Marketing Challenge: Overcoming Absence of Differentiation

The Case of Separately Sharpened Swords

Altera Corporation’s vertical market business units, whose mission supports field programmable gate array (FPGA) sales to electronic design engineering professionals in a wide range of systems markets including military/aerospace, consumer electronics, wired and wireless communications, high performance computing, industrial systems and others. These various marketing programs all lacked a strategic business communications focus. Working from standard checklists of promotional tactics, all the groups’ campaigns sounded alike and also like their competitors’, claiming pretty much the same values or attributes. This, in spite of the company facing widely differing competitors in each market sector and, more importantly, having a range of technical or marketing advantages verses competitors in each application area each group addressed.

The company hired experienced PR counsel to focus on helping these multiple P&L marketing groups. The challenge was met by developing customized, competitive campaigns for each marketing group that would break through, get noticed by customers and separate Altera’s offerings from its many competitors in each segment. Each of seven marketing teams were guided through a communications strategy development process that discovered a particularly well-differentiated value to customers that Altera’s competitors were not offering or could not offer that market segment. With clearly unique stories to tell each of their market segments, tactics carrying each group’s marketing messages rang true and interested customers in the separate application design areas.




Media and market research analysts began paying attention because the stories were different and transmitted new information. Under direction of each vertical marketing team’s leader, field sales personnel adopted these communications strategies as well. Soon greater traction began occurring, particularly in segments where the company had been a follower. Maintained over time the competitive difference was demonstrated as well as claimed and sales grew.

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Ford Kanzler - Marketing/PR Savvy