Palm Targets Enterprise Buyers with Campaign

Handheld computing manufacturer Palm, Inc. is looking to better its position in the enterprise market, with a new print ad campaign targeting corporate purchasers.

The yearlong effort, on which Santa Clara, Calif.-based Palm’s spending reached the “single-digit millions,” launches this week with ads intended to show off uses of the company’s PDAs in business environments.

Designed by agency of record AKQA, the ads focus primarily on a graphic of Palm business users accessing information wirelessly from distant sources. In one execution, featuring an executive using his PDA to communicate with a warehouse, title copy reads, “Once again, our technology is making noise. It’s just happening in remote warehouses.”

Copy in the ad reads: “Once again, people are talking about Palm innovations. Only this time, it’s at companies building solutions for their enterprise. Like streamlining order fulfillment. Or mobilizing sales forces. Or simplifying access to information.”

The copy also highlights current Palm enterprise clients including BEA Systems , IBM and Siebel Systems , and directs readers to white papers and case studies at the Palm Web site.

In hopes of snagging the attention of IT executives, the ads will run in tech industry trade magazines including Computerworld, PCWorld and Network World, and mainstream business magazines and dailies including The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Fortune and CIO.

“These are the people, the business managers, who are in charge of rolling out multiple deployments because they see the benefits of doing so,” said Michael Buhr, senior director of enterprise marketing at Palm.

The campaign comes as Palm continues efforts to right itself. Last year, the company launched a plan to repair persistent inventory foul-ups and to combat slipping sales, by bringing in new management and splitting the company into two. The firm, which remains the world’s leading handheld device maker, plans to spin off its software unit as an independent entity, potentially this year.

Another key aspect of the effort is to promote Palm products — traditionally viewed as consumer-oriented or individual business appliances — to high-volume business purchasers.

“The new campaign is really about awareness, about Palm really showcasing the solutions that it already has for mainstream enterprises,” Buhr said. “It says, hey, Palm has business solutions, and shows Palm in a business environment.”

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