VP-director of corporate marketing,
In an industry without many veterans, Dennis L. Carter is one. The 45-year-old Mr. Carter, currently a VP and director of corporate marketing for Intel Corp., Santa Clara, Calif., joined the company in 1981 as a product marketing engineer.
An electrical engineer by education, Mr. Carter made his most memorable marketing contribution with the "Intel inside" branding campaign. The ongoing campaign, which was launched in 1991, includes Intel's own print and broadcast ads (created by agency Dahlin Smith White, Salt Lake City) plus a significant co-op effort for Intel's computer-manufacturer customers.
Another of Mr. Carter's efforts-an ad campaign for the Intel 386 microprocessor that foreshadowed the Intel inside promotion-marked the first time a microprocessor maker targeted computer buyers with its ad messages.
"It was quite shocking at the time. The reaction was one of surprise," Mr. Carter recalls. "One of the first reactions when we did the 386 ads was an editorial in USA Today in which the headline-which is emblazoned in my mind-was: `Intel ads sheer foolishness.' It described how totally ridiculous it was that we would go directly to the end user, because who would care about technology?
"When I first read that editorial, I was horrified; but then I realized it wasn't all bad, because they had a picture of the ad, and more people probably would see it there [than would read it in the trade press]."
Ultimately, Mr. Carter had the last laugh: According to Intel, more than $2 billion in advertising has carried the Intel inside logo since the campaign began.
Less than a year after becoming VP-corporate marketing for IBM Corp. in June 1993, Abby Kohnstamm had turned Big Blue's advertising approach on its ear.
Specifically, she drove the company's effort to move from about 60 agencies worldwide to just one, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide, New York. The upshot for Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM has been efficiencies in both ad production and media buying.
"Our objective was to present ourselves as a solution partner," Ms. Kohnstamm says. To do so, IBM needed "a coordinated, integrated presentation of our capabilities so we didn't overwhelm the marketplace with too many things all at once. Part of [the way] to accomplish that was to go with a single [agency] partner."
In her role at IBM, the 43-year-old Ms. Kohnstamm manages all the company's advertising, promotion, trade shows, direct marketing, market research and planning, telemarketing and sponsorship. Before joining IBM she was senior VP-cardmember marketing at American Express.
A major challenge for IBM, according to Ms. Kohnstamm, has been finding an integrated way to communicate the many products and services the company provides.
"Despite the complexity of many of our products, the basic tenets of advertising still apply [to IBM and other high-tech marketers]," she says. "Advertising has to break through. It should be simple, clear, understandable and [provide an] impact. If it's a little surprising, that helps it break through. And if the advertising [communicates] some relevant benefit, that jumps out."
president, Freeman Associates
Like the high-tech advertisers she serves, Ellen Freeman knows how to find a need and fill it. Through her Wellesley, Mass.-based media agency, Ms. Freeman fills high-tech advertisers' growing need for media marketing, planning and buying.
Now president of Freeman Associates, the 42-year-old Ms. Freeman has logged nearly 20 years of media, account management and marketing experience. With savvy gained from creating media strategies for companies ranging from America Online to Zenith Data Systems, Freeman Associates is a pioneer in the high-tech media world.
To Ms. Freeman's way of thinking, media choices are just as important as the creative component of an advertising campaign. Her 10-year-old agency focuses "on looking at media for technology companies as a strategic weapon in their marketing arsenal," she says.
Over the years, Ms. Freeman has helped define the media mixes that work best for high-tech marketers. Her agency builds multimedia campaigns that include some combination of broadcast, electronic and trade or business print media. Recently, the agency has started developing campaigns that use the World Wide Web exclusively.
Ms. Freeman says high-tech advertising's expansion into consumer media such as lifestyle publications reflects the ongoing change in how high-tech marketers identify their market and communicate with buyers.
"You can no longer claim that technology is relegated to very technical trade publications," she explains. "When your parents start asking, `do I need that Windows NT thing?' you know technology is touching all of us in our everyday lives."
Christine Hughes is a corporate cosmetic surgeon, and her handiwork is evident in the sleek new lines of Novell's advertising strategy and corporate identity.
After 18 months with Novell, Ms. Hughes left her position as senior VP of corporate marketing last summer to become president and CEO of Krypton Interactive, a Spokane, Wash.-based software development group that targets the small-business market.
"I think the real contribution I made at Novell was to put in place both consistency and a coherent infrastructure to communicate simply to the marketplace," the 48-year-old San Francisco native says.
"At Novell I learned what marketing means from the outside in. It's like a conversation in the marketplace, and you're either in the conversation or you're out of the conversation," she adds. The key to successful marketing, then, "is to stay focused on both creating and managing the conversation in the marketplace."
Under Ms. Hughes' direction, Novell consolidated from 32 advertising agencies worldwide to one- Young & Rubicam, San Francisco-and developed a brand architecture for the company's more than 150 brands. The brand strategy has made the Novell name a so-called "master brand" over a handful of "power brands" and numerous sub-brands.
Ms. Hughes also supervised the research and development of a new logo for Novell. Some conservative insiders resisted the new look, wondering why any change was needed.
"The lesson I learned is when you give a face-lift to a company, the amount of time you spend on communicating the `why' and the benefits of the change is almost more important than the change itself," Ms. Hughes says.
CEO, Dell Computer Corp.
Back in 1984, while his college classmates were focusing on beer blasts, Michael Dell was busy laying the foundation for a computer company that today boasts $5.3 billion in annual revenue and employs 8,400 people worldwide.
As a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin, Mr. Dell had the innovative idea for a new kind of computer company-one that would bypass distribution intermediaries to sell computers directly to end users.
He founded his then-unique direct marketing company with a mere $1,000.
The new company took off like a rocket, and Mr. Dell left college after one year to make Dell Computer Corp. his full-time job. Now 31 years old, Mr. Dell was the youngest CEO of a company ever to earn a ranking on the Fortune 500.
The idea of marketing directly to end users spawned many imitators, but Dell remains the most successful direct marketer of PCs. The company also is a powerful force for PC marketers who sell through indirect channels.
At its annual shareholders' meeting in July, the company quoted research from International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass., that shows Dell blew past IBM and Hewlett-Packard in 1995 in desktop sales to the U.S. corporate market to become the second-largest PC manufacturer supplying corporate America (behind Compaq).
At the shareholders' meeting, Mr. Dell addressed the phenomenal success of his company's business-to-business strategy and its direct marketing model.
"Corporate customers appreciate the advantages of Dell's direct model," he said. "A one-to-one relationship with Dell translates into lower-cost, higher-performing products that are customized to customer requirements."