BtoB's Best Marketers: John Kennedy, IBM Corp.

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John Kennedy, who leads IBM Corp.'s corporate marketing, this year oversaw the expansion of “Smarter Planet,” the business platform the company introduced in November 2008, into newer areas such as analytics, cloud computing and e-commerce. “ "Smarter Planet' is IBM's point of view on how greater connectivity, driven by the power of analytics, is helping to transform industries, companies, cities and the world around us,” Kennedy said. “We are starting to see how, in addition to how industries, companies, cities and governments are evolving on a smarter planet, different types of leaders are emerging.” One of the first roles IBM has begun to examine and target with its marketing is that of the CMO. “This year, we began to engage in a more formal way with CMOs to discuss how the marketing discipline is changing and how CMOs are contributing in new ways on a smarter planet,” Kennedy said. In June, IBM held its first CMO-CIO Leadership Exchange in New York, bringing together CMOs and CIOs from leading companies to discuss the intersection of technology and marketing. It will hold another in Paris this month. “Marketing strategy needs to align with the CIO's technology strategy—this has become such an important relationship inside the C-suite,” Kennedy said. He said that while “Smarter Planet” has worked well as an overall branding platform for IBM, it has also been a starting point for conversations with its target audiences about newer areas such as cloud computing, analytics and e-commerce. IBM ran ad campaigns this year—using a variety of media, including TV, print and online—for specific services under the “Smarter Planet” umbrella, including “Smarter Analytics,” “Smarter Commerce” and “SmartCloud.” “We continue to shift our media mix toward the way our audience consumes information—which is more mobile, more digital and more social,” Kennedy said. “Every year, we're migrating more of our activity to those types of techniques, which are all built around engaging people at an individual level.”
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