How IBM generated leads with Built with IBM Campaign

Build with IBM Case Study

The “Built with IBM” campaign is a cornerstone of IBM’s modern marketing strategy, designed to showcase the versatility and power of IBM’s technology solutions. Launched in 2016, the campaign aimed to reposition IBM as a leader in cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and data analytics, moving beyond its legacy as a traditional hardware and software company. The initiative sought to highlight how IBM’s advanced technologies could solve real-world problems across various industries, demonstrating practical applications and the tangible benefits of their solutions.

How IBM generated leads with Built with IBM Campaign​

Objectives of the Campaign

The primary objectives of the “Built with IBM” campaign were:

  1. Rebranding IBM’s Image: Transition the public perception of IBM from a legacy IT company to a modern tech innovator.
  2. Showcase Technological Expertise: Highlight IBM’s leadership in AI, cloud computing, and data analytics.
  3. Drive Customer Engagement: Increase interaction and engagement with potential customers through compelling storytelling and practical examples.
  4. Generate Leads and Sales: Convert increased interest and engagement into tangible sales and long-term partnerships.

2. Market Analysis

Industry Overview

The technology industry is highly dynamic, with rapid advancements and fierce competition. Key sectors relevant to IBM’s “Built with IBM” campaign include cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and data analytics.

Cloud Computing

The cloud computing market has experienced exponential growth, driven by businesses seeking scalable and cost-effective solutions for data storage, processing, and software delivery. Major players include Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP), with IBM Cloud also vying for market share.

Artificial Intelligence

AI has become a transformative technology across industries, from healthcare and finance to retail and manufacturing. IBM’s Watson AI platform has been a key player, known for its advanced cognitive computing capabilities.

Data Analytics

Data analytics is critical for businesses to derive insights from large volumes of data. IBM offers robust analytics solutions that integrate AI and machine learning, enabling companies to make data-driven decisions.

Competitive Landscape

IBM faces competition from several technology giants. Understanding this competitive landscape is crucial for assessing the positioning and effectiveness of the “Built with IBM” campaign.

Key Competitors

  1. Amazon Web Services (AWS): Dominates the cloud market with a comprehensive suite of services.
  2. Microsoft Azure: Strong in cloud computing and enterprise solutions.
  3. Google Cloud Platform (GCP): Known for its data analytics and AI capabilities.
  4. Oracle: Competes in cloud infrastructure and enterprise software.
  5. Salesforce: Strong in customer relationship management (CRM) and cloud solutions.

Target Audience

The “Built with IBM” campaign targeted a diverse audience, including:

  1. Enterprise Decision-Makers: CIOs, CTOs, and IT managers seeking advanced technological solutions.
  2. Developers and IT Professionals: Individuals looking for robust platforms to build and deploy applications.
  3. Industry-Specific Stakeholders: Sectors such as healthcare, finance, retail, and manufacturing where IBM’s technology could solve specific challenges.
  4. Tech Enthusiasts and Influencers: Key opinion leaders and technology advocates who could amplify IBM’s message.

3. Strategic Planning

Campaign Strategy

The “Built with IBM” campaign was underpinned by several strategic pillars designed to achieve its objectives.


Central to the campaign was storytelling, with IBM using real-world examples and case studies to demonstrate the practical applications of their technology. This approach made the technology relatable and showcased its potential impact.

Multi-Channel Approach

IBM leveraged a multi-channel strategy to reach its diverse audience. This included digital platforms, social media, traditional media, and industry events. Each channel was tailored to engage specific segments of the target audience effectively.

Thought Leadership

Positioning IBM as a thought leader in AI, cloud computing, and data analytics was crucial. The campaign included whitepapers, webinars, and expert insights to establish credibility and authority in these fields.

Partnership and Collaboration

IBM collaborated with various partners, including businesses that had successfully implemented their technology, as well as influencers and industry leaders who could advocate for IBM’s solutions.

Creative Development

The creative development process focused on integrating IBM’s brand message with compelling visuals and narratives.

Visual Identity

The campaign’s visual identity was modern and dynamic, reflecting IBM’s forward-thinking approach. It utilized clean lines, bold colors, and engaging graphics to attract attention and convey a sense of innovation.


The messaging was clear and concise, emphasizing the practical benefits of IBM’s technology. Taglines such as “Built with IBM” and “Think” were used to reinforce the campaign’s themes of innovation and problem-solving.

4. Implementation

Media Channels Utilized

Digital Platforms

IBM used its website, blogs, and dedicated microsites to host detailed case studies, whitepapers, and interactive content. These platforms were integral for providing in-depth information and capturing leads.

Social Media

Social media channels, including LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook, were used to share success stories, promote webinars, and engage with the tech community. IBM also utilized YouTube for video content, showcasing case studies and expert interviews.

Traditional Media

Print and television ads were strategically placed in industry-specific publications and channels to reach enterprise decision-makers. These ads highlighted the transformative impact of IBM’s technology solutions.

Industry Events

IBM participated in and hosted industry events and conferences, such as IBM Think, to demonstrate their technology live, engage with potential customers, and foster networking opportunities.

Key Campaign Phases

Launch Phase

The campaign launch involved a high-impact introduction through a combination of digital and traditional media. Key messages and visuals were unveiled, generating buzz and interest.

Engagement Phase

Following the launch, the focus shifted to engaging the audience through interactive content, webinars, and social media discussions. Case studies and success stories were prominently featured to illustrate real-world applications.

Conversion Phase

The final phase aimed at converting interest into leads and sales. This involved targeted campaigns, personalized follow-ups, and offering trials or demos of IBM’s solutions.

Partnership and Collaborations

IBM collaborated with various partners to enhance the credibility and reach of the campaign.

Business Partners

Companies that had successfully implemented IBM’s technology were featured in the campaign. These partnerships provided authentic testimonials and detailed use cases.

Influencers and Thought Leaders

IBM engaged with industry influencers and thought leaders to amplify their message. These individuals shared their insights on IBM’s technology, further validating its impact and potential.

5. Challenges and Solutions

Technological Challenges


One of the major challenges was integrating IBM’s solutions with existing systems used by potential clients. IBM addressed this by showcasing their expertise in seamless integration through case studies and providing comprehensive support.

Data Security

Data security concerns were prevalent among potential customers. IBM emphasized its robust security protocols and compliance with industry standards in their messaging to build trust.

Marketing Challenges


Rebranding IBM as a modern tech innovator from a legacy IT company required a significant shift in perception. Consistent messaging and high-profile success stories were key to overcoming this challenge.


Competing against established players like AWS and Microsoft Azure required differentiation. IBM highlighted unique features and real-world impact to stand out in the crowded market.

Solutions and Innovations

AI-Powered Marketing

IBM leveraged its own AI technology, Watson, to analyze campaign data and optimize marketing strategies in real time. This allowed for more personalized and effective engagement with the audience.

Interactive Content

Interactive content, such as virtual demos and AI-powered chatbots, were used to engage potential customers actively and provide personalized information.

6. Impact and Results

Quantitative Metrics

Increased Engagement

The campaign significantly increased engagement across digital platforms, with a notable rise in website traffic, social media interactions, and webinar participation.

Lead Generation

IBM reported a substantial increase in lead generation, with many leads converting into sales. The targeted approach and compelling case studies played a crucial role in this success.

Market Share

The campaign contributed to an increase in IBM’s market share in cloud computing and AI, positioning it as a competitive player in these sectors.

Qualitative Outcomes

Brand Perception

The campaign successfully repositioned IBM as a modern tech innovator. Surveys and feedback indicated a positive shift in how the brand was perceived by the target audience.

Customer Stories

Many customers shared their success stories, further validating the effectiveness of IBM’s solutions. These stories were crucial in building trust and demonstrating real-world impact.

Case Studies and Success Stories


In healthcare, IBM Watson’s AI capabilities were used to improve patient care and streamline operations. For example, a major hospital system implemented Watson to analyze patient data and predict potential health issues, leading to better preventative care.


In the finance sector, IBM’s data analytics solutions helped a leading bank to detect fraudulent activities and improve customer service through personalized financial advice.


A major retail chain used IBM’s cloud and AI solutions to optimize their supply chain and enhance customer experience, resulting in increased sales and customer satisfaction.

7. Lessons Learned

Best Practices

  1. Integrated Marketing: A multi-channel approach was crucial for reaching a diverse audience and ensuring consistent messaging.
  2. Real-World Applications: Showcasing practical applications and success stories made the technology relatable and demonstrated tangible benefits.
  3. Thought Leadership: Establishing IBM as a thought leader through expert insights and engaging content built credibility and trust.

Areas for Improvement

  1. Targeted Messaging: Further refinement in targeting specific industries and segments could enhance the campaign’s effectiveness.
  2. Customer Feedback: Incorporating more customer feedback in real time could help in adjusting strategies and improving engagement.

8. Future Directions

Next Steps for IBM

IBM plans to build on the success of the “Built with IBM” campaign by continuing to innovate and expand its offerings in AI, cloud computing, and data analytics. Future campaigns will likely focus on emerging technologies such as quantum computing and blockchain.

Trends and Predictions

  1. AI Integration: Increased integration of AI in marketing strategies to provide personalized and real-time engagement.
  2. Cloud Adoption: Continued growth in cloud adoption, with businesses seeking more scalable and flexible solutions.
  3. Data-Driven Decision Making: Enhanced focus on data analytics to drive business decisions and strategies.

9. Conclusion

Summary of Findings

The “Built with IBM” campaign successfully repositioned IBM as a modern tech innovator, showcasing its expertise in AI, cloud computing, and data analytics. The multi-channel strategy, compelling storytelling, and real-world applications were key to its success.

Final Thoughts

The campaign not only achieved its objectives but also set a benchmark for how technology companies can effectively leverage marketing to drive business growth and innovation. IBM’s commitment to solving real-world problems through advanced technology continues to resonate with its audience, positioning it for continued success in the rapidly evolving tech landscape.

This will close in 10 seconds