How Marketing Can Re-Brand IT from Villain to Hero with New Communication Strategies
If you want your IT organization to go from backroom gatekeeper to valued partner of your modern workers, you need to redefine your image and user relationship—not just your technology. You need to make marketing an essential element of how IT delivers digital transformation.
Over the past two years, Dell Digital (Dell’s IT organization) has shifted its focus from providing IT hygiene and break fixes to enabling the modern, mobile, collaborative tools and services to deliver a work environment that lets users to be connected and productive whenever and wherever they are.
But equally as important, we have succeeded in getting the users we serve to dramatically change their view of who we are from the folks who fix technical glitches, set restrictions and keep the lights on to transformation leaders who listen to their needs and give them a better way to do their jobs.
I’m convinced we wouldn’t have made that connection with our users without the help of our professional marketing team.
From targeted messaging, to a reshaped narrative to totally rebranding IT, Dell Digital’s decision to provide marketing resources for our IT transformation was and is vital to our relationship with our users.
Amateur Marketing Won’t Cut It
As I noted back in a blog in 2018, when I returned to Dell’s IT End User Computing operations earlier that year after a stint in another role, I found IT’s role had evolved to that of a strategic business partner, a driver of workforce transformation and a force to attract and retain talent.
As my organization, renamed Team Member Experience (TMX), got to work evolving that new role, we tried to communicate our efforts to users. We did PowerPoints. We did roadshows. We told ourselves we were doing communications and marketing. In fact, we were playing amateur-hour marketing.
The reality is that it wasn’t until we brought in Dell professional marketing experts and ingrained them within our program of work—into our operations cadences, that we began to change how we were perceived. That is when we really started to win and see the difference.
After all, IT professionals aren’t marketers. When we are behind the curtain doing a lot of work that takes time, IT doesn’t always communicate that fact. And when there is radio silence, it’s human nature for people to assume we aren’t doing anything. They conclude we are not empathetic, don’t understand or care about what they are struggling with.
The marketing team helped Dell Digital create a campaign to effectively tell people what we heard when we listened to them, and how we were addressing the things they told us about. We ran a pulse survey assessing whether the things we said and did lifted their view of IT. If it didn’t, we had to recalibrate what we were doing and how we were marketing. And if it did, it reinforced our actions and the messaging of how we listened.
We quickly came to understand that communication in this instance was really marketing, promoting, evangelizing, advocating for the transformation journey we were on. It was informing our team members about what we in IT were doing behind the curtain and finding ways for them to share their voice.
Our marketing team did this by helping us disseminate targeted messaging via email, digital signage, banners, and intranet content. We launched a series of how-to and user-evangelist YouTube-style videos, posted blogs, and created new ways to interact with users, including a web listening post to field their comments. We also held open-door sessions in highly-visible areas across our campuses to share information and answer questions.
We continue to iterate on our approach to keep it fresh, ensuring a multifaceted delivery.
We even rebranded IT as Dell Digital, promoted via a unified visual design. The campaign was internal and external, promoting our modern work environment to help attract and retain talent.
From Villain to Hero
In marketing terms, Dell Digital has gone from villain to hero over the past 18 months—a fact supported by the feedback from team members and business partners.
The IT sentiment score on our IT Pulse, our quarterly user experience survey, has climbed steadily. IT sentiment—which is ‘how do I value IT’—has gone from 57 to 73 in seven quarters. That’s not CSAT break fix rating but the voice of our end users saying, “I really like what IT is doing; I like the technologies they are giving me.”
In other rankings, our Tech Central walk-in services score 84, service desk 75, and mobile connectivity and email are in the high 70s, compared to 40s and 50s when we started.
Amateur-hour marketing and communications in IT may be okay if you want to tell someone you just gave them a new widget. But if you want to bring people on a transformational journey, you’ve got to have a much broader canvas. You’ve got to invest in professional marketing to get and stay connected to your modern workforce.
To what extent are you employing your marketing team to promote, evangelize and advocate your transformational journey to users?