"Good" - developing and executing the marketing plan for one of the
biggest new product introductions in history ... WOW ;)
I attended an interesting presentation about how Microsoft launched Vista and Office 2007. John Roskill, Microsoft's US Business and Marketing Officer gave an overview of the marketing plan (audio, video and slides can be found here). As you can imagine with a launch of this magnitude the marketing team faced many challenges including:
- Reaching and persuading an incredibly wide range of customers from novice consumers to developers, IT gurus and business decision makers in the largest enterprises and governments. (B2C, B2G, and B2B)
- Covering a wide range of product lines with an extremely broad value-proposition (Windows Vista, Office desktop, Office System Server, and others).
- Managing the timing of multiple staggered launches on a global basis.
- Competing against a large and determined group including Apple, Open Office, Apache/Linux.
- Overcoming the "good enough" mentality of current Windows owners.
- Managing a wide array of partners including hardware vendors, software developers, systems integrators, VARs and resellers.
- Changing market perceptions such as "its been a long time coming" and "weak security."
The launch objectives are similar to what you and I have written in numerous marketing plans ... Ready the channel, Build awareness, Create enthusiastic advocates, Generate revenue opportunities / sales pipeline, and drive partner-customer connections. However, the execution of the plan was anything but business as usual as they "touched" over 100 million consumers in less than a month in the U.S. alone and developed 15 million enthusiastic advocates that spread the message.
Mr. Roskill shared great insights on the strategy which are too lengthy to describe here, but one thing that I took away was the need to move beyond transactional marketing to relationship marketing. Microsoft has finally gotten it and this launch marked their shift from...
- Point in Time Marketing to Continuous Conversion
- Single Product to Solution Stack
- Hitting the Masses to Targeting/Sub-segmenting/Measuring
- Generic Call-to-Action to Customized Call-to-Action
- Disconnected from Sales to Connected with Sales/Partners/Services
- Offline to Online (blogs, wikis, reviews, etc.)
These are good points to keep in mind as we develop our own marketing plans. Its easy to stay true to the old way of doing things, especially since relationship marketing is a lot more work. But, as professionals we must continually look for ways to take our game to the next level. If we don't, our competitors will!