ISILON CASE STUDY A Nimble Strategy Scores Coverage For Back-To-Back Product Launches.
SummaryFast on the heels of one very successful product launch,scale-out storage leader Isilon had another new offeringto bring to the market. Timing for the new launch wouldbe dictated by a strategically aligned industry trade show,presenting the communications team with the opportunityto tell a timely story. But it would be a challenge to bringkey media and analyst influencers back to briefing tablejust weeks after an extensively covered product launch.Isilon and McBru carefully crafted and persistentlypitched a launch story that, despite prior coverage andthe noise from the trade show, resulted in 32 briefingsand 21 feature stories in trade and business publications.Research & PlanningIn highly competitive, crowded IT markets such asdata storage, innovative new products provide singular hybrid press tour – equal parts face-to-face road tour andopportunities to boost awareness and portray competitive phone-conference briefings – to earn maximum impactdifferentiation to buyers and influencers. The summer for what was the company’s most significant productof 2010 found Isilon ready to launch not one, but two announcement in more than a year. Hard-to-pleasesuch products. industry press covered the news well, with 18 positive articles from those briefed and a highly favorable responseIn June, McBru served in support of the launch of the from the analyst community.Isilon’s SmartPoolsTM automated data tiering platformfor scale-out storage. McBru developed and managed a 2
Immediately following the SmartPools announcement, anew launch plan was confirmed: go out and do it again,and do it bigger. With the addition of iSCSI functionality “ In short, Isilon now enables users to consolidate both file- and block-basedacross its product line, Isilon was poised to announce applications into one shared pool ofanother industry first among scale out storage providers virtualized storage. Now that makesby storing and managing both structured (or block-based) things a lot easier, doesn’t it? No moreand unstructured (file-based) data within a single file separate apps for separate workloads.system. To that point, the nine-year-old company had builtits business solely on file based data; the new functionalitywould position Isilon squarely within a highly desirable A storage engineer’s dream, no doubt. Chris Preimesberger, ” eWeektarget market for storage consolidation – a market largelydriven by the booming adoption of server virtualizationacross the enterprise.ExecutionIsilon and McBru targeted the announcement for to announce their own groundbreaking products andAugust 31, during the annual VMworld conference in make limelight-stealing acquisitions. Rather than pegSan Francisco. The timing would help ensure that the the success of the launch on breaking through the“Unified Storage Platform” announcement, as it would escalating noise level surrounding VMworld, the launchbe called, would be seen in its proper context as a boon would rely on a phone tour to begin three weeks priorto virtualization users. However, McBru advised that the to the conference, despite the fact that many of thelaunch team reach out to, and brief, industry press and influencers targeted for briefings had just been briefedanalysts well in advance of the conference. VMworld as part of the SmartPools tour.has grown to become one of IT’s biggest annual events,attracting leading press and analysts from around the To break through to influencers who might otherwiseworld and giving the industry’s biggest players a platform claim fatigue, McBru developed tightly focused launch 3
messages that made abundantly clear the unique value propositions, market positioning and newsworthiness of the Unified Storage Platform, and took those messages“ to high-value media and analysts with a campaign of Pushan Rinnen, research director at aggressive, proactive pitching. A deep team of experienced Gartner, agrees that this gives Isilon a Isilon spokespersons was recruited, giving McBru the right leg up on the competition. The most mix of executive vision, technical depth and sales channel significant aspect of this announcement expertise to deploy for each briefing depending on the is that Isilon will be the first major influencer. For each briefing, a McBru representative scale-out storage architecture vendor facilitated the proceedings, both to help ensure a focused to offer file and block support with dialogue and to capture any coverage opportunities that iSCSI, so it will bring to the market the might emerge. Press and analysts agreed to receive launch ease of use of scale-out NAS into the materials under embargo until the August 31 launch block storage arena, she says. ‘The key date, allowing McBru to direct the bulk of coverage to thing is the simplicity of Isilon storage land within the VMworld timeframe while giving writers systems can now be applied to the ” ample time to develop and source stories before finding block side of the world.’ themselves caught up in the VMworld time crunch. Steve Wexler, Network Computing Results In managing and executing the Isilon Unified Storage Platform launch, McBru recorded qualitative and quantifiable results to rival any announcement in Isilon’s history. The tour generated 32 briefings with top media from general IT and business publications to storage and vertical outlets, as well as industry analysts ranging from IT heavyweights such as Gartner, Forrester and IDC to 4
influential boutique firms specializing in storage. The toneof the briefings was extremely favorable, as well-targetedspokespersons built affinity with influencers, fomenting “ Isilon customer John Welter, vice president of technology at Calgary,more engaged and productive briefings and ultimately, Alberta-based North West Geomaticsimpacting the tone of media coverage. Ltd., was an early adopter of the vendor’s iSCSI and said he’s using itTwenty-one feature stories covered the launch news, to consolidate onto a single storagewith top properties such as Network Computing, eWeek, platform. He had been running a DellSearchStorage and CRN among those who wrote, with the MD3000 direct-attached storage (DAS)bulk of the coverage landing during the VMworld timeframe.Message penetration rated extremely high as the majorityof writers captured the virtualization and consolidation Dave Raffo ” system for block storage. SearchStorage.comcontexts of the announcement in their stories, and the toneof the coverage was uniformly positive. Most importantly,the success of the Unified Storage Platform launch addedconsiderable momentum to what had become a breakoutyear for the company, supporting its solid growth curve ina highly competitive, extremely noisy marketplace. 5
Elise F. Burke Director of Marketing and Sales direct: 503.546.1017 mobile: 503.459.7545 firstname.lastname@example.org www.mcbru.comLET’S START SOMETHING. email@example.com www.mcbru.com www.mcbrublog.com @mcbru McClenahan-Bruer McClenahan-Bruer McBru McClenahanBruer McBru McClenahanBruer