Windows Vista Launch a Success or Failure?

Here is a very interesting “case study” for those involved in marketing, especially technology marketing.

Have you heard of Windows Vista? Yes? Not surprising that, considering the amount of hype, press and advertising going on. Yet, did you know that the latest numbers released by NPD has put Windows Vista’s launch a dismal second to the fantastic performance of Windows XP?

Windows Vista actually managed to drop in unit sales (58% if the numbers are right) compared to Windows XP’s rocket-like performance.

We do not want to analyse this. Better brains than ours are doing it, I am sure. But what I would like to do is to propose a lesson that we of the more humble ilk can learn from this fumble of the giants. Let us look at some facts before we proceed.

  1. Windows Vista launched in January 2007. That is considered a “slow sales season”. Post Christmas. While Windows XP launched in October 2001, just in time for the Christmas frenzy.
  2. Windows XP was available on PCs a month before the boxes, while Windows Vista was available for both at the same time.
  3. Windows Vista has a “family discount” offer but Windows XP did not
  4. There are two more “versions” or “flavours” of Windows Vista compared to Windows XP.
  5. Windows XP launched less than 2 years after Windows Millenium Edition whereas Windows Vista was FIVE YEARS in coming.
  6. Massive marketing for Windows Vista.

Let’s think about what this means:

  • Since both PC and boxes launched at the same time, Windows Vista did not suffer from the problem where potential users would have already purchased the PCs.
  • With FIVE YEARS in between Windows Vista and Windows XP, there should be a huge pent up demand for Windows Vista
  • With more “flavours” available for Windows Vista, there should have been correspondingly more box sales
  • There was so much hype and awareness for Windows Vista relative to what was available for Windows XP then

I would like to take this and point out a very obvious, and not very clever observation for us – K. I. S. S.

Got that? Keep it simple and sharp!

The Windows Vista’s multiple flavours confused users and forced them to stop and think about which is the “most appropriate” version for their needs. It also stopped them from making an impulse buy because all the pricing were different. Feature-rich to the extreme, and confusing licensing rights added to a list of different pricing options will totally paralyse a buyer. Seems obvious to us, but then, hindsight is always perfect sight, yes? Yet, here is a valuable lesson for us.

Price is another consideration. Windows Vista was not just about the new Operating System. Associated with it was a requirement, yes, not an option, but a requirement, that hardware needs to meet certain standards. With the acknowledged average of 3 years for which users change (or purchase) computers, it is quite clear that there is a huge number of folks who has “just” purchased a computer and are unlikely to get a new one just so they can run Windows Vista. I don’t know if I am right, but this looks like a classic example of “leadership arrogance”. Like the whole world will upgrade their CPU, motherboards, BIOS, Video Cards and RAM just so they can run Windows Vista and see their spreadsheet or document scroll around in real 3D?

Anyway, we are not going to explore the details, where great minds would undoubtedly go. We just want to learn the simple lesson. Good marketing, effective marketing, leads to SALES. Beyond any doubt, the marketing execution and concepts for Windows Vista were great. Yet, now that sales are not as wonderful or are below expectations, do you think the marketing people will be praised or maligned?

So, to conclude this simple little piece. Let’s keep our marketing simple. If even big, big Microsoft fumble with a complex, multi-pronged product launch, let us mere mortals beware – let’s just do one launch at a time. Let’s do bite-sized marketing.

Read These Popular Posts (and more filed under “Categories”):

How Much to Pay your Advertising Agency?

Does Pay by Performance works with an Advertising Agency?

How to use Pay by Performance with a Marketing Agency?

Is Your Advertising Agency Really So Lousy?

Or Get a Free Report on Successful Entrepreneurs:

Free Report on Successful Entrepreneurs

[tag]window vista, technology marketing, marketing, marketing campaign, adveritisng campaign, sales of window vista [/tag]

“My AE knows Nuts!”

“My AE knows nuts. He’s no more than a coordinator with a big sounding name.”

Is he nuts?This is another common complain heard from the client side as well as the Account Executive’s own agency, especially from his creative department. I can empathize with the client who believe that the AE should be responsible, at least partially, to help generate awareness and sales, but I can also fully relate to the poor guy who is totally bewildered and clueless of his role and responsibilities (the AE, of course).

The AE is the liaison between his agency and his agency’s client. And within his own agency, he’s got to work closely with creative, art, studio, production, media and more departments to get his projects done. In some way, he is the beef patty in a hamburger, being squeezed from both sides. And he has to manage them all; making sure both sides are happy, i.e., deliver a great campaign for his client and profits to his agency.

Many small agencies choose to hire someone fresh from school or with just 2-3 years’ experience in marketing or sales and leave them to fend for themselves. This is a mistake. Without proper guidance, this rookie AE will likely end up writing tons of contact reports to his clients, and parroting his clients’ wish list to his agency. That would certainly irk them all. Why? Because one expects him to be his extended marketing arm, while the other requires him to bring in a sufficiently complete brief to kick start a brainstorm/creative session.

While seemingly simple, the job of the AE is a complex web of communications, street smarts, market knowledge and a mixture of skills that would make a normal sales man swoon in confusion!

What does it take to be a successful AE? Generally, he would have to be:

Knowledgeable – Good grasp of marketing communications, marketing and sales concepts. Without these, he can’t help to sell anything!

Business savvy – In-depth understanding of the client’s business, the marketplace and his client’s clients.

Analytical and Insightful – Analyze the client’s Agency Brief (see earlier blog Is Your Ad Agency Really So Lousy!), ask intelligent questions, all these information plus own insights to write a Creative Brief for his agency. The creative brief, like the client’s agency brief, could make or break a project.

Good interpersonal skills – Extremely useful in getting things done within the agency where almost all projects are important or urgent. This is also of paramount importance in escalating the client-agency relationship to new heights.

AE’s job is no mean feat and may not suit everyone. But for those who enjoy and flourish as AE, good for them. I know for sure they would cherish every moment of success and were wiser from every knocks and falls.

PS: I received a few interesting and hilarious feedback on this post and that spurred me to write more details on How to Hire and Spot a Good AE (Account Executive). Check it out!

Read These Popular Posts (and more filed under “Categories”):

Is Your Advertising Agency Really So Lousy?

How Much to Pay your Advertising Agency?

Does Pay by Performance works with an Advertising Agency?

How to use Pay by Performance with a Marketing Agency?

Or Get a Free Report on Successful Entrepreneurs:

Free Report on Successful Entrepreneurs

[tags]ad agency, advertising agency, marketing agency, AE, Account Executive, Advertising Executive, Criteria for hiring Account Executive, Qualities of Account Executive[/tags]

Is Your Marketing or Advertising Agency Really So Lousy?

“My advertising agency is so lousy!”.

This is one common complaint you can hear in the advertising industry. Having worked both sides of the fence, I can sympathize with the poor agencies who get knocked on the head, and I can empathize with the clients who see good money wasted on hapless campaigns.

But since that statement is made “client side”, let me address it from
there. Surprisingly, there are great agencies with fantastic creative
teams that produce really shoddy work. How can this be? The same
award winning team for XYZ Brand comes over to market your absolutely
fabulous product and makes a boo-boo out of it.

Now, all things being equal, it is unlikely that the team has consumed
all their creativity and are now empty husks working on your account!
I would like to propose one highly possible, and most likely cause for
this strange phenomena.

This is related to a little piece of paper which we often call an
“Agency Brief” or as most Marketing Executives like to call it “my
boss unreasonable demand that I stay up past midnight to finish this
silly brief”. You see, the Executive thinks that the product is so
well known, the company is so famous, the agency is so capable, there
is nothing that needs to be said. Go for the meeting, tell them we
want a nice creative advertisement for our Chinese New Year offer,
throw in a poster and a direct mailer. Done. No need for some silly
“Agency Brief”.

That’s not the right attitude.

To get the most out of your advertising agency, you, as a client; will need to take some time and effort to create a solid Agency Brief. No matter that the agency has been with your company for 10 years. No matter that the guys and gals there live and breath your products “too”. Unlike you, they do NOT work for your company. They each likely have lots of other clients, other projects.

How do you create a good Agency Brief? You will have to cover all grounds from your company’s perspective to the marketplace to your clients’. On a broad stroke, you will need to cover these bare essentials at the very least:

– Objectives, what exactly are you hoping to achieve
– Target audience, who will likely be the ones to buy your product
– Your offer mechanics
– Your desired effect or results
– Your budget

– Your time line

I hope that today’s entry will be helpful to some. Creating an Agency
Brief is perhaps the most fundamental ingredient for a client who
really wishes to get the best out of his advertising agency. Of
course, this applies if you are working with a freelance designer, a
graphics house or any other creative agencies.

Drop me an email at vivienne@versacreations.com if you like to know more on writting an agency brief.

You might also like to pop over to David Airey’s site to read his views on How to Write a Graphic Design Brief.

My next blog, My AE knows Nuts will be looking at this same issue, but from the perspective of the poor beleaguered Accounts Manager.

Read These Popular Posts (and more filed under “Categories”):

How Much to Pay your Advertising Agency?

Does Pay by Performance works with an Advertising Agency?

How to use Pay by Performance with a Marketing Agency?

[tags]ad agency, advertising agency, marketing agency, agency brief, creative brief, how to brief ad agency, how to brief marketing and advertinsg campaign[/tags]

Crazy End to The Crazy Horse

Some might say that it is no surprise that The Crazy Horse ended its run less than a year after a grand entrance.

It was proudly hailed as a show-piece for the advancing society that was the Singapore of tomorrow. Its demise has been blamed on restrictions imposed upon the company’s marketing activities. It was the marketer’s nightmare come through, when The Crazy Horse was not allowed to put advertisements in the print media, they could not advertise on Television (no TV!?), and of course, posters and billboards were a big “NO”.

Can any business survive with a choke-hold placed on its marketing? But maybe, the question can be asked in a more positive light. Besides the obvious points that many have made, that no business can survive without active, creative marketing campaigns; we can also ask if there is a lesson to be learnt.

Was the marketing attitude and thinking too “traditional”? Because The Crazy Horse could not run an advertisement in the local newspaper, does that mean there is no way to advertise? Because they could not print posters with topless women, does that mean that they could produce no posters at all?

Unfortunately, the time to ask these questions have come, and gone.

A creative approach to marketing is not about nice graphics, or the perfect layout. Its not about spending millions in media buying. It is about getting your message out to your audience, and getting results.

We will likely explore some ways where action can be taken, with an eye on results.

Read These Popular Posts (and more filed under “Categories”):

How Much to Pay your Advertising Agency?

Does Pay by Performance works with an Advertising Agency?

How to use Pay by Performance with a Marketing Agency?

Is Your Advertising Agency Really So Lousy?

Or Get a Free Report on Successful Entrepreneurs:

Free Report on Successful Entrepreneurs