This year Intel Corp. embarked on a multimillion-dollar, three-year project to overhaul its internal infrastructure, with a goal of making file and content sharing easier. The investment isn't sexy, and won't win Intel any creative advertising awards, but Nancy Bhagat isn't concerned. The VP-sales and marketing group director of Intel's Integrated Marketing unit knows the move was critical for the chipmaker's future.
“It's a major shift for Intel from a strategic and global perspective,” Bhagat said. “The Internet grew up at Intel with various people involved and various pockets of ownerships.” The reorganization is a way to create a unified global infrastructure, she said, adding, “This kind of commitment was very important.”
The move dovetails with Intel's decision last year to jack its online marketing spend up to 50% of its ad budget. The company also requires marketing partners in its co-operative “Intel Inside” program to spend at least 35% of their budgets on online advertising, up from a required 10% last year.
“We still continue to reimburse [traditional] marketing efforts,” she said, “We still think they're important. What we wanted to do was to move our partners to a space where there's more value for someone going through the purchase process.”
In helping its partners transition online, Bhagat said, Intel this year began a big push to create its own content—everything from research on consumers' computer usage needs to informational essays on Internet security written by Intel's in-house experts. For instance, Bhagat said, “We share that information with a retailer, with someone like Circuit City,” as another way to help simplify the process of buying a computer.
Other changes are afoot at Intel. Earlier this year, it picked OMD, Chicago, to handle its $300 million global media planning and buying account over incumbent Universal McCann.
“We switched to OMD because we wanted to elevate the role of media in our marketing process,” Bhagat said. “We wanted to pick out best of breed in terms of media strategy and to have media creativity be an equal partner in the creative discussions.”
Bhagat hinted that a new ad campaign is on the horizon for next year that will aim more broadly than Intel's current “Chips” effort, which targets “active buyers in a short window of six months.” “Chips,” created by McCann Worldgroup, New York, gave Intel's tiny chips starring roles, showing how they could make a difference in peoples' lives.
And while it may be too soon to tell, Intel's investments might be starting to pay off. Earlier this month, it surpassed analysts' predictions by posting record third-quarter revenue of $10.2 billion. —P.R.