IBM Software developer marketing case study

We published a case study last week (also available on, and while it’s certainly sufficiently self-congratulatory, I’d like to point out one of the key successes, which really doesn’t have to do with Ivy. Rather, this is a chance to praise our client’s ability to extract further value from their investment in building a relationship with influential third-party influencers.

What’s really remarkable about this case study is IBM’s foresight in repurposing the content resulting from their work with a couple of third-party video bloggers.

But first, a little background. Like any big company, IBM regularly holds events to showcase it technology and attract new customers. In this case, the customers in question were third-party developers utilizing the IBM platform to build line-of-business and other applications. And like any software company, they are dependent on attracting and retaining application developers to extend their technologies in ways that IBM isn’t resourced to do themselves. To do this, they have to relate a compelling story to those developers, capturing not only their desire to make money and a name for themselves, but their imaginations as well.

In effect, IBM approached third-party developers as a customer segment, discussing their technologies in places developers already frequented and via content that would inherently be of interest to them. To do this, IBM collaborated with influencers whose properties are highly trafficked by developers of all stripes, inviting them to these events to interview people about successful deployments of IBM technologies, which the influencers recorded via video and posted to their sites. The idea was to broaden the discussion footprint of IBM in general while also attaching these influencers’ endorsement to the IBM developer experience. IBM then linked back to their influencers’ sites, helping the influencers in the process via inbound links from the highly credible web property.

However, IBM took this one step further by repurposing the influencer content on its own site to complement and enrich its own cache of in-house event videos. By doing so they made use of the third-party endorsement that’s so critical in affecting the customer decision journey in your favor. Bottom-line, there’s plenty of owned (company-produced) content to consume, but when it comes down to narrowing your options and making a decision — regardless of the product or service in question – we all need to confer with a relatable party whose experience can serve as a proxy for our own. IBM understood this and made the most of their investment in the content these influencers produced.

Not only that, it also served to give the influencers greater exposure and positive association to IBM via IBM’s tacit endorsement. In the end, everyone came out better than before, and we’re discussing how to continue assisting IBM in 2015. Which is exactly how the Ivy influencer marketing model is designed to work.

But don’t take my word for it – see for yourself in the slides below.


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