IBM marketing strategies


It is by the use of marketing theory and concepts; we are evaluating the determined marketing strategy of IBM in attaining its organisational goals and objectives. Initially the proceedings are related to the importance and the use of information in successful marketing strategies by IBM. Then there is the discussion about IBM marketing strategies in terms of their overall organisational strategy. We will make an analysis over the application of IBM marketing strategies in global context. Lastly we will assess IBM e-business strategies in marketing domain.

International Business Machines Corporation, or the IBM, is basically a multinational computer technology and has got hold over IT consulting services. The company has established itself as one of the selected information technology companies since 19th century. Adoption of marketing strategies for IBM has been a planned structure since 19th century and by means of these strategies it has earned enough success all over the world. With its growth in the manufacturing as well as marketing domains of computer hardware and software, it has gained the nickname of "Big Blue". On marketing grounds, IBM follows strict infrastructural services, added by hosting provisions and consulting services in various areas from mainframe computers to the persuasion of nanotechnology.

The company considers that to make marketing strategies, it is important to have appropriate decisions that can well enhance all kinds of competitive advantages and can create all kinds of new sources of value for the purpose of improving the organisational revenue growth. As declared in its official website. IBM considers that their strategy and change services target in helping their clients in transforming their economy and related businesses by the scope of identifying strategic options. This further gets added by provisions for developing strategic and planned change programs to meet the demands of their consumers. According to Luq Niazi, Leader - Strategy and Change,

"When the leaders of an organisation think about their business as components, it becomes clear which ones they need to own - and which they do not"

Importance and use of information in IBM marketing strategy

The importance and use of information is very vital for gaining success and thus IBM in particular came up with Social Networking provisions. It is an absolute means of sharing ideas, complains and letters of appreciation in public. By means of adopting networking opportunities, IBM established its strong hold over competitive market. It is through the provision of Social Networking (SN), that IBM could establish its commitment to technology and SN mindset. The company uses its technological supports and draws new kinds of driving features. IBM is the first major IT supplier that has got potential provisions for SN in the process of changing the entire enterprise along with a credible application to address the market.

By means of investments made in the SN domain, IBM has gained enough market strengths in the enterprise lineage, global services, and deep pockets and above all in gaining loyal customers. By success of SN, IBM proved to be a fine player in the domain of information networking. The proceedings have added many advantages to its organisational global services. SN for enterprises has been implemented with enough marketing strategies and this is what providing IBM with technical expertise in the field of organizational/adoption issues. The launching of more facilities related to SN are relevant to the competition of the market. The launcher came up with a new idea and launched it much before anybody can ever think of it. The second big thing to the adoption of marketing strategy is the IBM's mindset in the launching of Lotus Connection. It is an information networking process with collaboration-centric approach to SN and helps in information sharing and uninterrupted workflow. By few minutes of exploration anybody can well get hold over its functionalities. IBM kept it easy and user friendly; the basics of marketing strategies.

When it comes to the use of information system in IBM, the adoption of unique kind of marketing strategies is predominant. The basic approach is in being innovative ad adopting something that is very user friendly and easy for the customer to adopt. Complicacies in the same field can lead to failure of the same. This is the reason that IBM lays emphasis over making it simple, easy and sharing more than the consumer can expect. Once there is a kind of trust and sense of being facilitated gets into the consumer, he hardly will opt for any other company and this is what IBM believes to the core. Application of innovative ideas in the field of information sharing units can be of great risk, but under the marketing strategy of IBM, this risk has been taken again and again with enough success.

IBM marketing strategy in relation to Organisational strategy

The measurement of strategic effectiveness in an organizational strategy can be discovered through SWOT analysis. This is a structure that figure out strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a particular company. Added to this there is the initiation led by Johnson and Scholes model for corporate strategy (Rifkin, 2001). Under this persuasion we can evaluate a company on the basis of three key success criteria. These are marked as following;

Ø Suitability can be assessed to identify the factors that will support the strategies.

Ø Feasibility is all about the adoption of executing the strategy into practical field.

Ø Acceptability is something that will determine the reactions that the organisation will receive by the execution of the strategies.

At IBM there is enough encouragement for creative marketing tactics. Anybody within the organisation can attain these tactics. The application of SWOT and the Johnson and Scholes model proves that IBM has got enough potentiality to gain well crafted assessment about itself. Its main strength lies in identifying its weaknesses. The approaches are all very professional and the marketing persuasions are well structured as per the organisational structure. As per the declarations made by the official site of IBM, the basic marketing strategy in relation to organisational strategy adopted by IBM is more concerned about the proceedings led by HRM. The perspectives of organisational dealings are strategically adopted to meet the demands of HRM.

The typical business culture of IBM is customer centric and for that they make their HR department feel the responsibility. It has been marked that on traditional ground many IBM executives along with aspiring general managers are selected for the purpose of improving sales force and market oriented projects. It can be well marked as Samuel J. Palmisano, the current CEO, IBM; initially joined the company in the position of a salesman.

Global context in IBM marketing planning

In global context, IBM has proved to sustain in the most difficult situations. It has overcome the recent twists and turns led by 'bricks-and-clicks'. Despite the fact that this marketing strategy adopted by IBM was considered to be an early lead by the field of Internet pure plays. However amidst all the hurdles IBM is now achieving milestones through the advantages forwarded by brick-and-click enterprises. It is through this enterprise that IBM can be considered as a big player in terms of getting hold over the global marketing plans. Its formulisations are inclusive of creating a global brand blueprint. It is a mode that usually gets expressed locally and after attaining some success approaches on global grounds. IBM always follows the process of establishing central framework and then architects the relevant consumer experiences to gain consistency with the brand.

IBM always concentrates in gaining single view from its consumers and that helps in assessing the risk factors of global marketing strategies (Rometty, 2001). In order to meet the diversified point of views, IBM follows the structure noted below;

Ø Process of analysing the context of 'when', 'where' and 'how' the appropriate and relevant customer data can be collected. This is an approach that is done under the provision of practical market survey.

Ø The means to create absolute governance framework with special attentions led over management policies and overall practices. These are the sources that are collected through the purpose of encouraging customer centricity added by the scope to safeguard customer privacy.

Ø Approaches led by institute consistent processes for target customer is the next step. In this process the relationship led by the management across all the domains of sales and provided services of the organisation are scrutinized professionally.

IBM and e-business strategies

The motive of any electronic business is to achieve consumer demands through internet networking. This is a provision that can collect more consumers all over the world with very minimum investment. It is an exclusive means adopted through the dealings related to information and communication technologies. For the development of business proceedings through ICT is considered to be the best means. In case of IBM the role of e-business is very strong. Through e-business strategies, IBM is enabling itself to all kinds of external activities and is applying determined relationships for respective business dealings, with individuals, diversified groups and all other corporate. According to 'Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?'; a book by a former CEO of IBM, Louis Gerstner (2003), the approach of IBM for "e-Business strategies is handled under IBM's marketing provisions and under specialised internet teams since 1996.

It is through its e-business strategies that IBM is able to link its internal as well as external data processing systems with more efficiencies and flexibilities. E-business helped IBM in coming much closer to its consumers and that builds the bridge of reliability and consumer loyalty to the brand. The proceedings led by IBM for the development and implementation of e-business are more strategic and led concentration over diversified functions occurring through electronic capabilities.IBM is also a part of the entire value chain proceeding for more profitable dominance over the local as well as global market. There are some predominant sectors where the e-business strategies are applied to gain more trust and money from the consumer. These activities are noted below;

Ø electronic purchasing

Ø supply chain management

Ø processing orders electronically

Ø handling customer service

These proceedings are adding special technical standards in the e-business structure of IBM. It is also utilising e-business strategies to exchange of data between its partners and associate companies. As a matter of fact the e-business strategies of IBM are not much different from the other marketing strategies. The basic difference however depends over the expansion of management for sending and receiving contracts from the consumer. It is under this strategic implementation that IBM has adopted many local dealers to be a part of its services. These dealers are of course selected through some professional modes. The reputations of these dealers are marked by IBM first before offering the partnership. In terms of services for each product sold through e-business, IBM provides appropriate training to all those people who are a part of this structure. With strategic planning IBM is also into the dealings related to integrated intra and inter firm business proceedings.

It can be well concluded that the marketing strategies adopted by IBM are very much structured on the basis of trust-based marketing strategies. It is through this theoretical approach that IBM has established itself very strongly, amidst burgeoning and very unpredictable online as well as global marketplace. IBM concentrates in providing its consumer every possible facility that he demands and that too with very balanced services. It is more about having the trust of every single consumer, rather than having lots of them without the trust. The products and services provided by IBM can guarantee their utility to the customer's satisfaction. In a nutshell, IBM has got professional and the courage to take a risk for innovative ideas. It explores the consumer's domain through proper hold over the local and global proceedings.



The management of new product development involving electronic and computer-oriented consumer and systems products is a special case because of the challenges created by high technology and complex systems. There is a big project risk involved as the whole project might fail and make a huge loss for the investors, even if the product performs as designed in development. These factors are external to the project team-in the company organization and culture or in the global marketplace. They are often missed by the technical and engineering personnel in the project because of the tendency to fix narrowly on the product itself and its design and function,

And not on the company's success in getting it successfully to the market.


IBM is carrying out a project focused on developing a computer that would work as a brain, so it can solve problems by considering the real context in which the things are happening.

This type of technology is called “Cognitive computing”, and it will require the combined work of neurobiologists, computer and materials scientists and psychologists. In order to develop the project, some researchers from Stanford University, Cornell University and the University of California-Merced are collaborating. Besides, the project is supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that has invested $4.9 million.

“The mind has an amazing ability to integrate ambiguous information across the senses, and it can effortlessly create the categories of time, space, object, and interrelationship from the sensory data”, said Dharmendra Modha, a researcher at IBM who is leading the collaboration.

“There are no computers that can even remotely approach the remarkable feats the mind performs”, said Modha. “The key idea of cognitive computing is to engineer mind-like intelligent machines by reverse engineering the structure, dynamics, function and behavior of the brain”.




Market segmentation is a strategy that involves dividing a larger market into subsets of consumers who have common needs and applications for the goods and services offered in the market. These subgroups of consumers can be identified by a number of different demographics, depending on the purposes behind identifying the groups. Marketing campaigns are often designed and implemented based on this type of customer segmentation.

In this case we can segment the market by the age group of the people who will be using the end product; this type of computer will be mostly used by the older group of people who understand what is nanoelectronics and its applications.


Target Marketing involves breaking a market into segments and then concentrating your marketing efforts on one or a few key segments.

Psychographic segmentation – based on lifestyle preferences, such as being urban dwellers


In marketing product differentiation is the process of distinguishing a product or offering from others, to make it more attractive to a particular target market. This involves differentiating it from the competitors products as well as ones own products.

Differentiation in quality is what IBM will be aiming for in this product as this product will of superior quality and design which will give IBM a competitive edge over other companies which plan to launch such a product in the future.


Short term targets for milestones with defined measurable achievement.

For example if IBM is planning to get over a million units of sale in this particular year, then objectives should be defined in such a way

That actual performance can be compared with the objective.



The product is cognitive computing


The price would be based on development costs plus profits


The place of launch would be united kingdom


The product would be promoted to the age group of over 25 yrs


British organisations aim to apply for the Investors In People accreditation, which tells consumers that staff are taken care off by the company and they are trained to certain standards.


Banks that send out Credit Cards automatically when their customer's old one has expired again require an efficient process to identify expiry dates and renewal. An efficient service that replaces old credit cards will foster consumer loyalty and confidence in the company. Hence efficiency is our aim.

Physical evidence

Physical evidence is an essential ingredient of the service mix, consumers will make perceptions based on their sight of the service provision which will have an impact on the organisations perceptual plan of the service.


There is a strong opinion that costs of the projects would be above 10 million as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that has invested $4.9.

Hence according to calculation which are based on profits over a period of time, it would take five years to get back the investment.



Gerst, Louis V. (2003) Who Says Elephants Can't Dance. Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change. Harper Paperback

Bruce Barkley (2008) Project management in new product development. McGraw-hill books

Rifkin, J. (2000) The Age of Access, Putnam Books, New York


IBM Global Business Services, [retrieved on 19th Nov. 2009]

Rometty, Ginni (2001) Five marketing tips for the digital age. [retrieved on 19th Nov. 2009]

Spooner, John G. (2002) IBM meets lowered estimates. Staff Writer, CNET News April 17, 2002 [retrieved on 20th Nov. 2009]

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