Growing up in rural Ireland, one of my dad’s favourite sayings was “Necessity is the mother of invention,” usually in the context of some newfangled farming equipment! At the time, I didn’t always appreciate what he meant. But Dad, as usual, was 100 percent right. In fact, I’ve seen his words come beautifully to life in recent months amongst my own marketing team at Dell Technologies OEM | Embedded & Edge Solutions.
To explain, we have a long and successful track record of engaging with customers and generating business via face-to-face events, including huge, global shows like Mobile World Congress for the telecom market and Hannover Messe for industrial automation and manufacturing customers.
This year, world circumstances led to both shows being cancelled at short notice, leaving a huge communications void in two major business areas. We also had to cancel our involvement in industry, customer, partner and internal engagement events.
Our rapid response
In response, we had to quickly re-imagine how we could meaningfully reach out to customers through digital communications. As part of our rapid response strategy, we adapted and enlarged our existing digital campaigns to become the main platforms for both shows.
By the end of April, over a period of weeks, we had two full-scale, completely digital campaigns in place to increase awareness plus drive lead generation and site traffic. We used both paid media and organic social promotion of telecom and industrial themed webinars, eBooks, podcasts & vEvents. I’m happy to report that customer engagement has been very positive.
Our upcoming Solutions Summit – taking place on the 17th and 18th of June – is proudly virtual by design. Over the course of two days, customers can virtually navigate their way through the summit, just like they would at a physical event – visiting exhibition spaces, attending a plenary session, taking part in live webinars, attending group sessions and one-to-one meetings as well as interactive networking breakout sessions.
Necessity drove innovation
So, how did the team pivot so quickly? As my father would say, necessity drove innovation. We work in such a fast-paced environment – we simply couldn’t afford to get left behind or sit and wait to see what other teams or companies would do. We knew we had to deliver a 100 percent digital solution. There was no alternative. And it wasn’t just a tick box exercise – we wanted to make it creative and fun, providing an immersive, interactive and interesting experience for customers.
We were fortunate to have strong digital expertise onboard, but it was concentrated in pockets. For some of the team, there were understandable fears about their knowledge and experience of some of the digital marketing tools.
Developing new skills
As leader, I believe that my role was to provide a supportive environment, where the team felt comfortable taking risks, learning new skills and reaching out to each other for help. To support personal development, we provided a short but intensive course through the Digital Marketing Institute to increase people’s knowledge, capabilities and most crucially, their confidence.
Community of best practice
As there was a similar dynamic across all of Dell Technologies’ global marketing teams, a virtual community of best practice sharing emerged naturally, pretty much overnight. This facilitated rapid learning-by-doing, which in turn meant planning-to-execution timelines for large, global events have been drastically reduced from an average of seven to ten months down to a mere ten weeks!
It has been inspiring to see how the entire team stepped up to the challenge and I’m proud to say that we’re all now comfortable in thinking digital first!
How has necessity driven innovation at your company? We’d love to hear from you – contact us here and do stay in touch.
- If you are interested in Edge, 5G, Dell Technologies products for OEM customers and industries such as Healthcare, Telecom and Industrial Automation, register now for our upcoming Solutions Summit – Virtual by Design
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