Beach Walk 291 – Cool Deserted Wonderland

CDW – Cool deserted wonderland and an interview with Bruce Delahorne, Senior Manager, National Advertising for CDW on the beach today.

We arrived at the beach to paddle this morning and there was a film crew already setting up to shoot an advertisement for IT products and services company, CDW. (They’ve just earned top rankings as an IT vendor from eWeek and CIO Insight.)

As you know I love having guests on the show, so after paddling I was able to meet Bruce and talk with him. He’s a very nice guy, articulate, and I loved hearing about their approach to selling to IT people: that IT is only one part of who they are, that even IT folks have diverse interests and stresses.

Watch today’s show to get a sneak peak of the transformation of Lanikai Beach and the coming attractions for CDW, then hop on over to their site if you are looking for any geek gifts for the holidays.

Hawaiian words
Lani: heaven, heavenly
Kai: sea
Mehameha: loneliness
Hele hoʻokahi: to go alone
Kilohana: Name of the outside, decorated sheet of tapa in the kuʻinakapa, bed coverings. Hence extended meanings: best, superior, excellent.

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  1. I think one of the fundamental marketing mistakes, going on currently, is that companies (like CDW and many others) are trying to fit their brand inside of “a vertical” or “verticals” – which typically fit their “target market”. And you could call them successful, based purely on numbers – but imagine if they were to take an entire marketing budget and specifically target those out of their “target market”.

    Case in point – those that buy from CDW are typically small, medium, and large companies that buy things in bulk (10, 20 PCs at a time) and really enjoy CDWs customer service. However, they are missing a massive market of individual sales (IMO). Reason? Price.

    They are targeting IT people, or geek people, with their advertisements (and more importantly the actual placement of those ads) rather than actually trying to expand their target markets into – well people that watch Beach Walks.

    Sorry this is so long, but I want to wrap this up. IT professionals working for COMPANY A care a lot about customer service and very little about price (they aren’t spending their money they are spending company money). Geeks and individuals care about 1 thing only – price. I love tech gadgets but I would never be able to afford them all if I didn’t shop around for the best price. However there is this whole other target market emerging now (and Beach Walks is a great example of this) where people may buy something from a company (or consider them a viable resource for when they do need something) if they do some neat things like “sponsoring a video cast”. I think it will be really neat to see what would happen if CDW sponsored Beach Walks for a few months just to see what the reactions from “the audience” would be. For me, I’d immediately think that CDW’s marketing team “got it”.

    Oh, a great example of this is Seagate. Seagate sponsors Podtech (their video casts) specifically because they know they can help with a big problem – storage. This is an absolutely genius move on their part and I hope to see other companies looking for ways they can “help” content producers and publishers do a better job at publishing content – all while doing a heck of a marketing job for their products and services.

  2. Sorry for the rant without saying that I thought this was a great episode, and I respect your gumption to get Bruce on Beach Walks.

  3. I didn’t consider it a rant. 🙂 I have three points though.

    One, CDW (like all the rest of us) can choose to whom it wants to market its products and services.

    Two, if CDW wanted to explore reaching out, then why couldn’t we organize ourselves around, say the 9Rules Network? And negotiate quantity discounts, and have a dedicated sales rep, etc? MacConnection used to do this with our New Mexico Internet Professionals Assoc, and we lost our rep as his increase in sales pushed him up the ladder. He credited our telling new members about the arrangement with providing him great customer inflow.

    Three, we recently bought a bunch of Seagate drives at CompUsa (to archive those huge Beach Walks files!) and I’m sure I was positively influenced by their talking to us via sponsorship. The drives cost about $10 bucks more, but we both thought that was a good decision weighing all the factors. Normally, we would have just gone for the cheaper one.

    It used to be too much trouble for large companies to deal with us small players. The internet changes all that. One of these days they might realize that we also bring benefits that the inside IT guy can’t.

  4. Awesome comment, Colin, and spot on!

    Bruce was very cool and open to the whole Beach Walks experience.

    In terms of the buying power of the individual, I have a true story. Back in ’97 I started buying all our equipment from MacConnection and opened a corporate account so we could have a single point of contact there. Our own dedicated account rep.

    This was New Mexico and there weren’t a lot of places to buy computer at that time. I, along with several other people had formed and were building the NMIPA (New Mexico Internet Professionals Association. During the monthly meetings and in between via email people were always asking where we were getting out equipment and so I turned them on to MacConnection and PCConnection.

    I got the idea and approached our Acct Rep to see if we could create some kind of “network” for which all NMIPA members would receive the same discounts that I was receiving after having purchased so much equipment. He loved the idea and we presented it to the group at the next meeting. Everyone freaked! Our Rep’s sales more than doubled in the next month and he freaked! As the program continued he would tell me from time to time that in some months, if it wasn’t for the NMIPA network he wouldn’t have made is base quota sale. That was in 1999-2000 during the dot com crash that really didn’t affect New Mexico until much later.

    I got a very sad call one day from our Rep. He couldn’t work with us any longer and was giving me the information for the new guy that was taking his place…He was getting kicked upstairs to management! Seems that when other Reps had been suffering and quiting during the years of the dot com crash, he was still doing well and it caught the eye of management. He told them about our little network and they promoted him out of front line sales and into Sales Management so he could develop similar programs with the other sales reps.

    In a letter to me and the entire NMIPA network he thanked us and credited the network for not only allowing him to keep working at MacConnection through the crash but for the promotion to management.

    That’s just a little story about the power of the Network and is right in line with what Colin is talking about above. Some companies get it intuitively and dive in. Others follow when the water has been tested and is deemed safe.

  5. LOL. Rox is in her office and me in mine, leaving comments at the same time.

    Great minds think alike.


  6. See what I mean about the random event status of this episode!

  7. And it looks like my first “random event” comment didn’t make its way through the maze. Oh well. Aloha for now. B

  8. Great show! I am a IT Buyer and tech for a firm that purchases from CDW. I believe that CDW offers the best customer service in the business. Price is a factor, although a fast, helpful and revelant response to the business need is most important.

    I am happy to see CDW on BeachWalks.

    Bruce is right: IT people are isolated, need more resources and advice, and often have to quickly make decisions that have far-reaching effects. Plus, we are time-starved. What I appreciate about working with CDW is their quick response and an understanding of urgency in the IT business.

    Let’s have a contest! I think it would be great if CDW sponsored Beachwalks and supported the diversity of small and medium businesses.

  9. Rox & Secret Cameraman: Thanks for the response. As far as putting together a network of promotions, based on customer service and the comfort of having a point of contact, is a great idea.

    I’m chewing on this a little – and I’ll get back to you. I think I have an idea.