Panasas and daXai: A Hero’s Journey

The story of Panasas and daXai is one of unlocked potential. In addition to helping customers such as Panasas tell powerful marketing stories, daXai enables them to do more with less, maximizing limited budgets, resources, or experience while executing successful digital campaigns. daXai allows marketing teams to extend their scope and access resources as needed, by putting writers, strategists, and advertising specialists within easier reach.
Read on to see how Mercer-MacKay Digital Storytelling and daXai, our marketing-as-a-service platform, helped Jeff Whitaker and his marketing team at Panasas develop 156% more thought leadership assets than their yearly average—in half the time.

The daXai story

Built on Microsoft Dynamics and Power Apps and supported by more than 100 experts in the MMS Professional Services organization, daXai is already used by more than 300 Microsoft partners. The essential principle of daXai is that it should help partners such as Panasas tell the story of The Hero’s Journey by making it easy and cost effective to put them or their customers (and their unique qualities and capabilities) at the heart of every narrative.

The beginning

Panasas: The data engine for innovation

Panasas has been developing high-performance computing (HPC) data storage and management solutions for nearly 25 years. The jewel in their crown is PanFS, a parallel file system designed specifically for HPC and AI/ML applications as a simple, reliable storage solution that scales infinitely to keep pace with a user’s data sets and workloads.

In recent years Panasas has had to adapt and evolve to remain competitive while responding to AI/ML use cases in HPC. Shifting focus from custom hardware solutions to advanced software running on commercial, off-the-shelf hardware created a marketing challenge. How could Panasas market new features and functions, keep existing clients, and attract new customers?

But the Panasas story isn’t only about features and functions—it’s also about the company’s evolution into modern HPC solutions that address the challenges of many workloads across traditional HPC and AI/ML. These new solution areas, along with the ability to serve legacy systems, required a new way to address the market with expanded capabilities and fresh offerings. That was the story Panasas really wanted to tell, but to do so, they would face several challenges.

Our story needed compelling messaging and engaging design with consistent look and feel. We have a very lean team, so we had to take a step back and think about how to achieve the scale and consistency needed for multiple awareness campaigns. That’s why we chose daXai. It has allowed our small team to scale and deliver quality content in a third of the time it used to take.

Jeff Whitaker

Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at Panasas

The challenges

Effective marketing on a budget

The existing marketing team was lean on discrete capabilities, experience, and skillsets. With a mandate to accelerate and scale marketing efforts on a limited budget, Panasas needed an economical and effective solution combining access to experts, storytelling frameworks, and design support to tell the new story and connect with a larger, more diverse audience.

The partnership

The daXai and Panasas partnership

Jeff Whitaker, VP of Marketing and Product Management at Panasas, had already been working with Mercer- MacKay Digital Storytelling and was impressed with our content capabilities and expertise. Facing budget constraints and unable to outsource the entire Panasas marketing function, Jeff brought the challenge to Mercer- Mackay, who suggested he give daXai a try.

Any initial concerns the Panasas team had about working with digital solutions were quickly dispelled. They discovered that daXai delivered a simple way to create engaging content. Getting started with daXai was easy. Panasas’ team was guided through a fill-in-the-blanks discovery process, and then provided with marketing assets and templates that delivered consistent graphic design, licensed images, and industry research. If the team ever got stuck, the platform’s “wizards” provided interactive guidance to support their marketing strategy and execution. In addition, using daXai dollars gave Panasas access to a marketing expert for extra advice or support.

Panasas could now draw from extensive Mercer-Mackay content and marketing experience to help them build assets in new formats almost instantly, from research and copywriting through to design and launch, all in one place and well within budget.

In just six months we’ve seen a 156% increase in active and completed thought leadership assets. daXai helps us make the customer the hero of the story, which is so different from our traditional, more technical approach. This new way of bringing storytelling into our copy has resonated well with customers and improved our messaging company-wide.

Christina Martin

Content Manager at Panasas

The approach

More than just templates

As a digital platform that allows Panasas immediate access to marketing templates, baseline content, and designs, daXai has, in effect, become a virtual extension of the marketing studio. The features and capabilities of daXai have allowed Panasas to scale and customize marketing content to serve a wider variety of customers in diverse industries. Customers in health sciences, energy, or manufacturing may experience similar challenges, but the respective industry contexts demand unique storytelling approaches. Panasas needs to speak each technical language and tell a compelling story that resonates with business leadership in every field.

daXai has helped our lean marketing team develop assets faster. We’re also creating more exciting content for platforms we’d never explored before. My team can go into a template, write content prompted by expert advice, and easily format it into a designed asset almost instantly. We’re creating content that’s appealing to our audience, as well as cohesive and consistent, in a fraction of the time.

Jeff Whitaker

Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at Panasas

The results

Quality and quantity

In 2022, Panasas increased annual output of original marketing assets by 100%. In that same year, with the tools and support available through daXai, Panasas was also able to begin development of assets that would cover the first half of the following year. This considerable head start paid off in the ability to create more thought leadership pieces. In the nine months between August 2022 and March 2023, Panasas published more new thought leadership articles, reports, and white papers than in the entire previous year.

While increasing the quality and quantity of marketing assets, daXai has also enabled Panasas to expand into new formats. The team now uses a combination of daXai and MMS Professional Services. For those concepts that the team has down pat, they access daXai and follow their standard process for campaigns. They begin with a favourite template, the sell sheet, that breaks down the campaign messaging and guides the creation of complementary assets harmoniously, even across verticals.

For longer-form assets (such as eBooks), new sales motions and markets, or other assets the team has yet to tackle, Panasas can call in MMS Professional Services to strategize and support the creation of more robust and comprehensive content – all while the internal marketing team develops new skills. With daXai, the Panasas team is achieving goals they previously thought impossible.

It’s about independence, not dependency
The goal for daXai as a platform is not to permanently replace or displace a partner’s marketing function. daXai is designed to augment and support partners as they develop internal resources and skillsets. As the Panasas team becomes more comfortable and proficient with the assets built through the platform, they will gradually begin to produce them in house, but they still have the comfort of knowing that they can extend their bench and call in MMS experts exactly when needed.

daXai dollars

Every platform membership comes with two daXai dollars. These powerful credits let marketing teams tap into MMS Professional Services to work with writers, strategists, and advertising experts at special rates. And daXai members can purchase additional dollars at any time.

Marketing into the future
With daXai and Mercer-MacKay Solutions, Panasas is generating more thought leadership than ever before. The company is poised to extend its marketing reach with social media campaigns – enabled by new features of daXai – while continuing to work with MMS Professional Services. And Panasas will continue to expand into new markets for business growth externally while using daXai dollars to help the marketing team expand their skills internally.

Our customers are doing amazing things – cancer treatments, sustainability, AI/ML – we have to be in the loop with everything that’s going on, and it’s different for every customer. We know what they’re doing, we know what they need, and we’re able to deliver the solutions. Data storage often seems to be an afterthought. It’s not the coolest aspect of the solution, but it’s extremely important. So, it’s critical for Panasas to have the thought leadership out there to keep us in the story and show our value.

Christina Martin

Content Manager at Panasas

There are many companies that don’t know anything about us, and they could find significant business value from Panasas’ platforms. When we market to a broader audience, our thought leadership pieces help us make connections and share our industry perspectives through the real-world business scenarios we answer with our products and services. All of that is now possible thanks to MMS and daXai.

Jeff Whitaker

Vice President of Marketing and Product Strategy at Panasas

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