CategoryA09. Best use or integration of digital or social media
Contributing Company 2 CBS INTERACTIVE Sydney, AUSTRALIA

The Campaign

The current Branded Entertainment situation in Australia was not of material concern to the design of this campaign, as we sought to deliver professional-level B2B content in a formal educational experience predominately through an online channel.


The Challenge: Tech pros in the B2B world know and love IBM. But these ‘pure geeks’ are no longer getting promoted to the boardroom, where big-ticket IT decisions are made. Which means that multi-million dollar IT investment decisions are being increasingly made by people unfamiliar with IBM. Objective: Eschewing the obvious route of trying to influence the current crop of c-suite executives, IBM decided to play the long game. We set about creating a future generation of executive-level decision makers, equally well-versed in the fields of technology and business. The Strategy: Stop marketing, start educating. IBM decided to teach a class in how to become a CIO. The Execution: A partnership between IBM, CBS interactive and Charles Sturt University delivered an MBA-level course that helps Senior IT managers make the career leap from the server room to the boardroom. The curriculum was drawn from the University’s online MBA course and designed to augment the IT Managers’ technical knowledge with the management skills they need to pursue a leadership-level career. After the final assessment, the top 10% of students graduated to ‘masterclass’ where they spent 3 months in, one-on-one mentoring with the country’s leading CIOs, generating a long tail of editorial content.

The NextGen CIO course was launched entirely online with the publishing partner, CBS Interactive, using editorial coverage, on-site advertising and direct messages to the publisher’s audience of Senior IT Managers. As the applications for the course rolled in, potential applicants were assessed against a multi-disciplinary set of criteria, including their social media footprint.

The response to the NextGen CIO program was overwhelming - 300% more than we could handle - as IT managers clamored for a chance to move up the career ladder. As they progressed through the 5 modules and final written assessment, our audience spent over 700 hours literally studying our content and brand values. And as the editorial coverage of the course grew (interviews, profiles and commentary), so too did the secondary audience for the content, with over 9,000 visits to the NextGen CIO editorial hub on CBSi’s media properties. Although it’s fun to get re-tweets and it’s nice to be liked, you don’t build a B2B business by building a social fan-base – you do it by building the careers of the people who make buying decisions. As direct marketers used to be fond of saying: it doesn’t matter how many people you reach, as long as you reach the people who matter. At the time of writing, 70% of the NextGen CIO graduates had sought to continue the relationship directly with the brand - it’s what we call ‘Return On Future Leadership’.


Name Position
Nicole Kim Program Coordinator
Angus Macaskill Program Director
Curtis Tracey Media Planner
Yeeling Lee Media Planner
Jessica Friedman Account Coordinator
Simon Gawn Snr Account Manager
Carmen Mcauley Group Account Director
Roberta Macdonald Group Account Director
Fiona Seton Assoc Creative Director
Jennifer Smith Snr Account Manager
Laura Knight Account Director
Emily Kelley Digital Strategist
Nick Vildzius Account Director
Rowan Avis Media Director
Barrie Seppings Creative Director
Heidi Donnelly Advertising Manager
Carolyn Chan Advertising Manager