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CRN Interview: Jim Jackson On HPE's Digital-Marketing-First Offensive

HPE Chief Marketing Officer Jim Jackson spoke with CRN about the company's digital-marketing-first offensive and how it is helping partners drive sales growth.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise Chief Marketing Officer Jim Jackson, a 27-year IT veteran who was promoted to the top marketing job effective June 1, spoke with CRN about the company's digital-marketing-first offensive and how it is helping partners drive sales growth.

What is the message to partners on the digital-marketing-first offensive?

If you look back over the last couple of years, we have been on a multiyear journey to build out a modern digital marketing engine that is focused on data at its core. We have been able to map all of our content to the new customer journey. That is happening online whether it is websites, communities, social, etc. In today's world, it is really all about showing up in the right place with the right content at the right time. We have learned a lot. We have made a lot of great progress, and now we are packaging this to help our partners go on their digital journey.

How has the customer-first focus shaped the digital-marketing-first offensive?

We have done a lot of analysis to look at how our customers' buying needs have changed in a digital-first world. Eighty-six percent of B2B buyers today start their journey on the internet. The average B2B buyer downloads roughly 10 percent of content on their way to a purchase. When you think about it, the digital-first world is redefining how we generate demand for our products and services and really is in service to our partners. By understanding our customers' needs, we have been able to focus on an audience-first marketing approach. We begin with the buyer's journey and then we use data to map the steps with regard to how customers prefer to engage with us online. This enables us to get to know them better and hopefully turn that into a lead and a potential customer.

How is HPE.com being leveraged?

HPE.com is absolutely critical to the digital customer experience that we can deliver. Beyond just providing great content and thought leadership, we are completely rearchitecting the web experience to make sure that it is really a series of personalized customer engagement points for our customers. These customer relationships then enable us to foster loyalty via our digital programs. For our partners, the continuous improvement of HPE.com really provides that consistent global experience for our customers to browse, shop and interact with our products and services.

Can you tell us more about HPE's digital marketing-first partner commitment?

A big part of our business goes through our partners, so enabling them and providing the tools, processes and the materials to scale their digital marketing journey is absolutely a top priority for us. We are providing a lot of things to our partners today: guidance packs and digital marketing tools that offer tips for our partners to implement their version of our advertising online—no matter the size of their various media budgets. The other thing is our partners can easily download and co-brand our content to use in advertising.

Can you talk about the digital marketing partner advisory board and its impact?

The board has been invaluable as a forum to share learning and best practices, and we get some great ideas. That has enabled us to look at our programs and accelerate in multiple areas, whether it is social or some of the other areas. They give us a lot of good feedback on our programs and where we can continue to optimize and scale. We then take that into our digital programs and make them better and better for the partners and for the channel going forward.

How do you feel about the digital marketing charge heading into Discover?

We are doing a lot to build out our digital marketing program. I am pleased with the momentum so far and am really looking forward to continuing to scale and engage with our partners to help them as they go on their digital journey.

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