April 27, 2011
At Forrester’s recent Marketing Forum in San Francisco, it was my pleasure to introduce Deborah Conrad, Intel VP and CMO, ahead of her keynote. Deborah shared her experiences about transforming the 20-year-old PC-oriented Intel “Inside” brand into the Intel “Every-Ware” brand, which is relevant in a world with a proliferation of devices and consumers of technology. As I listened to her keynote before joining her back onstage for Q/A, she shared many great examples, stories, and lessons. However, three important insights left a lasting impression in my mind and are relevant for all technology marketers, regardless of company size, technology category, or marketing budget.
1. It’s about the experience. Intel realized that it was no longer about what the chip does but about the experience it creates for the user. This is an important lesson for all technology marketers, who, as a collective industry, have historically marketed technology innovation or the latest and greatest features and functions, not the experience generated by the technology or solution. We can borrow a page from our colleagues in B2C marketing — such as BMW marketing “The Ultimate Driving Machine” and the experience associated with it, not marketing horsepower, torque, and braking distances.
2. Moving from a rational brand to an emotional brand. This realization occurred within Intel by studying Pampers (yes, the diaper brand.) Pampers traditionally had very rational messaging focused on diaper performance; i.e., dryness. However, the company discovered that its marketing became more effective when it appealed to the emotional side of customers; i.e., happy moms. The logic worked like this:
Happy babies mean happy moms.
Babies are happy when they’re dry.
Thus, dry babies equal happy babies, and happy babies equal happy moms.
Intel’s “Pampers moment,” as Deborah described it, came when they identified the emotional side of technology performance. Instead of taking a rational approach to marketing performance, such as 99.9% application uptime, Intel discovered that the emotional side of performance has to do with not disrupting a user’s work with an unexpected application crash, freeze, etc. Thus, technology marketers should instead think about the emotional connection to performance — such as no more annoying hourglasses while completing your expense report.
3. The “consumerization” of IT. Intel understands that, increasingly within their enterprise clients, large IT decisions are not being made by just the IT department, but that many more individuals (outside IT) are having a voice in the purchasing process. As a result, Intel expanded its marketing programs and content to ensure that they are as relevant to the end users within enterprises as they are to their more traditional IT buyers/influencers. Forrester’s own research supports this conclusion. For example, 37% of information workershave downloaded an application for business purposes, outside of the applications offered by IT. Technology marketers must find and engage these non-IT influencers if they are going to be relevant in this new world.
As Deborah’s keynote finished, I walked away both inspired by how a company that markets something as unexciting as computer chips can remain one of the top ten brands in the world and thinking about how marketers at much smaller technology companies can apply these same strategies to grow their own businesses ahead of the competition.