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Analog Devices scores big with Blackfin product awareness

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Analog Devices, a semiconductor manufacturer, has long scored high in brand and product awareness among its electronics engineering audience. In its most recent marketing research study, the company reported it scored 98% awareness for its flagship embedded processor, dubbed Blackfin.

However, awareness doesn’t always translate into preference—especially when you’re competing against the likes of Texas Instruments, the 600—pound gorilla of the embedded processor space, according to Rob DeRobertis, director of marketing for Analog Devices’ digital signal processing systems unit. “Our challenge used to be how to build awareness with less marketing dollars than TI,” he said. “One thing we did was to give our products memorable names rather than just parts numbers. But that tactic alone didn’t do the trick.”

About 14 months ago, with the help of marketing agency VIA Group, Analog launched a campaign to convert awareness of the Blackfin embedded processor into increased preference and sales. Before design engineers will switch to a new processor, they need concrete proof that it will perform in their next application, said Anna Rigby, client strategist at VIA Group. “A lot of semiconductor companies clutter their advertising with charts and tables,” Rigby said. “The VIA Group recommended cutting to the chase by showcasing innovative applications enabled by Blackfin, then pushing engineers to the Web for extensive technical information.”

Following this strategy, the campaign, titled “Blackfin Is Everywhere,” was built as a showcase of Blackfin’s use as a component in a wide variety of electronic devices—from Hitachi digital video recorders to Black & Decker biometric door locks to Maxtrack fleet vehicle tracking systems. “We wanted to demonstrate to our audience how Blackfin processors can be used and who was using them,” DeRobertis said.

The campaign also details the many different benefits of the processor, especially its speed, intense math processing capabilities and low power requirements. “Not only is it everywhere but Blackfin is also for everybody,” DeRobertis said. “We’ve paid special attention to attracting both large and small electronics manufacturers.” The campaign has consisted of an integrated mix of online, print and public relations. “We have more than 14 microsites— all of which can be accessed from www. analog.com/blackfiniseveryw—that detail different applications of the technology,” DeRobertis said. “At these microsites, engineers can download a virtual test drive of the processors. Conceptual marketing isn’t enough for engineers; they want to play with the technology.”

Print advertising ran in publications such as EETimes, EDN and Electronic Design, and banner ads placed on their Internet counterparts were also key components of the campaign, DeRobertis said. Blackfin consistently measured No. 1 or No. 2 for awareness and taking action in independent research audits of these publications, he said.

Search—a favorite medium of engineers—has also played a vital role in the campaign. “Our audience is all over Google, so we invested in keyword optimization and we put the appropriate AdWords in place,” DeRobertis said.

One initial challenge for the campaign was to gain approval to use their customers as implied testimonial. “Once they saw what we were doing, more and more of our customers asked to be part of the campaign,” DeRobertis said. “It’s been such a successful method of strengthening our customer relations, this year we’re going to continue rolling out more showcase examples of products that use Blackfin as their embedded processor.”

The “Blackfin Is Everywhere” campaign has generated more than 10,000 leads for Analog Devices and nearly 4,000 customers have taken the relationship further into the decision cycle, DeRobertis said. Another important metric has been the closing of the awareness—to—consideration gap.

Before the campaign, 50% of engineers who were aware of the Blackfin brand wouldn’t consider it in their project. After exposure to the campaign, that gap percentage has been reduced to 18% who wouldn’t consider Blackfin, DeRobertis said.

“Because of this campaign, we’re now confident in saying we can compete squarely with the likes of Texas Instruments in the embedded space,” DeRobertis said.
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