Enterprise Marketing and Customer Data
Marketing Content Strategy

Enterprise Marketing: How Vivint and IBM Security Tell Great Stories with Data

7 Minute Read
A collar, leash, food, and a set of dishes. These are the only items I thought I needed as I prepared for Oliver, a three-month-old Havanese puppy’s arrival.

If you’re a dog owner, you’re probably laughing. What about the treats, brushes, combs, shampoo, flea/tick prevention, heart protection, dental care, harness, waste bags, and toys? Sure, some of this dawned on me, but thankfully Amazon helped me figure out the rest.

How? In short, through customer data.

Amazon does a great job enhancing my shopping experience by making my life a little easier—one of the main reasons for the company’s massive success.

  • Recommendations: Presented as “Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought” or “Frequently Bought Together.” While I figured out I needed pet shampoo, this recommendation helped me realize that I needed to also purchase a brush or comb.
  • Personalization: Presented as “Related to Items You’ve Viewed” or “Top Picks for You.” Since I had purchased several dog-specific items recently, this recommended a much easier to use extendable leash that I didn’t know anything about.
  • Reviews: Presented as Customer Questions & Answers.” Thankfully, after reading several other people’s reviews of a particular pet bed that I was about to purchase, I saved myself the trouble of a return and chose a different product.

Is customer data only used in e-commerce? Absolutely not. Just this week I had an opportunity to participate in a webinar where I co-presented with a consultant from HourlyNerd, a global online marketplace that connects companies with independent business consultants for project-based work. The webinar was focused on enterprise marketing use of customer data to help teams stay lean and develop customer-centric strategies.

During the webinar, I walked through how Vivint and IBM Security (both Skyword clients) successfully use customer data in their enterprise marketing.

1. Vivint

Vivint is a leading smart home technology provider that offers home security, energy management, home automation, local cloud storage, and high-speed Internet solutions to more than one million customers throughout the US and Canada. In many ways, Vivint is at the forefront of the Internet of Things, helping homeowners protect their most valuable assets, cut energy and waste costs, and make their overall living experience more connected and efficient.

Because of this drive, Vivint’s marketing reaches people across all stages of homeownership, from young professionals purchasing their first place to growing families and empty nesters who are upgrading to new neighborhoods or permanent residencies. In all cases, Vivint’s target audience are tech-obsessed buyers.

Screenshot of Vivint

Unfortunately for Vivint, offering homeownership advice and design tips isn’t anything new. Vivint runs up against a lot of other brands with competitive or complementary messaging. In order to breakthrough all the noise, the brand recognized the need to connect the data it was pulling in through its home-connected solutions to its global marketing strategy.

One interesting case study and example of how Vivint goes about this is with its smart home sensors. Every Vivint smart home features a number of sensors that sends millions of data events back to the Vivint Sky Platform. The data is used to recognize patterns in customers’ lives. Let’s look at an example.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday season, Vivint discovered:

  • 13 percent of customers left the home for at least one day.
  • 30 percent of customers hosted Thanksgiving dinner.
  • People vacationed longer in 2015 than in the previous year.

All this data provides marketers with a clearer picture into the lives of their audience. Vivint knows when its cohort customer base comes home from work, when they go to bed, when they leave for work, what smart home devices get used the most and least. This information shapes everything in the company’s roadmap, from how Vivint designs its application to how it engages with its audience.

More, it helps Vivint educate its customers how best to take care of their homes. For example, the company sends customers mobile push notifications to remind them to adjust their thermostats and secure their homes if they have not done so before leaving work.

Imagine: You’re in a rush to make it out of the house on time, you grab your stuff and jump into your car, forgetting to lock up, only to receive a friendly reminder to take a second to secure your home. It’s the type of trust-building activity that makes a Vivint customer one for life. Because of this type of data analysis, Vivint saw 45 percent of its customers saving energy while leaving the house because of its push notification system.

When it comes to its content marketing strategy, Vivint is looking for new, unique ways to use its volume of data to tell amazing stories through its digital publication, The Neighborhood. The Neighborhood is focused on providing simple and smart ideas for the homeowner and aims to help them address all challenges surrounding the home. This is the company’s next step toward data-driven marketing, and it will further help the brand establish itself as a leader in smart home technology.

2. IBM Security

IBM Security is a division of IBM that offers a deep enterprise security portfolio that’s customized to a client’s needs. Their solutions help clients detect and prevent security threats, deploy infrastructure innovations, and reduce the cost and complexity of IT security.

IBM is a legacy brand that’s rooted in tradition–the sheer volume of people and processes can make it difficult to pivot or adopt new practices. Yet IBM Security has transformed the way that it collects, analyzes, and executes on all the data points coming into the company at one time. It’s award-winning digital publication, SecurityIntelligence.com is a best-in-class example of how the brand has transformed into a storyteller, focused on reaching and educating an executive and enterprise IT security audience so that they might better navigate their field and grow their careers.

Screenshot of IBM Security Intelligence website

Let’s look at how IBM Security uses data.

IBM Security launched a newsroom concept that’s unique to the organization. The newsroom has input coming from departments across the business. It collects data and information shared from social media, analyst relations, PR and communications, sales, products and research, and of course its publication, SecurityIntelligence.com

All of these teams are sharing data with each other to create a unified front that promotes cross-promotion of initiatives and information that would otherwise not be known or available. This coordinated approach allows a division of an enterprise organization to operate efficiently and in unison.

The newsroom itself is a bi-weekly review with multiple departments to ensure all programs are aligned and integrated. There is a point person who is in charge of collecting and managing all of this data, and then advising departments on how best to leverage and disseminate the information across the organization and to the public.

IBM Security uses the newsroom approach to align its content strategy to the big ideas and campaigns being run within the organization.

How has this changed the way IBM Security markets?

The newsroom helps the company produce both planned and spontaneous content. It allows a big division of IBM to operate like a traditional newsroom, with the ability to break security and IT news, as well as deliver in-depth, well-researched analysis on bigger trends in the marketplace. Without this data collection, review, and alignment, IBM Security’s many departments would be operating as silos, wasting resources or duplicating efforts, and not reaping the full marketing benefits of the volume of data being collected from its customers.

Whether it’s advice for keeping your network safe and secure, connected devices for your home, or products for Oliver the puppy, one thing is clear: Customers want personalized experiences. But, personalization needs to walk a fine line so that you don’t leave your current or prospective customers feeling like their privacy has been compromised or that they’re being watched. When you’re using data to improve your content strategy, cohort information is your biggest ally. Cohort could be B2B, B2C, hospitality, technology, etc. As a managing editor, you can’t afford to think one-to-one all the time; you need to have the best interest of your whole audience in mind. Using cohort data to guide editorial strategy can make your audience feel like you’re answering their questions before they even have to ask.

Check out the webinar slides below, and if you want to learn more about using customer data in enterprise marketing to tell great stories, subscribe to the Content Standard Newsletter.


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Andrew C. Wheeler is Vice President, Strategic Services for Skyword. He brings more than 11 years of experience in digital marketing and agency relations. Andrew is responsible for ensuring excellence in every aspect of the customer relationship. He leads the Strategic Services team in their development and execution of content marketing programs for all Skyword clients.

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