Posted by Rick Jackson
Chief Marketing Officer
When a company grows as rapidly as VMware has, you know there is real value being delivered to customers. One of the challenges we faced at VMware was how best to articulate our core value proposition, when there were just so many great things to talk about. This was a classic exercise in defining the Point That Matters, the core reason why your customers buy from you. (The Point That Matters is a phrase I borrow from Zoom Marketing, our trusted partner during this process.)
This exercise was a combination of examining our own internal view of our value proposition, compared to an external view shared by our customers, partners, and industry analysts, all of which were quite familiar with VMware and its solutions. Through this exercise, we heard some not so surprising things, but with a few twists that really made us think about our positioning.
For example, most people immediately think of cost savings as the primary benefit of virtualization. While cost savings is definitely a factor in driving organizations to initiate a virtualization journey, it was not the pinnacle of value that was obtained. In fact, those customers that had pursued more aggressive virtualization adoption were most excited by the achievement of flexibility within their IT environments, leading to significantly reduced management time, and dramatic improvements in their responsiveness to business. In short, they were achieving IT agility, and in turn helping fuel business agility.
When asked to rank statements related to our value proposition, both customers and prospects believed that the core value proposition was around the duality of achieving a dynamic, and flexible IT environment, while at the same time reducing costs. This was something they believed to be unique to VMware. Most importantly, they believed that this was the correct order as well – flexibility over cost savings. Frankly, we knew this was a benefit, but have traditionally always led with our cost savings message.
The other important thing we heard is how achieving flexibility and agility within IT really does put IT in a position to better serve the business – to respond to change and opportunity that can fuel growth. In essence, they were better positioned to be a strategic partner to the business.
The problem now was how to articulate a core set of messages around this point that matters, that doesn’t sound like every other IT vendor. Take a quick browse around some websites, and you’ll find a common theme – everyone seems to promise dynamic, flexible, adaptive, on-demand, solutions for IT. Hmmm.
One of the things that stood out to Zoom Marketing during this process was how energetic VMware’s employees, customers and partners were. During interviews that should typically last 30 minutes, our ecosystem wanted to keep on talking, typically an hour or more. There was true excitement about the value they were seeing, and in the promise of VMware’s vision for bridging existing IT environments into the era of cloud computing. This gave us an idea, a way to encapsulate the value proposition of our solutions, with the value that an agile IT environment provides to the business:
Energize the business through IT, while saving energy – financial, human and the earth’s.
The whole point of IT is to fuel the business. So the whole point of achieving a more dynamic and flexible IT infrastructure is to be more adept at fueling that business, or as we like to say, energizing the business. But the duality of our core value proposition cannot be ignored. Our customers talk about real savings, in 3 categories:
Optimizing Financial Energy – doing more with less. Significant capex savings. Greater efficiencies in server, storage and networking. Saving financial resources to apply to the needs of the business.
Shifting Human Energy – shift from serving hardware, to serving the business. Dramatic reduction in manual tasks, and management time. Simplified operations, supplemented with automation.
Saving Earth’s Energy – using less, and using it more wisely. Doing their part to reduce energy consumption and their respective carbon footprint.
The words are ours, the sentiment belongs to our customers. What a great opportunity to learn from them, and be in a position to echo their sentiment.