Having laid out a comprehensive microprocessor strategy, Intel Corp. will attempt to string its diverse product portfolio together with a single marketing message tailored for senior enterprise executives.Called simply "Yes," the multimillion-dollar campaign reflects Intel's desire to penetrate the market for higher-performance, higher-dollar-value systems, purchasing decisions that usually require "C Suite" approval.
The Yes campaign will be centered on a series of ads, set to debut this week in print, billboards, and online, that are designed to reinforce Intel's reputation as a technology leader and answer questions top-level managers-including CEOs, CFOs, CTOs, and CIOs-may have about the company's altered direction.
"IT managers are pretty familiar with Intel's value proposition, and at a higher level business executives are tuned in as well, but they primarily know us in the space of client or desktop processors," said Jane Price, director of business marketing at Intel, Santa Clara, Calif. "We want to make sure business executives who are also influential in the purchasing process are familiar with Intel in the spaces we're now getting active in, as well as our traditional space."
Intel has spent the last several years piecing together a processor roadmap that spans a diverse range of computing platforms from servers, desktops, and laptops to wireless handsets and broadband and wireless networks.
Initially, the Yes campaign will encircle products based on the familiar Intel architecture, including Pentium 4, Pentium 4M, Itanium, and Xeon, but may later throw a net over XScale and other products outside Intel's core computing strength.
The company's chief concern appears to lie in the server arena, where a higher average selling price means top-level executives are more likely to have a say in purchasing decisions.
In low-end servers, Intel has roughly a 90% market share, but at the high end, it's still the challenger, according to Nathan Brookwood, an analyst at Insight64 in Saratoga, Calif.
"Intel has yet to achieve the credibility of Sun or HP for systems that run upward of $100,000," Brookwood said, noting that the impending release of Itanium 2 has amplified the competitive tenor.
In mobiles, the need is more for a clear message than a competitive one, Brookwood said. "Mobile customers may be confused as to whether they should buy a P3 or P4, or wait until 2003 when Intel has been very public about introducing a new mobile platform that looks to be a pretty dynamite product," he said.
One analyst suggested that Intel may be trying to restore shaken confidence among desktop PC customers as well. By securing brand loyalty high in the ranks of white- box and OEM PC makers, the company may be able to influence purchasing decisions farther down the chain of command, where it has lost some sway due to technology misfires and aggressive moves by rival Advanced Micro Devices Inc., said Bert McComas of InQuest Market Research in Higley, Ariz.
"This may be a rallying cry," McComas said. "Perhaps there's a sense that the return of corporate IT spending is coming, and now's the time to regain control."
The Yes campaign is Intel's largest to date focused on the enterprise customer. Though not tied to the "Intel Inside" initiative, which is a cooperative marketing program with OEMs and channel partners, there nevertheless will be some commonality in the way that the programs thread together the various Intel products, Price said.
The ads will roll out this week in the United States, spreading to overseas markets later in the year.