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Tech Company Uses Daring Stunts, Formula 1 to Reach CIOs

Jonathan Martin, CMO at EMC, Discusses Viral Video Strategy

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EMC's 'Truck Jump' stunt
EMC's 'Truck Jump' stunt
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Jonathan Martin, who was named CMO at data storage and cloud computing company EMC in March, is taking video to a new level in his efforts to reach the CIO audience.

Prior to being named to the post, Mr. Martin served as senior VP-corporate marketing at EMC for three years. He succeeds Jeremy Burton, who was promoted to president-products and marketing at EMC.

In the following interview, he talks about why video is a good tool to reach IT decision-makers, and how he's leveraging other media to help the videos go viral.

Ad Age: What are your overall marketing objectives for EMC?

Mr. Martin: A lot of people confuse marketing with social media plans, data sheets, white papers and events. All those things are important. For me, the real goal for marketing is growth, and to really be the organization that drives the growth agenda for the company. First, growth in the amount of opportunities you're able to bring to the company. Second, growth in the magnetism of the brand. And third, the ultimate goal is growth in terms of shareholder value that they place on what the company is doing.

Jonathan Martin
Jonathan Martin

Ad Age: How does video fit into your marketing strategy?

Mr. Martin: Over the last 10 years, the internet has trained us to read in quite a different way. People used to read books -- now they read in chapters or a blog post or a 140-character tweet. It's been said that a picture tells a thousand words. A video is 40 pictures every second, so the video medium is a really great way to tell our stories in a very short, compressed amount of time and in a highly engaging, interesting manner. So we increasingly use video as the primary mechanism for communications as part of our marketing mix.

Ad Age: What makes for a successful video campaign?

Mr. Martin: A couple of things we've learned along the way. The first one is, keep it simple. Work on effect and keep it short. And make it unexpected, using highly-produced, visually-rich content.

Ad Age: Which of your videos have performed the best?

Mr. Martin: The "Truck Jump" has without a doubt been the most successful one we've done. We also did a series called "Data Crunchers," using a "Top Gear" or "Myth Busters"- type format, doing unexpected things with technology. We've done things like the "5,280-Foot Drop of Death," throwing old computer equipment out of the back of a plane and getting it to run certain tasks as it flies through the air. It is really a way to punch through the noise and use as a hook to engage people in a conversation. Ultimately, we try to bring people back to our website, where we begin to share more about the technology and how EMC has helped customers solve business problems.

Ad Age: Are you using traditional media, like TV, as part of your strategy?

Mr. Martin: We tend not to use traditional television advertising. But what we do try to do is place content inside television shows and channels. With the "Truck Jump," we worked with NBC Sports network to place the video inside their broadcast of the Formula 1 race from Abu Dhabi in November. They unveiled that video as part of the broadcast. With viral videos, the real trick is getting the maximum number of views in the shortest amount of time, and then at some point it just gains momentum.

Ad Age: How did that video perform?

Mr. Martin: I believe about 30 million [TV] viewers tuned in to the program over the weekend. Why the Formula 1 broadcast is particularly interesting to us is that more CIOs watch Formula 1 than any other sports program. It is very, very targeted to our most important audience. The truck video today is tracking at about 37 million views online, including about 10.5 million views on YouTube and about 27 million views on the Chinese YouTube site, QQ.com.

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