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“Your brand is your experience and your experience is your brand.” With these words, Ari Sheinkin, Vice President, Global Demand at IBM, expresses a truism of the digital economy and a guiding principle behind IBM’s recent marketing transformation.

“You can do all the advertising you want and be on all the social platforms, but five minutes after someone experiences your product or service, they’ve made up their mind,” says Sheinkin. “If your brand is your experience, and in a digital world your experience drives demand, then you have to start and work backwards from the client experience.”

This insight led IBM marketers to reflect on client engagement across all channels. They found that siloed data prevented marketers from delivering consistent, relevant cross-channel experiences. Say a client from a target account went to an event, but also had visited the website, downloaded a white paper and engaged with an email. Marketers couldn’t easily connect all the touch points to get a clear picture of what that client wanted and where they were in the buying cycle to deliver a personalized experience.

On the technology side, IBM had dozens of marketing tools for managing data, digital assets, content and campaigns. Being unintegrated, they hindered collaboration and data sharing, and manual processes made them inefficient. IBM’s digital assets, for instance, were spread across 40 digital asset management (DAM) platforms, each with its own content, standards and metadata. Such dispersion wasted marketers’ time in finding assets.

Legacy processes and organizational structure led to challenges as well. IBM was running 2,800 campaigns, which reflected IBM’s organization rather than client needs. Across geographies, business units and product lines, everyone was creating without a central vision or control.

Thus began a major project to transform the complex system that was IBM marketing. Explains Sheinkin: “Our work would be to radically simplify—focused on delivering personalized experiences and on the data that supports those experiences.”

IBM Consulting optimized DAM by consolidating 40 platforms into

1

using Adobe Experience Manager

Thanks to optimized processes and technology, web pages come to market

75%

faster than before

Deploying the Adobe Experience Cloud platform

Transformation began with data consolidation and rationalization. Then, IBM marketing replaced legacy marketing tools with Adobe Experience Cloud, the industry leading integrated suite for marketing execution. The suite includes

“The Adobe suite was a catalyst for business transformation,” says Sheinkin. “But if we were to become digital-first, experience centric and data driven, we would have to change our processes, our people, our culture—everything had to change.”

Expert in business transformation at large enterprises, IBM Consulting™ supported the project end to end, from business strategy and process design though data, infrastructure, development and testing. IBM iX® (link resides outside of ibm.com), the experience design team within IBM Consulting, managed the project hand in hand with IBM marketing.

IBM Garage co-creates value for employees and clients

Working with IBM marketing, the consulting team used the IBM Garage™ method to deploy the Adobe suite. Alongside this technical work, the IBM iX design team helped optimize inefficient processes and envision new marketing skills and roles that would support transformation.

What is the IBM Garage methodology? It’s an end-to-end model for accelerating digital transformation that helps generate innovative ideas and speed implementation. In this project, blended squads with experts from marketing strategy, design, development and technology co-created the new marketing model. Marketing strategists set the direction, and then the squad of consultants viewed the work with fresh eyes, pushing and challenging the marketers to consider new approaches for radical simplification.

Next, the squads prioritized small pieces of the project to be completed in sprints of two to six weeks. This helped avoid lengthy dead ends and staffers working in isolation. “The core agile principal is frequent iterations and testing guided by a human focus,” says Laura Evans, Partner at IBM iX. “In other words, each small iteration must support a better experience for either an employee or client. And then the iterations continue.”

Man in a office pointing to bulletin board covered in post-it notes

Adobe Workfront ties it all together

Because the Adobe technology and new processes applied mainly to marketing execution, the entire global marketing team also needed its own platform. The answer was Adobe Workfront, the connective tissue among the Adobe tools and all of IBM marketing.

As a leading Adobe Workfront partner, IBM Consulting played a critical role in optimizing processes and automating workflows across systems and the team. “IBM Consulting has been alongside us every step of the way to help us adapt to the new construct and ways of working,” says Saralyssa Gonzalez, Workfront Business Owner at IBM.

The Workfront team’s immediate focus was to provide a common view of marketing to IBM marketers: a central system of record for priority assets, pages, media, demand automation and user experience forms. Doing so drove synergy across the reimagined marketing organization.

“With Workfront, we created seamless experiences on the ground among ourselves,” says Gonzalez. “This more efficient working model helps us deliver client experiences that are data driven and relevant.”

One early success involves the complex problem of translating content into the eight languages IBM supports across its geographies. With Workfront integrating with an outside translation service and the global marketing team, translations are 55% faster and quality is 28% better.

Co-workers in a meeting

Radical simplification pays big dividends

IBM Consulting helped deliver fast time to value for the transformation project. Deploying the new technology platform took less than a year, and a simplified, automated working model has reduced costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. The project has also accelerated time to market and helped personalize client experiences.

Consider the advantages of simplifying 2,800 campaigns down to 100. “With those 100, we can not only reach all the audiences we previously reached, but we can be more personalized because the campaigns are simpler,” says Sheinkin. “We’re also seeing 35% better ROI on media because we have enough funds to hit our numbers on 100 campaigns.”

Consolidating 40 DAM platforms into one under Adobe Experience Manager pays dividends as well. Not having to maintain 39 platforms reduces costs. Web pages are coming to market 75% faster because marketers know where the assets are. And consistent metadata makes it easier to automate personalization in real time.

Such benefits will help IBM deliver personalized experiences at scale. When clients come to IBM.com, the pages they see will be relevant to them and case studies will matter for their industry. And the continuity from the media and social engagement to the web will all feel like one journey.

“Starting with experience centricity and committing to radical simplification underpins these benefits,” says Sheinkin. “It’s all because we made the choice to be more focused on the client.”

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About IBM

IBM is a leading global hybrid cloud, AI and business services provider, helping clients in more than 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain a competitive edge.

Solution components:

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2022. IBM Corporation, New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504

Produced in the United States, November 2022.

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