BtoB's Best Marketers: Ben Edwards, IBM Corp.

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Ben Edwards is helping to communicate IBM's vision of the new digital world. “We're in a profound space of transformation across marketing and communications,” said Edwards, who this year was promoted to VP-global communications and digital marketing from VP-digital strategy and development. “One element is transforming, through the application of technology and data, how we do marketing.” Through the acquisition of more than 80 software companies over the past 10 years, including Cognos, Coremetrics and Unica Corp., IBM has significantly beefed up its offerings of marketing automation and analytics software and services. This year, it continued to advertise these products and others through ad campaigns including “Smarter Commerce,” “Smarter Analytics” and “SmartCloud,” as well as its overall “Smarter Planet” marketing platform, created with lead creative agency Ogilvy & Mather, New York. Edwards is focused on bringing more precision and efficiency to IBM's marketing efforts. “One thing I'm particularly passionate about is adopting agile methodologies,” he said. “The transformation we need to make in data-driven marketing can't be based on long cycles of execution. We have to continue to improve and create short cycles of iterative execution based on methods and outcomes.” One way IBM is accomplishing this is through its M&C (marketing and communications) Lab, which Edwards established last year in New York, bringing together about 130 dedicated people from IBM's marketing and IT groups, as well as its lead agencies. It plans to expand the program through a global network of M&C Labs. “M&C Lab is the intersection point for how we engage with our agency partners and partners in our own IT organization to deliver marketing outcomes,” Edwards said.
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