Steal this Idea: Intel - Event Marketer

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Steal this Idea: Intel

IT professionals and decision-makers go to a lot of developer conferences and the offerings are often the same from show to show. They spend a few days on the show floor enduring demos that are very heavy on specs and frequently far too light on interactivity or engagement, and go home with a lot more information than inspiration. Important for their businesses? For sure. Thrilling and cool? Not so much.

For this year’s Oracle OpenWorld conference, Sept. 19 to 24, Intel decided it was time to reboot and provide an oasis of experience on a show floor full of demos. To that end, it created and loaded up a 16-foot by 6.4-foot multi-touch wall, powered by four PCs running high performance Xeon processors and graphic cards. All that power allowed several users to step up to the screen at the same time and flick through content areas full of videos, infographics and helpful tips with astonishing speed and fluidity.

Here’s a closer look at how Intel took basic product information and turned it into engaging content, while showing an event-savvy IT industry crowd something they’d never seen before. And here’s why we say you should Steal this Idea.

It Changed Perceptions
The Oracle OpenWorld audience is largely made up of project managers and IT professionals looking to find specific data storage and management solutions. Intel’s products are often an ingredient in consumer computing products and are therefore perceived as consumer-focused, so they are not always front of mind for these attendees. Intel set out to change that with its multi-touch wall, loaded with relevant content in three major areas of interest, all focused on the innovative nature of the brand.

“We really wanted them to look at innovation from Intel, and showcase what was new from us at Oracle OpenWorld,” says Kellie Bayer, event marketing manager at Intel. “There are a lot of great, innovative things Intel is doing and we needed to make that content relevant for this audience.”

It Was Content-Focused
Intel needed to take a lot of technical information about the brand and its products and make it interactive, so it was divided into three areas: the past, the present and the future. All three were accessible from anywhere on the multi-touch surface by up to four people at a time. In the “past” category, the brand outlined some of its heritage in processing and illustrated the intersections of consumer and enterprise computing in the hardware world. The “future” was all about current projects that will someday make a big difference in the enterprise space as the technology improves and develops.

The big play, however, was in the “present.” Here’s where the brand tried to show attendees, who were often more concerned with current projects than hardware or performance, some tips and tricks out of Intel’s current slate of products that would solve their immediate needs. “We wanted to focus less on the benefits of the processor and look at offering them what they needed for their day-to-day,” Bayer says. “It was crucial to make it relevant and visually compelling. It had to be more than just a showpiece.”

It Boosted Credibility
When it came to content delivery, Intel’s idea was to avoid the hard sell, and try to look at what it offered as a tool for attendees. “Intel was not saying [to the attendees], ‘This is what you need’,” Bayer says. “Instead, we wanted to offer some solutions to problems that they were facing that might be helpful for them.” As a sign of its bona fides in the space, the software for the wall was built on Javascript, which is one of Oracle’s platforms. The wall demonstrated in a concrete way that Intel understands attendees’ needs in a Java environment and that the best way to support massive amounts of data and programming is by using appropriately powerful processors, like Intel’s. And that revelation scored the wall an impromptu mention during the JavaOne keynote.

It Stood Out
“You don’t see experiences at enterprise trade shows, you see demos,” Bayer says. “We were able to create a unique experience at this show and that’s not what these people are used to having exhibitors do.” But by doing it, the brand drew more than 10,000 people into the booth and about 4,000 of those spent time at the interactive wall, reading and playing and taking advantage of Intel’s helpful hints. Taking into account the hardware and software, and many programming hours, the wall did cost several hundred thousand dollars, Bayer says, but now that it exists, other business units at Intel have the opportunity to deploy it, so the return will be well worth it (Wall design/development: Globacore Interactive Technologies, Toronto; Build: The Taylor Group, San Jose, CA).  EM

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