Let’s face it. When you’re in the business of selling
technology that connects different types of corporate computer systems
together, things can get pretty dry
. And, predictably, most marketing messages
that come out of this space are pretty dry techspeak.

Vendors talk about
“interoperability within heterogeneous platform environments” and “connectivity
through messaging-oriented middleware.”

However, one company, Tibco, has attacked the positioning challenge with a different –-
and even humorous — approach to promote its leadership in this market
. The
vendor turned to new social media – in this case, YouTube –- to launch a series
of humorous videos that carry its message that technology need not be so
complicated and head spinning.

The vendor’s videos feature a Ken-like doll –- named “Greg
the Architect
” -– that has created quite a bit of buzz in its market.

Just recently, for example, BtoB Magazine cited the Tibco
“Greg the Architect” campaign with the BtoB Best Award for Best Online
Campaign
.

As the magazine’s judges put it: “After viewing much
well-meaning, essentially hollow advertising showing us our global village
photographed just so, it’s refreshing to see such low-cost, imperfect
creativity as the ‘Greg the Architect’ campaign where, at times, you can
literally see the hands behind it.”

Tibco manages to take subtle swipes at its competition in
the videos, and also parodies much of the so-called “FUD” (fear, uncertainty,
and doubt) that characterizes the enterprise software market. On YouTube, as of
this writing, the video has been viewed more than 52,000 times. The two
follow-up videos in the series have had a total of 26,000 views. For a
specialized audience such as SOA architects, those are numbers marketers would
be willing to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to reach through
conventional channels.

As BtoB puts it: “The videos are extremely entertaining—and
we don’t even know what service-oriented architecture is. We can only imagine
the response from the professionals.

The service-oriented architecture market is a very complex
market, with a lot of conflicting messages. Even the most technically astute
professionals often are befuddled by the murky and often-contradictory messages
they are being bombarded with by vendors.

Greg is a well-meaning character that wants to help his
company move into this next big phase in corporate computing. Viewers are
treated to the foibles of this IT employee torn between his desire to do the
right thing and a headstrong boss, annoying vendors, and clueless coworkers.
(Also played by dolls.)

 There are now three installments in the Greg series. In the
first, he is handed the mission of deciding on new SOA products, and has to
listen to pitches from three different vendors. Greg gets in some good zingers
of his own along the way. His response to a very techie pitch by one very
techie vendor team: “I wish I was as confident about SOA as these guys… and you
know, still get a date.”

Tibco gains additional advantages from the videos beyond
buzz, of course. Those that visit the Greg the Architect site are invited to
register online to receive the print version of Tibco’s SOANow Magazine. It’s loaded with rich, thought leading content and helps to build a credible connection with prospects. Thus, the vendor is able to engage
itself with an active constituency of IT professionals who find themselves in
similar quandaries as Greg — and are likely to be receptive to the assistance
Tibco can offer
.

As BtoB put it in its award declaration: The Greg the
Architect series “gives the people advertising that they want, content that
understands the pressures of their jobs and how to do them better. The goodwill
generated by both the videos and the journal will pay off in potential
customers who know ahead of time that Tibco gets it.”

And, in a not-so-subtle way, professionals may develop a
sense that Tibco feels their pain
.