HP Marketer David Roman Gets Personal

Dishes on Consumer Centricity and Being Part of Pop Culture

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LAS VEGAS (AdAge.com) -- With the reinvigoration of its PC operation -- now tops in market share -- Hewlett-Packard is one of personal tech marketing's biggest success stories of late. At HP's booth at the Consumer Electronics Show, David Roman, VP-worldwide marketing communication for HP's personal-systems group, chatted about the success of its "The computer is personal again" campaign, which has starred celebs such as Jay-Z, Serena Williams and Pharrell.
David Roman, VP-worldwide marketing communication for HP's personal-systems group
David Roman, VP-worldwide marketing communication for HP's personal-systems group

Advertising Age: You've said that being part of pop culture is a big part of success. How do you know when that happens?

David Roman: It's probably easier to tell in the long term, but in the short term, we look for indications on YouTube. That's first. Are people talking about it, are people spoofing it, are people blogging it? Another one is what other people in the industry are doing.

Ad Age: The notion of consumer centricity is behind HP's "The computer is personal again" campaign. How has that outlook changed HP's overall marketing approach?

Mr. Roman: For us it really means rethinking a lot of the things we do. Consumers are changing. And in fact, for us, by far the most significant segment, both in terms of sales but also most important in terms of influence, are the younger people. We call them the net generation. Their whole lives have been conditioned by the internet -- their social interactions, everything is conditioned by the internet. That was HP's weakest area. We look at social issues differently, environmental issues differently, and we look at personalization, customization of notebooks.

Ad Age: What's driving the focus on design?

Mr. Roman: A lot of computers are portable; people are carrying them around. Therefore, they aren't hiding it under your desk, so everybody sees exactly what you've got. That net generation is very, very conscious of products looking right or products fitting in with their lifestyles, not just in terms of their functionality but also in terms of the image that the products project, how they fit in with their other products.
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