The world will start seeing a lot more yellow Monday when Symantec Corp. unveils a bold marketing campaign that touts its ability to “Do It All” — security to systems management. The embattled company wants IT managers to understand that it’s more than just a security or antivirus software vendor.
Symantec is under increasing pressure to reverse its fortunes. The company’s sales and profits have been flat or falling over the last two years. Last month, it ousted CEO Steve Bennett for failing to improve its situation through his infamous “Symantec 4.0” reorganization. And the low valuation is attracting activist investors who want to break up the company into its respective technology components.
While Symantec can’t “Do It All,” it does have an impressive arsenal of security, storage and systems management tools. A large part of Symantec’s struggles over the last decade is telling a unifying story that brings all of its products into a single, cohesive message the market can digest.
The “Do It All” campaign was conceived in 2013 before Bennett’s removal. The intent is to showcase Symantec’s ability to provide administrative control over applications, security, data protection, mobile devices and cloud resources.
“We weren’t creating a broad story of our brand in the world and there’s no better time than now, given the threat landscape we are in, to start telling the bigger message and bring our breadth of solutions to top of mind [for IT decision makers],” said Alix Hart, vice president of marketing, in an interview with AdAge. “The landscape for IT leaders is changing. As they migrate to multiple cloud solutions, their data is in pockets and there are more points of risk. Also with [bring your own device], their job is that much more difficult. With this campaign we are saying to IT managers, ‘we have your back, you can do it all.’”
Despite Symantec’s troubles, it remains a potent competitor and maintains a large and loyal network of solution providers and resellers. Many solution providers – particularly security, backup and systems management specialists – have built practices around Symantec’s products and services. The campaign will likely do little to reinforce loyalty, but could lift customer buying consideration that leads to channel sales activity.
The fractured nature of Symantec’s channel is a reflection of the disunity in the company’s story and value. Symantec has security specialists, backup and data protection specialists and systems specialists. The company has tried over the past few years to develop virtualization, data center and mobility specialists too.
Few Symantec partners operate outside their respective specializations. Cost and achieving a reasonable return on investment for certifications and go-to-market support is often too high. Symantec tried to cultivate holistic Symantec partners that could operate across its portfolio. However, the failure rate was too high. In recent years, Symantec has discouraged partners from extending outside their core domains and focus on where they can be most successful in the respective product divisions.
Symantec faces the same problem among IT buyers. The market perceives Symantec first as a security company and, second, as a storage management vendor. Few IT buyers see Symantec as a holistic infrastructure or data management provider. And, despite billions invested in new products and acquisitions, few buyers recognize the potential of Symantec’s identity management, encryption, virtualization or mobility products.
“Do It All” is an interesting message, especially since Symantec has often rejected charges it didn’t have a strong, unifying theme for its product portfolio. And despite the assertion of “doing it all,” Symantec doesn’t have all the products or tools to create end-to-end systems. Nevertheless, the marketing program – slated to run through mid-May – could spur short-term attached sales and lay the foundation for broader Symantec go-to-market activities.
Whether “Do It All” will be enough to stop Symantec’s slide and stave off the activist investors remains unknown.
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