Not long ago, IBM Global Services was the Grande Dame of awful services marketing. It’s content consisted of “I feel your pain” prose followed by multi-compound sentences laden with million dollar words. The site practically bored visitors into calling a salesperson.
Then IBM bought itself a new Website for its 100th birthday. With IBM.com’s new design and a dose of IBM Smarter Planet’s content strategy, IBM Global Services transformed itself from a services marketing wallflower to the sexiest services marketing site in IT.
Today, the IBM Global Services site seems “hand crafted”—almost as if human beings who like services wrote the content. The designs are varied, but still easy to use. The content is engaging, snappy, and even a bit assertive. What’s missing is the template-ized, “fill-in-the-blanks” marketing model of the past that is still seen everywhere else.
“[Name dropping] may be unbecoming in social circles, but it has eye-catching power in services marketing. And the more bizarre the pairing, the better. The NFL uses IBM services? Tell me more.”
So how does IBM do it? No doubt the Web team would coyly tell you that it takes a lot of meetings, coffee, and late nights. However, even from the outside looking in, you can spy the behaviors and traits that set this site apart from its services competitors:
- Consistency | IBM Global Services’ pages have a common template, but it is a “template with latitude”. Every type of information has its own place, and the important ones (call to action, for example) have a set design. The body of the page, however, is given flexible layout options that give each page a unique look and feel.
- Engaging Content | In the past year, IBM.com has mastered the art of using snippets of information such as data, factoids and quotes to catch the visitors eye and leave them saying, “Tell me more”. Now that’s powerful marketing in a nutshell.
- Cut to the chase headers | “Cut to the chase” headers are more call to action than mystery and intrigue. Visitors know exactly what the information below these titles provides within a millisecond scan of the page. Then if, and when, they’re ready, they can act on it.
- Friends, Fans, & Social Networking | When it comes to marketing services, you are known by the company you keep. For most sites this goes no farther than producing some case studies. But IBM Global Services takes a broader view. It includes featuring the white papers, events, and Webinars produced with it’s industry partners and happy clients. Even its social networks get in on the action.
- Call to Action | When marketing services, image is everything–and the site’s call to action plays a large part in that image. IBM Global Services’ contact module goes out of its way to show it wants to help—from the “How can we help?” header, to the multitude of contact options available—including online chat.
The good news is any of these additions can breathe life into services marketing pages lingering on life support—and it doesn’t take a shiny new Website to do it. So, go on. Try one of these ideas on for size on your services marketing pages. You never know—you might fall in love with services again.
siteIQ blogs and case studies about the new IBM.com and its Smarter Planet site
IBM.com Smarter Planet | Best Practices & Moments of Brilliance
Visions of IBM.com’s grand redesign emerge
Game Changer: IBM Software Group, LinkedIn – and the beauty of tribes
Don’t Miss/Don’t Bother | IBM.com’s Mega-menu Launch
Content | 4 reasons why IBM.com’s Smarter Planet site is creating new content standards The content on IBM’s Smarter Planet site breaks the long standing mold of dull, dense IT Website content. It is written by people, for people. It is as interesting as it is enjoyable to read. And it does an amazing job of connecting technology to real-world scenarios that even non-techies can understand.