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Brand marketing was a focus of our Marketing Leadership Forum in Los Angeles, where Chris Stutzman talked about brand building in the 21st century (see video).  His examples were primarily B2C, but he also cited IBM and Adobe: two tech vendors that have rightly earned respect for their brand marketing. But to be honest, for the rest of us, brand marketing is less about raising the bar and more about getting out of our limbo position (think about that).

Tech marketers I talked to at the event saw brand marketing as “something fluffy”; “not really strategic for us”; or “not as important as lead generation in our firm.” One tech marketer told me that his most important vehicle was the press release. And those who did understand the importance of brand said that they were powerless because their executives do not, so they keep quiet. Then I did an advisory the next day in San Jose, CA, for a digital marketing service provider (DMSP) about its ambitions to build more business with tech vendors in Silicon Valley. The DMSP’s newly located account manager reported that her first impressions of tech CMOs are that they are limited in their strategic thinking and cannot consider a project or campaign lasting longer than two quarters. Her experience in other sectors was producing “digital marketing road maps,” but this idea falls on deaf ears with tech marketers. She smiled ruefully when I cited our research that 28% of tech industry CMOs are engineers and 15% come from sales.

But this is not the status everywhere. I was so pleased to see this table from leading brand-valuation firm Brand Finance. Congratulations to TCS, and to Infosys, on their valuations and ratings.   

Remember a decade ago when TCS and other service providers in India were perceived as resource pools winning outsourcing business purely based on price? I know from briefings and engagements that each of them has been working very diligently on their brand values and marketing and the results are clearly shown above; and their work will continue.  As Abhinav Kumar, CMO  for TCS Europe said, “ Through an  industry Top 3 PR program, engagement with leading analyst firms like Forrester , major sports sponsorships, campaigns, accelerated presence in events, upgraded employer branding and  most importantly — the work we do in community, we are stepping up the ante significantly.”   

Another kudo to close: I’d had a discussion with Infosys in January around the DMSP concept and how they should proceed with their new marketing software and data platform. While I was in LA, they launched a strategic partnership with a digital marketing business within the global marketing agency WPP; they even had CEO Sir Martin Sorrell at the event in London. Congratulations on your progress, Ajay Anand at Infosys. Great move!  

Agree? Disagree?  Need more details?  Always keeping you informed! Peter