Category: Marketing

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The Keyword to Microsoft’s Search Success

Too many people are wasting too much energy writing about the name for Microsoft’s new search engine—assuming there is going to be one, rather than made-over Windows Live Search. Kumo, Crapo, Frapo, Wacko—who cares? Microsoft could rebrand search Bill Gates, Steve Ballmer, Bozo the Clown or the Muffin Man. Right now, the name shouldn’t matter to anyone, nor will it make much difference against Google’s dominance. Microsoft must fundamentally change how search works.

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Microsoft Finally Finds a Lifestyle It Can Sell

The most successful companies share several attributes in common. Among the most important: They sell a lifestyle. Apple has effectively done this with multiple products, which is unusual. There are separate, yet related, iPod, iPhone and Mac lifestyles. But many buyers pay a premium price to join the Mac club.

There are plenty of other examples. The Harley Davidson lifestyle is the graying, middle-aged guy, dressed in leather and riding his hog or the stereotypical Hell’s Angels type. Pepsi sells a lifestyle, too. In my youth, it was the “Pepsi Generation.” Now it’s the active, youth sports lifestyle around Mtn. Dew, among other Pepsico products.

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There’s a Worm in Retail Apple

My wife suggested that I read Washington Post story, “The Elite Apple Corps: A Hundred Million Strong, Every One of Them Cool.” I live in California! I don’t read the Post anymore, which is why I didn’t see it. The story appears in today’s Style section.

Reporter Hank Stuever hits on what’s wrong with the Apple retail stores. They’re too busy, and so they’re no longer fun.

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What Will Be the Returns?

Today’s New York Times column “An iPhone Changed My Life (Briefly)” hits at the device’s fundamental problem: Hype. There was too much of it—and not really from Apple—that may have over-raised many people’s expectations. The issue Michelle Slatalla raises is one of returns. Will she return her iPhone? She writes, “I have started thinking seriously about returning the $599 phone, despite a 10 percent restocking fee. It hasn’t really changed my life in the ways I’d hoped”.

But she may have started with overly unrealistic expectations, which the runaway hype helped foster. The name includes “phone” for a reason. Apple didn’t promise a device that would cure cancer or feed the starving.