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CDW focuses on solutions marketing

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Neal Campbell, who was named senior VP-CMO at technology distributor CDW Corp. in February 2011, has focused this year on revamping the company's marketing organization to emphasize the solutions CDW offers to tech buyers. “When I first came here, people [in the marketplace] really didn't understand what we do,” Campbell said. “We offer broad-based solutions encompassing cloud computing, unified communications, mobility and data virtualization. One of my top priorities this year has been to create a solutions marketing organization within our marketing group to focus on solutions, not just products.” Campbell reorganized CDW's marketing, setting up a new group of about 800 “solutions architects,” who work with customers in vertical segments such as healthcare, government, education and small business, to develop the best technology solutions to meet their unique needs. “These are technical folks who work with our account managers to understand customer issues around IT networks, and can bring an agnostic approach to solving them—finding the right servers and storage products, looking at the variety of our partners and their capabilities, and coming up with solutions,” Campbell said. CDW has partnerships with a number of IT companies, including EMC Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and Lenovo, which help fund CDW's marketing efforts and are featured in CDW advertising and marketing programs. For example, CDW rolled out four new TV commercials in March that are part of its “People Who Get IT” campaign, created by Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago. The spots feature basketball star Charles Barkley, who has been hired by a fictitious company called Gordon & Taylor as its IT guy so he can help the company win a basketball championship. In the spots, Barkley focuses on hoops (on a private court in his office, which has been converted from a server room), while CDW focuses on the company's IT needs. EMC, HP and Lenovo products are featured in the spots, which drive users to a website at www.cdw.com/barkley. The spots also are 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. So far this year, CDW's TV spots have generated approximately 110 million viewer impressions and its online videos have captured more than 5 million views, not including those on CDW.com, Campbell said. “Another top priority this year was putting a solid metrics system in place to be able to show our partners what we're doing with their marketing funds, based on their commitment to CDW, and to show how effectively their dollars are being used to drive awareness and consideration,” he said. As part of its solutions marketing focus, CDW's website features a Solutions and Service microsite, where users can click to contact a solutions specialist to talk about their unique needs. Also featured on the website are customer case studies with a solutions focus, a video about CDW's solutions architects, white papers and partner information.
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