Rainmaker Spotlight: Joanne Nelson on why Logicalis integrated thought leadership

Joanne Nelson Logicalis

Joanne Nelson LogicalisTwo years ago, we looked at how Logicalis was aligning for global growth. Since then, the company has been growing at 20% per annum, winning numerous awards and leading customers on the IT transformation journey. We caught up with Joanne Nelson, Vice President of International Marketing, to understand the market engagement strategy that has paid off in spades.

The technology industry continues to change fast. What do you see as the top three trends?
What we’re seeing is focused around the relationship between IT and the core company business. Executives have expectations of IT, based on their own user experience outside work. They see IT almost as a commodity, but in reality the delivery of IT is more complex than ever. Cloud is also becoming more important. CIOs want to streamline and optimise IT to make it more efficient, maybe by outsourcing or managed services, to drive further efficiency.

What customer buying trends drive your marketing and sales priorities?
The customer journey has changed a lot over the last three years. Customers often do their research online now, which has changed sales and marketing. Marketing needs to be involved much earlier, to understand the challenges and help shape decisions. People tend to come to us now, so we don’t have to push the messages out, but we do have to provide the right information at the right time in the right way, to build trust.

What we’re trying to do is ensure that our audience can find the information that they need when they need it. That means making sure our messages are high in search engine results, and using blogs and communities to influence. We’re also using social media to drive traffic towards our website and publications. This targeted messaging is much more cost-effective than the old scattergun approach.

We’re also working much closer with sales to make sure that we really understand customers and their pain points. There are certainly more decision-makers involved in buying now, so we need to understand what’s going on outside the IT departments, and engage with the right people.

Do you focus on particular sectors, and are there differences between them?
We don’t really focus on particular sectors, but perhaps inevitably, we’ve seen organic growth in certain sectors in particular locations. For example, we’ve done a lot in the US healthcare sector, because of peer recommendations and the use of case studies, so success tends to breed success. But it’s not really a conscious choice. We find overall needs and issues are quite similar across industries.

How has cloud computing adoption changed your portfolio and go-to-market priorities?
Cloud has had a big influence, because there is a big demand for it. Clients often want hybrid or private clouds, and to integrate with their existing environment. It’s very much about flexibility with many organisations using cloud when they need extra capacity.

How does thought leadership feature in your go-to-market?
This is a big focus of the integrated marketing framework – to develop a higher level of content that feeds the early stages of the buyer lifecycle. We are also addressing the impact of a broader spectrum of buyers, especially those outside the traditional IT teams. So for us, using our thought leaders’ ideas to energise what we call the “Awareness stage” has been a focus. The constant challenge though, is to increase penetration and awareness of our messaging and to the right audience.

We are interested in how you attract, recruit and retain market engagement staff. What are your most successful initiatives?
Our work on re-training the sales and marketing teams shows that we’re keeping up with the industry. This makes us more attractive.  One interesting aspect is that the industry as a whole is seeing a different type of person join marketing, with a more analytical approach. There’s much more focus on ROI and KPIs, so that we can use metrics to drive our existing activity, and change current campaigns, not just evaluate after the event. There is a strong theme of ‘integrated marketing’ that needs to be nurtured.

We are seeing the role of CTOs changing. What is the scope of your CTO?
This is a relatively new position at Logicalis. Three years ago, as we saw the need to walk with customers through their transformation journeys, it became clear that long-range and objectivity around technology options was necessary. Our CTO’s office helps us with three big jobs. Firstly, to refine our positioning and support the portfolio team, so we are leading change rather than reacting to market forces. Secondly, to represent us on our customers’ steering teams and actively participate in strategic decisions. Last but not least, our CTO team is part of our line-up of spokespeople, helping us engage with influencers in the market.

Follow Joanne on @JoJames7

1 Comment

  1. Mark Harris May 2, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    It sounds to me like Logicalis are pretty heavily engaged in “Content Marketing” even if they are not calling it that.

    It would also seem they are not afraid to discuss subjects that others are ‘waiting to see what happens’, I refer of course to SDN and IPv6 featured recently on their CxO Unplugged blog, this suggests they are not hamstrung by an over-zealous legal department and defensive PR people!

    Reply

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