The Anti-Valentine: CommVault Mocks Veeam's Marketing Slogan In Bid To Lure Away Its Customers

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Data protection software vendor CommVault took aim at rival Veeam in a recent online promotion, but channel partners aren't sure its message will be effective.

In its promotion, CommVault pitches its offering as "Best in class VM (virtual machine) backup and recovery. It just works just doesn't cut it any more."

The phrase "it just works," which was highlighted in green, is a take on the "VEEAM IT JUST WORKS!" slogan, which Veeam trademarked last year. Green is also the primary color Veeam uses in its marketing materials.

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The promotion was brought to CRN's attention by solution provider partners of the two vendors.

Doug Hazelman, vice president of product strategy at Veeam, told CRN in an interview Friday that his company is flattered by Commvault's promotion but doesn't think it will have the desired effect.

"I wonder, if someone didn't know Veeam or our tagline before, how well it might work," Hazelman told CRN. "The interesting thing is, we didn't come up with the tagline ourselves. It's something we've heard from customers and partners for years."

Hazelman said the tagline is similar to a common phrase in the U.K., "It does what it says on the tin." That phrase refers to the fact that something works as promised.

"Customers can download and install Veeam in an hour, and it just works," he said. "Usually with data protection software, there's a lot of complexity. People are surprised they can get a key to the license, download it, and it just works."

In a separate interview, Chris Powell, chief marketing officer at CommVault, admitted that the promotion was aimed at Veeam.

He said the phrase "it just works" is actually not a good one for a vendor like Veeam to use as a tagline because it could be misinterpreted by customers.

"For customers, data is the most important part of their business. Data protection, does it just work? Is it good enough? We're talking about a strategic asset here," Powell said.

However, Hazelman said Veeam is not actually suggesting that its product is "just good enough" to meet customers' needs.

"No one has ever said, 'Oh, it just works?'" he said. "The only ones who have said that maybe are CommVault in their ad campaign."

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Powell said Veeam has done a good job of getting its tagline known in the market. "Partners will recognize it," he said. "We're trying to get across to customers and partners that they should be working with someone who is trusted, and who has support capabilities to work with customers of all sizes."

Hazelman cited a fourth quarter 2014 survey from Piper Jaffray in which CommVault partners indicated that Veeam is the competitor they lose to most frequently.

"In response, CommVault is offering a 30-day evaluation, something they never offered before," he said. "CommVault is also offering new pricing. But Piper Jaffray said the new pricing has little impact."

Hazelman also said Veeam is looking to focus its marketing less on backup and more on availability, with features like the ability to do quick recovery of data for all workloads.

Jason Silva, principal at Revel Technology, a Houston-based solution provider and Veeam channel partner, told CRN he doesn't think the CommVault promotion will be effective.

"Here's a competitor using a competing tagline in its advertisement," Silva told CRN. "That shows how Veeam is doing in the market. It's hard to see this as being effective. If I were in marketing, I don't think I'd use a competitor's tagline in my marketing."

Joe Kadlec, vice president and senior partner at Consiliant Technologies, an Irvine, Calif.-based solution provider that partners with both vendors, said he is not surprised to see CommVault offering a trial of its software.

Veeam has done a good job of building a data protection business in the virtualized world, Kadlec said.

"People who install Veeam love it," he said. "My thought is, CommVault is trying to stop the bleeding. CommVault is a very good backup software company, and is taking an aggressive approach to getting attention. The promotion is very creative."

While larger customers like the functionality of CommVault, customers in the SMB market typically don't have a CommVault specialist, a storage specialist, and a networking specialist in their staff, Kadlec said.

"They have someone doing it all," he said. "Having something as easy as Veeam is important. Lots of companies are looking for ways to make it possible to manage as much as possible from a single pane of glass."