IBM thinkXchange

Custom Enterprise Academy

We worked with IBM to develop a digital academy for their global marketing team. The IBM thinkXchange helped kick off a culture of continuous learning among their 5000+ global marketers.

5K + Members

Photo with an aerial view of a market

The Challenge

IBM’s CMO, Michelle Peluso, was committed to driving the digital transformation of IBM marketing with the objective of becoming more agile, data-driven, client-centric, and outcomes-focused.

Michelle needed to make this transformation happen at all levels of the organization rapidly and at scale. She zeroed in on three key areas: a mindset of client-centricity, developing effective marketing skills, and improving career pathing.

illustration of three key focus areas: career pathing, client-centricity and marketing skills

The Barriers

Cost & Speed: The usual cascading, facilitator-led learning would be too slow, expensive, and inconsistent.

Need for Social: Traditional e-learning wouldn’t facilitate mindset shift and best-practice sharing-while simultaneously developing the individual skills of the marketing team.

No Central Hub: IBM Marketing had a plethora of scattered learning options, but no central hub for leaders – resulting in an overwhelming quantity and variable quality of available training.

illustration of stacked bricks

Enter, IBM thinkXchange

screenshot of the thinkXchange platform and programs

IBM thinkXchange was designed to help shape the development of IBM Marketing by teaching the principles behind customer-centric marketing; by giving learners opportunities to apply the principles in team settings; by helping marketers take more control over their use of marketing tools and analytics; by expanding personal networks and rethinking career paths as they develop into marketing leaders.

To create a culture of continuous learning, IBM centered the thinkXchange platform around team-based social learning. The Programs were completed by teams of learners in a gamified experience that was supplemented by personalized learning Resources and integrated with offline, existing IBM training and enablement initiatives.

A Focus on Client Centricity

Addressed by a flagship Program focused on the mindset shifts for marketers across IBM. Focused on engaging all IBM Marketers in a common conversation about customer-centric marketing and implications for IBM as a whole.

A Focus on Marketing Skills

Addressed by Programs intended for smaller subsets of the marketing population designed to help marketers gain the skills necessary to make lateral moves and progress their careers: Social Media, Programmatic Advertising, etc.

A Focus on Career Pathing

A structured, collaborative learning experience focused on helping employees new to the marketing team take a more entrepreneurial approach to their careers. Mapped required skills, experiences, and mindsets to various marketing roles to help shape personal development goals.

Achieving Organizational Impact with Resources

Micro-learning assets that learners can experience in the flow of work. A variety of marketing, leadership and management topics, including help with mentorship and career coaching.

The Impact

“The training, modules, and content was simply superb! Well done and glad to see the leads taking immediate actions from their learnings.”
“The best training that I’ve received in my 25 years as a marketer and it’s far and away the best training I’ve received during my 13 cumulative years at IBM.”

IBM leadership recognized that the value of the Program depended on unprecedented levels of learner engagement. Without it, there would be no organization-wide conversation, no actionable analytics, and no widespread change.

Results massively exceeded expectations.

IBM Marketing was able to identify new populations of influences and high-potential leaders by analyzing learning data.


Completion Rate in a population of 5000+ marketers (of every piece of content, activity, and social prompt — the highest ever achieved for any kind of previous training within IBM Marketing.


Days of cumulative learning time logged by 5000+ marketers


Total Social Comments made by learners. And 9-10 new peers interacted with each learner on average.


of Learners reported that they learned something they can apply immediately to change the way they work.

IBM saw major spikes in usage of new tools that were introduced to the marketing suite to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of marketers, which exceeded IBM’s expectations.

Additionally, learning content was created for less than 50% of the cost of competing bids.

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