Lotus community bloggers Tom Duff and Gregg Eldred have gotten together and started a blog on a topic that is at the core of what the community stands for -- the notion of helping to promote the product by which we all make our living.  Check it out at www.lotusviralmarketing.com.

From their kickoff entry:

We've all heard (and lived) the story a million times...  Boss comes in, had a sales pitch from Microsoft, and wants to dump Notes.  Or that techie geek sitting next to you throws out the classic line "I heard Notes is dead, and that there won't be another release past vWhateverTheLatestOrNextVersionIs."  Or the user who wants a quick departmental web site and says to you "but we can't use Notes because it has to be web-based."  What's your response?  

Like it or not, we *all* are marketers in our jobs.  We're all selling, whether it's ourselves, our solution, or our platform.  And your skills in "selling" Notes and Domino in your workplace will have a significant effect on how it's perceived and accepted.
For the last several years, I've done a Lotusphere presentation on the topic of selling Notes inside your organization.  I often get asked, "isn't marketing Notes what IBM is supposed to do?" which is often followed by a rant on why/how IBM should market the product better.  As such, my copresenter has always been someone from outside IBM, specifically to lend an external voice of credibility to the notion that it even needs to be done at all.  

What I like about the approach that Tom and Gregg have outlined is that they are taking the attitude of being on offense and showing strength, rather than the somewhat defensive posture many of us have taken in this arena in the past.

So I have a couple of examples that could make the pages of this new blog, one not-so-good and one good.

Some of the early comments on this blog and other recent comments in the blogosphere have asked, well, why isn't IBM doing more to recognize the community and promote Notes successes.  My answer is, well, IBM does a lot more than you think, but OK, there's more that could be done.  However, promoting successes often means having a customer offer a success story or reference.  I've asked thrice on this blog for anyone who might be interested in being a press reference when Notes/Domino 8 ship...and the only offers have been from business partners and consultants.  I need a customer, someone in a corporate or government environment, who can be quoted publicly or interviewed by a reporter.  For whatever reason, this has been hard to come by.  I'm using other channels than this blog -- direct e-mails to key customer contacts, IBM's references program, the managed beta program...none of which seem to be netting a prospect.  Now I know that tens-of-thousands have downloaded the ND8 betas...but short of a generic form e-mail to all downloaders, I am not sure what the secret recipe is to find those launch references.  This is a case where IBM wants to help promote the success of the product, and we know from beta feedback that this release is wowing a lot of people...but we just can't seem to get those comments "on the record".  Can you help?

One of you has indeed helped on this front already.  Jack Dausman, who recently moved to one of those corporate customers, has been passionate about Notes 8, especially Notes 8 on Linux.  A few days ago, he commented on a blog he reads about Notes 8 running on Ubuntu being a best-in-class alternative to Microsoft Exchange/Outlook.  The blog's author didn't know a lot about Notes 8, and offered to let Jack have a voice on his own site.  Jack didn't site idly by...he wrote "IBM Lotus Notes 8 is a Linux Killer Application", an excellent and succinct analysis of what makes Notes 8 great.   He got Notes 8 some visibility in a Microsoft-oriented blog , and the comments (so far, at least) have been very favorable.  Thank you, Jack, for your effort.

I think Tom and Gregg are adding a valuable focus to an area that gets attention in peaks and spurts.  I hope that you all will contribute as well.

Link: Lotusviralmarketing.com >

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