BtoB's Best Marketers: Neal Campbell, CDW Corp.

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Neal Campbell, whose background includes electrical engineering as well as marketing, has brought a culture of measurement and precision to CDW in his first year as CMO. “One of my top priorities has been putting a solid metrics system in place so we're able to show our partners what we're doing with our marketing funds and prove, based on their commitment to CDW, just how effective their marketing dollars are at driving awareness and consideration,” Campbell said. CDW's marketing budget is partly funded by its business partners—such as EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo—whose products are featured in CDW advertising. This year, Campbell oversaw the expansion of CDW's “People Who Get IT” campaign, which launched in January 2011 and was created by Ogilvy & Mather Chicago. In TV spots that debuted in March, a fictitious company called Gordon & Taylor hires basketball star Charles Barkley as its IT guy so he can help it win a basketball championship. The premise: Barkley can focus on basketball while CDW focuses on the company's IT needs. The campaign includes four 30-second TV spots that are also available on YouTube and other social media networks. “We are trying to bridge the worlds between traditional mass media and having people take more social actions based on the solutions they saw on TV,” Campbell said. CDW's spots this year have generated approximately 110 million impressions, and its online videos captured more than 5 million views, not including those on, Campbell said. Also this year, Campbell created a group within CDW's marketing organization to focus on selling solutions, not just products. The solutions marketing group focuses on putting together the right combination of products and services for vertical segments such as small, midsize and large businesses, government and healthcare. “We have nearly 800 solutions architects, who are technical folks who work with account managers to understand customer issues around IT networks, servers and storage, and [who] bring an agnostic approach to solving them,” Campbell said.
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