BtoB's Best Marketers: Deborah Conrad, Intel Corp.

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About a year and a half ago, Intel Corp. took a hard look at its b-to-b marketing and decided it was time for an overhaul. “There was a lack of energy and excitement about it,” said Deborah Conrad, VP-CMO at Intel. She and her team “dug deep” to find out what was really driving IT buyers' purchase decisions. What it learned was that similar to consumer retail, word- of-mouth and viral marketing had transformed b-to-b purchases. “A big part of our strategy was building out communities in things that we had credibility in. We can bring together content and expertise in a way that builds out a solution,” Conrad said. As a result, it created more online forums and bolstered its digital ads and search marketing. For instance, a user re-cently searching for “mission critical computing,” would be served a link to a page on titled “Tomorrow's mission critical, today” with content about such solutions powered by Intel technology. Intel's branding campaign, “Sponsors of Tomorrow,” which debuted in 2009, also continued to renew itself because it's more than just an ad campaign, Conrad said: “It's a communications platform. It's really a way where we describe who we are as a company.” Intel, which in July reported second-quarter revenue of $13.0 billion, up 21% from the same quarter last year, is leveraging the platform to show how it has moved beyond the PC space into smartphones, infotainment and TV. Intel is also continuing to boost advertising around its Core family of processors. And even though its work with the Creators Project (a joint online venture with Vice magazine as a way to showcase technology-influenced art, film and music) is meant to appeal more to a consumer crowd, Conrad said it has a “halo effect” reaching other audiences. One of its most ambitious marketing efforts in the last year came with the relaunch of Clutter was cut 50%, content can now be updated in minutes instead of days and users can more easily search or browse for content. “You're seeing the influence of social, and search and community-building,” Conrad said. —P.R.
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