IBM Systems Magazine
Distribution methods: Print, digital and tablet applications
Client Objective: Create a customer retention and satisfaction publishing portfolio for IBM’s global systems customer base.
Challenge: IBM Systems and Technology Group sought to grow its one print publication and archival website into a publishing program that cost-effectively reached more customers.
Solution: MSP-C has worked diligently to keep current with the evolution of content marketing, providing an integrated content strategy that touches IBM customers and prospects more than 4 million times each year. Communications with customers is accomplished through an IBM publishing portfolio, which now includes two hard-copy publications, a substantive website with original content, five email newsletters with original content, digital editions of the magazines, webinars, videos, iPad and Android apps and social media extensions–including blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.
Results: In 2002, the website garnered 28,000 monthly visitors. In 2015, the site achieved an average 90,000 monthly visitors.
Every two years, the MSP-C IBM team hires a third-party research company to survey readers of IBM Systems Magazine, its email newsletters and the digital version of the magazines. Data from the survey is used to craft content, entice business partner advertisement activity and to prove the value of the various content deliverables (e.g., magazines, email newsletters and digital versions of the magazine) to IBM.
Research has revealed that IBM Systems Magazine readers are loyal and engaged with the publication.
- 84 percent of readers have been subscribing to the magazine 3 years or longer
- The average amount of time readers spend with each issue of the magazine is 50 minutes.
- 46 percent of readers save the entire issue for reference purposes.
IBM’s magazine is also driving IBM sales. Results from a 2013 readership survey revealed that because of the magazine, readers had purchased or planned to purchase the following:
- 30.3% purchased or plan to purchase IBM Software and/or upgrades
- 29.1% purchased or plan to purchase an IBM Power Systems Server
- 15.0% purchased or plan to purchase IBM Services and/or Support Contract
In addition to the biannual readership studies, MSP-C’s IBM team regularly surveys its readers on topics of interest to both IBM marketing leadership and customers, including mobile computing, big data, business intelligence, etc. That data forms the basis of published “special reports” that are distributed to readers through various content channels. The customer data is also shared with IBM executives and the special reports posted on appropriate IBM Web pages for consumption by customers and prospects.
Social media channels are a critical component of the IBM program’s integrated marketing content strategy. For example, to support a recent and much anticipated IBM product announcement, the MSP-C IBM team prominently featured the announcement as an IBM Systems Magazine cover story and supported the subject matter with exclusive e-newsletter articles, as well as various social media channels including Twitter, Facebook and numerous blog posts. These announcement blog posts garnered more than 10,000 page views in a one-week period.
Originally created as a customer retention and satisfaction vehicle, MSP-C has recently begun to use the media portfolio’s reach to excel as a lead-generation tool. Since 2014, the program has delivered 1,400 customer leads to IBM’s Mainframe group; 1,600 customer leads to IBM’s Power Systems group and 1,440 customer leads to IBM Software Group (through an eight-part webinar series). The IBM Software Group marketing team estimated the value of the validated lead revenue (VLM) from the eight-part revenue series at $6.7 million.
MSP-C is a brand journalism company that puts the story first, leveraging its four-decade magazine heritage to develop strategic, compelling, multi-platform content that promotes loyalty, generates leads and gets results — forging long-lasting relationships between brands and audiences. Get the latest news, trends and insights from our content marketing experts and guest thought leaders, by connecting with @MSPContent on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.