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Microsoft’s Classical Marketing Issues

Review of Microsoft's advertising strategy from a brand positioning perspective

Microsoft consistently scores well in its overall internet marketing efforts. It’s regularly has one or two videos in the top-10 viewing lists; it gets wide-ranging online news coverage; and it has large social networking interaction. But a close look at their traditional advertising campaigns shows where they are lacking.

Often, brand management’s marketing intentions are hidden on the internet because there are so many things going on at once and so many of them are outside of the control of them. However, in the offline world, where marketers have total control over their message and its distribution, their strategies and tactics become much more transparent.

And that’s where we see Microsoft’s strengths and weaknesses. Let’s look at three of their current campaigns.

  • Bing – I actually like this campaign a lot. It stakes out a brand position for Bing vs. Google – Bing is a “Decision Engine”, not a search engine. And it tries to make the claim that there is too much clutter in results pages with search as we know it, but not so with Bing. Microsoft has a number of hurdles to overcome with their product vs. Google and with Google’s overall presence, but at least they have focused their product design and their marketing effort around a grounded brand position.
  • Windows 7 – I don’t know what to say about this. What is their brand position? What is their message? People are PCs? People designed Windows 7 while showering? (And of course, who can forget those memorable Windows 7 launch parties that they promoted?) Contrast their ads to Apple’s. Enough said.
  • Xbox – For a company locked in a major battle for supremacy in the gaming console business, Microsoft has been relatively quiet on this front. Their gaming division is finally profitable and they have a great product, especially with their Xbox Live service. I would think that now’s the time to ramp up their efforts. No effort is sometimes worse than bad effort.

Domus is a classically trained marketing agency with an innovative and technological focus. For more information, visit our web site at http://www.domusinc.com.

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