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Intel Exec: Project Athena Offers New Refresh Opportunities For Partners

'It comes down to having a clear vision for A) what the laptop is good at and why it's so important in people's lives and then B) what's going to be new and exciting and different about the experience,' Intel executive Josh Newman tells CRN in an interview.

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You talked about how marketing is going to be a big part of Project Athena. Is that something that is going to touch the channel partners, like the resellers and the distributors in terms of thinking of new ways to sell these laptops?

Yeah, definitely, especially with the resellers. I think in year one, the first couple of years, the focus, at least on the designs themselves, will be the branded OEMs. But then for the resellers and the channel, especially in business, we want them to be very well prepared to be able to tell these stories, like explain why you should buy now, why these products are so different and exciting. And then the merchandising and the assets and the things we do to say, "hey, this is one of those great new laptops," those will absolutely be available in this channel as well.

How soon is that expected to happen?

As far as just doing things like social media, helping a channel reseller run some of their own ads or have in-store assets or online assets, you'll start to see that holiday of this year.

So some marketing resources. Sales training too?

Absolutely training. And then tools like an on-device tool that can run on the screen a point-of-sale, so we will infuse it into those types of things as well. I think the comment about the longer term, we're going to keep ramping the marketing up, especially as we keep evolving the value proposition. And so we'll look at all of our marketing assets and tools and options to really reach consumers more. But we're starting with let's start telling the influencers. Let's start training the retailers. Let's get that done, and then we'll think about how do you go even bigger to a broader consumer?

Is this a refresh opportunity for channel Partners to sell into businesses?

We think it is. It comes down to having a clear vision for A) what the laptop is good at and why it's so important in people's lives and then B) what's going to be new and exciting and different about the experience. And so when we can land that with clarity, because we believe deeply in the impact a great laptop has on a person's life, if we can land that with clarity and deliver the product truth behind that then yeah, we think people will refresh faster, whether that's an enterprise — they have to look at their fleet and go, "OK, wow, I've got to do something" — or consumer, who's like, "OK, compared to what I have that's five years old, that now is a compelling value proposition." We believe if that happens, if we get the product truth there, the rest takes care of itself. 

 
 
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