The Curious Case of Microsoft Marketing

on April 24, 2012

Is it just me or am I missing or not seeing much marketing effort by Microsoft these days? Generally I am very observant to marketing campaigns within our industry due to my conviction of its importance. Because of that I try to pay close attention to tech companies consumer marketing efforts on every medium. This is why it is surprising to me to not see the kind of marketing I would expect for a company with an critical strategic asset in the market with Windows Phone and one that is coming up on the most important Windows launch in over a decade.

When it comes to Windows Phone, most of the marketing efforts I am seeing is either driven by the carriers or by Nokia at this point. Perhaps Microsoft is playing a role in those as well but to be honest even what I am seeing marketing wise around Windows Phone is not enough in my opinion. Windows Phone is incredibly strategic to Microsoft from a Windows brand and platform standpoint. Because of its importance I would have expected Microsoft to saturate the market with branding, messaging, and positioning.

Marketing Like a Record Label

Perhaps Microsoft is taking the approach record labels do when one of their artists is launching a new album. The music industry is so incredibly saturated with artists all competing for consumer mind share. It is nearly impossible, although becoming more possible with Twitter, to keep artists top of mind share all year. Because of this, labels store up marketing budget until the months prior to an artist’s album release in order to raise the artist back into the publics mind. As much as I disagree with this approach in the tech industry perhaps this is the approach Microsoft is taking.

Whatever approach Microsoft is taking they need to take immediate action to elevate their brand and Windows / Windows Phone mind share. This would prime the pump for when Windows 8 finally launches and hopefully make their partners lives easier driving mind share of new Windows products for this fall. I hope Microsoft has a massive marketing campaign planned because I believe it is one of many things critical to the success of Windows 8.

Interestingly, Apple has cracked the code when it comes to branding. I would argue that Apple, more so than any company in this industry, maintains a consistently elevated mindshare. This is due to the tech media’s fascination with all things Apple, their marketing strategy, their event and product release strategy, their retail stores, and host of other well-executed strategies. Due to those strategies employed by Apple it is not surprising that the results of a Nikkei Brand Asia 2012 results show Apple as the number 1 consumer brand in China, Japan, and Taiwan and No. 2 in South Korea ahead of Samsung.

Marketing is best done strategically spread out over time rather than in bulk bursts. The goal should be to maintain share of consumer mind not spike the interest then let them get interested in the next shiny thing to catch their attention.