If anyone in the Office marketing team is listening...at least consider Steve's idea.

Steve Rubel reviews the Office 2003 online campaign and identifies an opportunity for the Office marketing team to use the power of blogging as part of the mix.

"Someone please post a link to this blog post on the Redmond Sharepoint server. Here are three ways Microsoft could use our agency's "find, listen, engage and empower" approach to encourage business users to upgrade to Office 2003...

    1. Find referenceable users and empower them to blog on your site - Use PubSub, Feedster, MSN Search and customer data, etc. and find the most vocal Office 2003 enthusiasts in the blogosphere. Initiate a dialogue with them and, if they're interested, give them blogs where they can regularly chronicle how they use Office 2003 to improve their daily productivity. Let the customers tell your story.
    2. Have loyal Office 2000 and 2003 users debate each other head-to-head - Find two users of the Office suite - one a loyal 2000 user, another a 2003 fan - and let them them debate each other on the merits of their choice of suite via a shared blog.  
    3. Give out free upgrades - Seed 500 bloggers with free upgrades to Office 2003 and index their posts via an RSS-powered portal."

In response, one Marc Orchant (warning, traffic Mark's site, office.webloginc.com seems to nailing the server), a self-described Office 2003 advocate volunteers through a comment on Steve's post:

"Great ideas Steve - I hereby volunteer to be the Office 2003 advocate if Microsoft picks up on your debate idea. I've found it a worthy upgrade in every respect.

But you're right - they continually miss opportunities to get it right. They ought to follow the example set by Buzz Bruggeman in engaging bloggers to spread the word about the goodness of their products."

Personally, I think Steve is spot on in highlighting this opportunity. In my view, every media/pr campaign should at least consider the role online 'conversational media' has to play, even if it to consciously reject it as a tactic.. The truth is it will take a while for the marketing agencies, PR in particular - (it is fair to say they have a reputation for laggard-like tendencies) to realise the power of online consumer-created content and pitch the ideas. That said, it really is up to the client to brief this requirement in. So, if anyone if the Office marketing team is listening...at least consider Steve's idea.