They’ve been trying to reinvent themselves so badly. Have you seen the Microsoft Store in your local mall? They opened one here in San Diego the same weekend that the new iPhone released.
It was like advertising just how far behind you are. Not only was their store near the Apple Store, you actually had to walk past a completely empty store with all of it’s employees in bright bold shirts to contrast the black shirts at the Apple Store. Walking by you were left with no other choice but to say… “Why?” People even stopped to take pictures because there was such a contrast. Apple had several hundred people waiting 4-5 hours to get in to buy a product. And Microsoft? They had no one.
And now this. It’s not just that the product failed. It’s that they alerted the media, arranged for Mashable to cover it, and let it leak that they think their new device is an iPad killer.
They paraded out their presenter, bright colors to contrast that they aren’t Apple. And the stupid thing crashes.
You have to feel bad for the presenter. The whole time he’s talking you have to know he is thinking… “JUST WORK.” And it doesn’t. It crashes, freezes, and he goes to find another.
What does this have to do with marketing?
Easy. Copying is always bad marketing. Holding a keynote, dressing the guy up like a blue version of Steve Jobs, and trying to parade your product before the world before its ready was a very dumb idea. It could only fail. Even if the device hadn’t failed everyone in that room is thinking the same thing, “It was like an Apple keynote without one more thing.”
It would have been far better to just drop the thing on Amazon.com unannounced. Or it would have been better for them to leak pictures of them being tested at a Foxcon factory in China. Or if they’d mailed 50 influencers beta devices to play with, brag about, and build hype. It would have been better to have an article in WIRED talking about how this device is perfect for business and IT professionals love it because it will work great on their existing networks. Finally, it would have been better to point out that Apple is expensive and snobby while Microsoft’s new device is a bargain and works with the stuff you already have.
But that’s not what Microsoft did. They still don’t know why they are losing marketshare. It’s not the strength of the device, it’s the strength of creating a culture around a brand.
By copying Apple one more time Microsoft just spent another bagillion dollars reminding former customers why they left for Apple in the first place– Microsoft is always 2 steps behind Apple.
Simple marketing rule #1: Never remind your customer why they like your competitor more.
3 Lessons for Small Business Owners
- Let your marketing represent who you truly are.
- Your product is your best marketing tool, make it awesome.
- Ultimately, you want customers who are FOR YOU and not buying your product because they are AGAINST your competitor.