The new focus follows the consolidation last year of formerly farflung software holdings into one worldwide division, and the hiring last fall of Gian Carlo Bisone, former VP-North American marketing of Compaq Computer Corp., as general manager of software marketing.
TOPS IN SOFTWARE
"We are the largest software company in the world," Mr. Bisone said. "Unfortunately, we don't have the awareness or mind share that this size deserves."
IBM's software revenues of more than $12 billion are well above the $8 billion-plus sales of Microsoft Corp., the No. 1 PC software seller but the second-largest marketer of software for all types of computers.
IBM will keep its '96 global software ad budget even with last year, Mr. Bisone said. He wouldn't discuss that budget, but IBM spent about $34 million on U.S. software advertising last year, according to data from Adscope tracking service. More than 60% of IBM's software revenues comes from outside the U.S., and international spending is estimated to at least match the U.S. budget.
However, the overall marketing budget this year will rise 35% to 40%, Mr. Bisone said. Most of that will go into reseller programs, such as direct mail and sales training, as IBM moves beyond its own sales reps to put more emphasis on outside distributors.
With the new business campaigns, IBM is taking an integrated approach with print ads, direct mail and public relations. Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York, handles ads; Brodeur & Partners, Purchase, N.Y., manages PR.
Mr. Bisone said IBM is abandoning scattershot product ads in favor of six broader campaigns: for OS/2 Warp, server software, interactive software, IBM support of Windows, an "energize your enterprise" effort, and systems management. Last year, IBM ended an effort to position OS/2 as a mass-market alternative to Microsoft's Windows.
IBM is still heavily reliant on proprietary software for its mainframes. But ads will promote IBM's new mantra of openness. The server software campaign, which began last week in computer publications, notes how the new IBM Software Server line runs on "your choice of platforms," including OS/2 and Microsoft's rival Windows NT.
Systems ads will promote Tivoli Systems, a software company IBM bought last month.
Despite the progress, IBM's software marketing isn't fully unified. The new global software group, for example, isn't involved with IBM's games and entertainment software, managed by a consumer products division.
The biggest question mark, though, is Lotus Development Corp., bought by IBM last summer and left with its own management and agency-Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos, Boston.
"For the time being we are very satisfied," Mr. Bisone said.