With increasing commoditization and the long-term decline of prices in the market, Intel needed to break out of its traditional strategy of building faster chips. Although this strategy had been successful for many years, Intel decided to adopt a new approach to go beyond mHz (speed) and focus its product development on important, unmet needs by listening to the Voice of the Customer. Intel hypothesized that if they could identify the most critical, unmet customer needs, it could develop specialized products that would command price premiums. As a result, Intel embarked on a public strategy to develop specialized microprocessors for various applications.
What We Did
In order to achieve its new objectives, Intel partnered with Applied Marketing Science (AMS) to develop a systematic Voice of the Customer strategy. This enabled the company to better understand customer needs surrounding specialized applications and focus on the needs customers found to be the most important and unmet by current market offerings. AMS guided the team’s efforts to:
- Identify a complete set of customer wants and needs through customer visits and in-depth interviews
- Understand how customers think about and organize these needs into groups that go together
- Discover how customers prioritize these needs relative to their importance and level of satisfaction with current alternatives in the market
- Realize customers’ key unmet needs and look for potential disruptive innovations
- Generate solutions that meet the most important, unmet customer needs
Intel has since conducted more than 20 Voice of the Customer studies on a host of topics, ranging from extremely simple applications for consumers to highly advanced applications for IT Directors at large companies.
One of the most compelling products to emerge from this strategy is the v-Pro™ microprocessor for business desktop computers. The v-Pro™ addresses a number of critical problems for IT Directors who must manage a large “fleet” of company computers and ensure their security from external threats. Launched in 2006, the v-Pro™ became the fastest product in Intel’s history to exceed $1 billion in revenue. In a subsequent release, the v-Pro™ continues to significantly add to the company’s profitability. An unexpected benefit of the Voice of the Customer process has been the creation of trust and teamwork between the company’s engineers and marketing. Because of the improved interpersonal understanding that developed during the research, Intel’s technical personnel are now far more willing to accept the conclusions that emerge from the research.