• From: Randy Mangham <randym69@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 30 Oct 1999 22:12:51 -0700
  • Organization: Pacific Crest Consulting

nina jones wrote:

> they should have run ads with one guy re-booting his p/c, yelling for
> tech help, throwing things, messy desk, etc., and the guy at the next
> desk puttering away without a problem, who's calm, neat, and organized.
> that would have gotten peoples attention.  that hits us where we live!

Oh, but that would have made too much sense!! It has been suggested that the 
isn't being promoted because it might be rebranded. I've been hearing that
rumor/speculation for at least two years. Well, if so, get the heck on with 
it!!!! Or
is it stuck "in committee" while the AS/400 itself dies a slow, agonizing death 
down some very dedicated business partners with it. Well, come to think of it, 
"dedicated" business partners are already covering their bets on every other 
out there because they don't trust IBM to support what was once a promising 
product. I
got in a heated discussion with an AS/400 marketing specialist a few months ago 
when I
told him that I thought the AS/400 would be a discontinued product line within 
5 years
(and I don't mean by being rebranded). He argued that IBM wouldn't be putting 
so much
development money into a product they weren't going to try to sell. I just 
clucked my
tongue and asked him if he remembered a product called OS/2. Frank Soltis has 
said that
Rochester gets development $ based predominately on sales in the previous year. 
So if
sales drop for a year, just how much development funding is going to be 
authorized to
keep the product competitive?

> and the magic (tragic) box ads are cut from the same cloth!  what on
> earth do dancing school children or people doing yoga in front of a
> computer do with serious business computing i ask you!
> ibm needs to come up with a creative way to extol the virtues of the
> as/400 in a creative, catchy way that gets peoples attention.  their ad
> campaigns are catchy, (well maybe sort of) but they do not get the
> message out!
> a good as/400 ad campain would be to have two company execs having
> breakfast and comparing their d/p budgets.  start with the one that's
> gone to a network, doubled staff, etc, and then have the other kick in
> about how much they've saved since they got an as/400...
> the generic ads are not effective.  like car ads, you need to take the
> selling feature of each product and sell that.  (like you don't see
> generic magic car ads.)

IBM is busily engaged in that awful Magic Box campaign (I DESPISE it more than 
other marketing program I've ever seen from Big Blue in the last 20 years!) 
which in
essence promotes computer relativism. That is, any platform is OK for running 
e-business so long as IBM makes it. IMO, the single biggest strike against the 
becoming a dominant e-business platform is that IBM can't seem to get the 
vendors of
e-business software tools to port their products to AS/400 even though the 
(based on the port of Domino at least) doesn't seem that difficult. (Although 
it does
seem that Netscape SuiteSpot was quite a challenge given how long it took. 
Makes you
wonder how trashy the code must have been since it was probably thrown together 
on "Internet time".) Without those tools (not everybody wants to run 
Net.Commerce, fine
product that it may be) it is difficult to get anyone to consider AS/400 as a 
high volume e-business platform. Unix keeps winning the battle for high volume 
and NT wins for low volume needs not only because they have mind share but 
because of
the wide variety of tools available.

We've all seen how creative the engineers in Rochester can be. If only Armonk 
would let
Malcolm Haines be as creative in marketing what Rochester produces!!!

As for holding off on announcing products in 2000 because people aren't going 
to buy
them: Well, maybe IBM should follow the Microsoft rule. Hype the hell out of the
product long before it's going to be available. Make everybody WANT to buy the 
they can't get hold of. It sure seems to work for Redmond. Of course, I've said 
that the single biggest marketing coup IBM could make against Microsoft would 
be to BUY
Waggoner-Edstrom (Microsoft's PR firm <g>).

Randy Mangham
Pacific Crest Consulting
San Diego, CA

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