Yes, Brand Matters In B2B Marketing — Especially For Technology Brands

 

Welcome back to us all from vacation. I, Peter O'Neill, would like to join the discussion on “What is marketing?” ignited by an HBR article a few weeks ago — if only because of the reaction to my last blog post, where I pleaded for HP marketing to do something about its worsening brand standards. That post hit a nerve, generating several urgent inquiries with B2B marketers. A few clever journalists even wrote articles afterwards that combined comments on HP’s business prospects from Steve Milunovich, investment analyst at UBS, with my point of view, as an industry analyst, about HP’s lack of marketing agility.

While most responses were statements of violent agreement, one point was frequently made: “Which marketing group should be stepping in to stem the tide?” Another was: “Yes, but does that brand stuff matter? We are still selling our kit to customers — they don’t seem worried.” I like to keep things simple, so, for me, there are just two disciplines in B2B marketing:

·         Brand marketing. Often called “corporate marketing” or even “marcom,” this discipline is responsible for the marketing of brand values; running centralized marketing processes such as customer/market intelligence and public/analyst/blogger relations; and perhaps managing social media services, such as listening and content management.

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Brocade Partnering Directions in 2012

Brocade held its Asia Pacific (AP) Partners Summit 2012 last week in the capital of China’s Yunnan Province, Kunming.  For a company which has been the subject of perennial takeover rumors, I was interested to know if it had anything new to convey to its partners.  I was also looking forward to meeting Regan McGrath, Brocade’s newly appointed VP for Global Channel Sales and Marketing and Charlie Foo, Brocade’sVP for the Asia Pacific region.  

Brocade emphasized three key target areas for innovation and investment:

  • Ethernet Fabric: Brocade’s 2nd generation Ethernet fabric technology is aimed at organizations driving virtualization and cloud-related consolidation initiatives.
  • Campus Network: Part of its Effortless Network vision, Brocade’s recently announced HyperEdge technology targets innovation in the campus LAN market.
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At HP, Reality Is Fast Becoming Perception. Shouldn’t Marketing Act?

 

What is going on at HP? Or rather, what is not happening at that company?   Ex HP- marketer Peter O’Neill here with some observations.

I am sure you’ve all consumed the numerous stories about HP over the last 18 months: CEOs being fired and hired in an almost show-business fashion; a board not paying enough attention; business strategy speculation (is the PC business in or out? – imagine this, for a while, the PC business unit actually ran ads arguing against their CEO’s plan!); multiple tablet announcements, and withdrawals; plus a long list of failed, mistimed, or simply stupid acquisitions. Clearly, many journalists, who are not technology market experts, now see HP as being run incompetently.

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