a new release of their operating system so they don't have to
>  buy anything new.

Yes, IBM is performing.  The problem is, nobody but "us chickens" knows about
it.  I agree with the earlier comments about getting college students excited
about IBM.  Given their current problems, Apple probably wouldn't be in
business today had they not indoctrinated a legion of youth into their
systems by giveaways to school systems.  IBM should do the same, IMHO.

>  But what kind of ad is it you guys are looking for anyway? Did any one of
>  you go out and buy ANY midrange system because you saw the ad? IBM needs
>  to promote IBM. I became an IBM customer because one day I called IBM and
>  said I had a business problem and I wanted to find out what the solution
>  was that they offered. I didn't call up and say, "Hey, have you got a
>  midrange box for a good price?" or "How about that new System/34, is it a
>  good fit for my business?" 

Again, _WE_ don't buy the systems.  We need people in management excited
about the AS/400.  I understand the premise, but IBM's current suite of
"e-business" ads promote NOTHING.  In their attempt to remain neutral between
the AS/400, RS/6000, and the ES/9000, they end up peddling _none of the
above_.  Said ads really harken back to the Warp ads, which also promoted
nothing (but cost plenty of bucks).  The Warp ads said nothing about OS/2
being a preferable replacement for Windoze, IBM just expected people to know
what they were talking about.  The new e-business ads are cut from the same
cloth.

>  These days, what IBM wants to do is to get you to call them for a
>  solution, and then they need to put you in front of a business partner
>  with a software solution. If there isn't one for the AS/400, then that
>  isn't what IBM will sell. If the solution is an NT based PC server cluster
>  that is what IBM will sell. If it is a S/390 then that is what IBM will
>  sell.

I don't know about everyone else, but that policy led to _DISASTER_ here when
the /400 was first announced.  Local IBM sales rep's aren't well-versed in
available packages from BP's worldwide, so they recommend a "local" that
isn't really a fit for the client's needs.  For example, a local retail
client ended up with a package originally designed for a potato farm!

>  Rochester needs to get business partners to support IBM's midrange
>  systems. That means the AS/400 and the RS/6000. If you think it is
>  plausible that IBM produce all the software solutions to everyone else's
>  business problems you are mistaken. Since IBM must shave the margins on
>  hardware they attempt to get business partners to assist in marketing the
>  machines. In other words, IBM gives out a discount to you as a business
>  partner that you can either use as profit margin if you are creating
>  enough of a demand by strong marketing or you can pass along to your
>  customer so you can make money on your software product or support
>  services. 

I'd like to hear what the BP's are pushing _BESIDES_ the above!  IBM has been
out of the (applications) software business for years, and most people know
that.  No offense, but don't give _ME_ that "margin shaving" business!  A
(possibly) multi-million dollar Business Partner is supposed to provide
advertising for a multi-BILLION dollar hardware manufacturer in hopes of
selling a few copies of their software?  I don't think so!

>  That's the new business model. The old business model of IBM marketing was
>  failing. Some of you may recall that IBM was known as a marketing company
>  for years. I think they had to change focus when they took a five billion
>  dollar loss.

The loss to which you refer was IBM's own fault.  They shouldn't expect
Business Partners to make up for their own inadequacies, especially when they
treat the BP's so poorly...

JMHO,

Dean Asmussen
Enterprise Systems Consulting, Inc.
Fuquay-Varina, NC  USA
E-Mail:  DAsmussen@aol.com

"A true friend is someone who is there for you when he'd rather be anywhere
else." -- Len Wein
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