Justin Kownacki is great at taking down marketing douchebags, but misses the mark when talking about Microsoft’s Windows 7 campaign.
The basic premise is that he takes Microsoft to task for treating the customer like they don’t understand the technology, they don’t care about the technology, and they’re lazy. He is wrong – this campaign supports the customer and their goals.
This is the overarching campaign, though Justin talks through several other examples:
This is not insulting to customers. In fact, it’s holding customers in the highest regard – by listening to them, and showing that you care about what they have to say. That’s the goal of the campaign, and it does the job well.
Justin also says that Microsoft thinks that its customers don’t care if it steals ideas from them – how dare the big bad corporation! But, in concrete, practical ways, we’re seeing that customers are delighted when companies listen to them, and use their feedback in products. They want to have a relationship with the brand, and that means two-way communication. This campaign is designed to show the customer that Microsoft listened, and responded. It’s perfect that way.
This message has been reinforced in every other channel, as well, showing a high level of integration. Computing industry and blog reviews of the product have been overwhelmingly positive for months, noting specifically that Microsoft has listened to the requests of its customers to make a simpler, easier-to-use system.
Now, Microsoft is an easy target to throw a pot shot at – maybe it’s true that Windows 7 is what Vista should have been. But here again, we see a strong indication that Microsoft is listening more and harder than ever before – Vista wasn’t a strong enough product, so it’s being phased out.
And, the bottom line is that people don’t care how the technology works. People want to do things and make things. Microsoft is just saying they want to support everyone’s doing and making. What’s so Orwellian about that?
2 Replies to “Windows 7 Campaign Hits the Mark”
You say Microsoft respects their customers because it listens to their suggestions and delivers them a product they should be happy to own. I think Microsoft treats their customers like idiots because they hope people will be so happy someone “listened” to their complaints, they won’t stop to ask why Microsoft was expecting them to buy substandard products in the first place.
Both Microsoft and Apple celebrate consumers’ vanity and ignorance. The difference is in tone: Apple wants you to feel like the smartest, hippest person in the room; Microsoft just wants you to know Dad finally listened.
I think it’s tough to not treat someone like an idiot in a 30 second spot…Apple does the same thing with its ads (Macs are cool); Ford says, literally, “Built Ford Tough”.
This is a marketing question, not a product development question – the marketing departments play the cards they are dealt. So the question of “substandard” is a red herring.
But, thanks for the comment!
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