I’ve always been a bit reticent about this client-leveraged self-promotion because of the nature of work we do for our clients. I mean, a lot of what we do is centred around having our client companies look, sound and stand as market leaders, and elevating executives into ‘thought-leadership’ positions (what we call becoming a ‘rock star’). On the inside, it’s an understood strategy, played-out by a quietly-achieving team. But as with all good theatre, concerts and circus acts – the magic is in not seeing all the cables, sandbags, cogs and pulleys that make astonishing feats appear as if just to happen.
With every rule there are exceptions, and one of these happened early last month when Grant Walmsley, general manager of CMS Transport Systems, said: “Mel, I’m off to the Progress conference in Boston and we’re going to showcase the new app we’ve just developed. There’s a new blog post on the Progress site about marketing. They’re inviting developer-partner businesses to share their marketing success stories. Would you contribute something about what CMS has been doing?”
Of course I wanted to tell Progress Inc and their entire developer community how CMS had taken their marketing forward to match their stellar product development and customer service, and how they’d grown to approach their marketing in the same way – with imagination, commitment and gusto. But to do so in a way that was helpful to others would require lifting the curtain on some of the behind-the-scenes mechanisms. Well, lifting it part of the way at least – maybe to knee-level.
Thus came about my blog comment and slideshow presentation on Progress Software’s Marketing Means Business page. The timing of the conference and other commitments meant a weekend working on it, but hey, that’s agile marketing for you. A strategic global promotional opportunity for a client can’t be missed because of a date with a bushwalk. The moment is now! We’re grabbing it! This doesn’t happen every weekend. I do have a life. But this was a special occasion, and CMS are special to us after several years of working closely together in the hard-won achievement of missions and objectives.
As a marketer in the tech arena, I have sometimes seen “marketing” regarded as where left-brain types and right-brain types collide. But hey, we’ve come a long way from the palettes of purely intuitive marketing. Although creativity still figures in the expression, today’s marketing is data-driven. We’re talking left-brain and right-brain convergence. Our decisions and directions are evidence-based more than ever before. We “do the math” in real-time. We are agile, alert and responsive. We don’t “sell” as such. We attract potential customers from the ether, and engage with them one-on-one. We are generous in giving value up-front. We build trust, fill pipelines and create not just “conversions”, but lasting relationships.
You can view the whole thing here: http://corporateblog.progress.com/2013/09/marketing-means-business/
The next chapter in this story is about how Grant Walmsley arrived in Boston – representing the whole team at CMS – doing CMS and Progress Software proud by walking-the-talk – the embodiment of ‘rock star’ philosophy – stealing the thunder and limelight from even global heavyweights with the ‘world-beating new app from Down Under’ (another great Aussie upstart). It was neither here nor there that the app itself wasn’t 100% completed at this stage, let alone officially launched – but why marketing should always be ahead of product development is a ginormous topic we’ll be exploring here some other day…
As with real rock stars, the excitement surrounding celebrity is contagious, and next thing not only is Grant Walmsley and CMS featured on the home page of Progress Software’s global website (see screenshot above), but the tech media picked up on the new app unveiling – most notably with the article Can Single Purpose Mobile Apps Replace Monolithic Desktop Software on the reputable Australian tech website LifeHackers. And all this follow-on publicity happened with no strings attached – we didn’t organise anything in this instance. It flowed from positioning, mindset, and Grant Walmsley’s bold launch of the new CMS app, leaving the rest of the Progress-developer world to wonder why they hadn’t caught on already.
We congratulate the people at CMS Transport Systems on their continuing success and ever-rising profile, and look forward to more opportunities for leveraging ‘rock star’ executive performance as a value-add in the suite of marketing assets.