Marketing 101

Marketing is not easy. Companies spend billions of dollars a year trying to sell their products and while some are very successful, others fail miserably. Recently I attended a talk by Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Capossela and he addressed how his 7 Principles of Marketing will be affecting Microsoft’s marketing campaigns. While I’m not going to reveal all 7 principles I will paraphrase one as it really resonated with me. If you don’t follow hockey (gasp!) the principle is based off of a quote that the greatest of all time (GOAT) Wayne Gretzky once said: “I don’t skate to where the puck is, but rather where it is going to be.”

This concept of going above and beyond what is already in the marketplace or not playing it safe is something that every marketer needs to embrace. Sounds easy enough but of course the marketing team needs a fantastic product to promote otherwise you’re just putting “lipstick on a pig.” I’m by far not a marketer but producing a product or service that’s not only the first of its kind but also makes a person’s/businesses life easier is paramount. Has Microsoft completely embraced this concept/principle? Perhaps not fully but it certainly isn’t devoid of it either. Look no further than last year’s ads of how multiple products and services were being shown in one advertisement. Now fast forward to today and I believe with Windows 8 on the horizon and the Metro design principles that have been developed; the high cohesion of products will most definitely be showcased.

Obviously you can’t ignore the elephant in the room, which is Apple as they have surely taken a hold of the consumer mindset with regards to how one perceives and ultimately acts on (i.e. purchases) a product. That being said, Microsoft has a huge opportunity to romance the consumer with the new offerings that differentiate it from its competitors (e.g. Windows 8, Windows Phone, XBOX, Azure, etc.). How this is accomplished via marketing is going to be the lynch pin that illustrates this.

Microsoft reaches billions of people with its products and creating effective marketing campaigns is by no means an easy task. This is especially true when you think of how diverse the product roadmap is – the enterprise plays a key role here too. Still, innovation like the Kinect device shows just how popular a product can be when it’s not only a technological breakthrough but also one that integrates with other products (in this case XBOX) as well.

Clearly Microsoft cannot do this by itself as it needs its partners and original equipment manufacturers (OEM) onboard to demonstrate all of the features and capabilities a product encompasses. Typical example would be walking into a wireless store and not seeing a Windows Phone or not having that store’s employee fully understand the plans and features for such a device. This full participation within the ecosystem is undoubtedly important as reaching the broadest range of consumers is always a metric one should strive for.

It will be interesting to see how the marketing team executes on Chris’ strategy. After seeing his passion and description of these core principles, if the relevant teams abide by them then I have no doubt Microsoft will once again be on the consumers mind first and foremost.