Tag: 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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When Magazines Mattered

To promote the Macintosh 22 years ago, Apple purchased all—as in every—ad space in the Newsweek 1984 election issue. That was 39 pages.

The folks over at Graphical User Interface Gallery (aka Guidebook) have preserved every page from that Newsweek issue. It was a time when magazine advertising really mattered, unlike today when the Internet undermines magazine circulation. 

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Must Be: Familiar, Approachable, Extending and Better Enough

My prevailing thinking on why high-tech products succeed or fail boils down to four criteria. Editor’s Note 2/8/2014: I expanded the number to eight and wrote book about them: The Principles of Disruptive Design.

A product must:

  1. Build on the familiar
  2. Do what it’s supposed to do really well
  3. Allow people to do something they wished they could do
  4. When displacing something else, offer significantly better experience
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Microsoft vs Mac Marketing

I want to take a look at just one of the ways Apple, with its puny computer marketshare, out-markets Microsoft. It’s all in the presentation.

Gander at these two websites: Apple’s iLife `04 and Microsoft’s Plus! Digital Media Edition. Each site hawks the respective company’s digital media suite. But, Apple does a much better job making its product enticing. [Update: 10/2009: Links removed because the original websites are gone.]