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AMD: Marketing the Unmarketable

Ask any successful marketing executive, and they will tell you that marketing – as a business function – is no easy task. Getting audiences and consumers excited about your product, so that they actually want to engage with it, and go out and purchase it, isn’t something to be approached lightly. Unless, perhaps, your product is riding high on a wave of hype or innovation – think Apple’s iPad or the Dyson vacuum cleaner.

You can presume that such a problem is only exacerbated further if you’re marketing something that might otherwise fail to ignite the excitement of the regular consumer.

For me, computer-chips, chipsets and computer processors certainly fall into that category: Of course, that’s probably why I don’t work for Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).

AMD Marketing

AMD’s main products include micoprocessors, motherboard chipsets, embedded processors and graphics processors for servers, workstations and personal computers. The company, which has long been dedicated to collaborating with customers and technology partners to ignite the next generation of computing and graphics solutions both at work, at home and at play, is now looking at 2010 as a key opportunity to build on the strategic changes the company has already made – and the way AMD is marketing itself has to play a part in that.

In an exclusive interview with MeetTheBoss.TV, AMD’s Chief Marketing Officer Nigel Dessau explains how marketing strategies for the industry are changing, and how AMD is working to keep ahead of the curve: “It’s actually the classic marketing problem that we have. We actually have two fundamentally different audiences to deal with. So what we’ve decided [to do] is break them into what we call the processor aware and the processor unaware.”

Dessau explains how the first group – those who are making PC decision with the knowledge of the effect the processor has – has about 25 million people in it, while the second group – those making the same decisions without that knowledge – has around six billion people in it. “It’s important for us to remember which group we’re talking to at which time and our marketing has to follow those two chains,” explains Dessau.

But it’s not all microchips and PC purchasing decisions for AMD. There’s some pretty fun stuff going on too. In fact, over the years, AMD technology has been used in some pretty impressive ways; something that Dessau himself is keen to make people aware of, having recently blogged about the extent to which AMD helps shape the wider world.

In short, innovation at AMD is key: 50 percent of internet DNS traffic is routed via AMD processor-powered servers, for instance; musicians and producers who have collectively won 70 Grammy awards rely on AMD technology to power their digital music production; and realistic special effects, powered by AMD technology, have helped Hollywood amass more than US$5.4 billion in worldwide box office revenues.

Watch the full interview with Nigel Dessau discusses how to manage social media and marketing metrics.

You have to admit, it makes taking a gamble on microchips and computer processes a whole lot more interesting. In fact, speaking of gambling, more than 75 percent of new slot machines in Las Vegas casinos use AMD graphics to power their images, and more than half of those machines also use an AMD CPU.

“I think in marketing we have to be careful because we have introduced so many metrics that tells us everything, but actually help us to do nothing,” says Dessau. “At the end of the day its really about what we are going to do to generate profit for the company.”

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