(via Scoble) It seems our friendly competitors to the north are doing some marketing homework up there. Pretty interesting article in CMO Magazine talking about all this — The Ultimate Bug Fix. At one point in the piece, Steve Ballmer talks about the engineering-marketing-PR-launch sequence:
happened without much front-end input from the folks in marketing. Engineers would develop
new software, pack it with bells and whistles, decide on an acceptable number of bugs and
toss it over to marketing for a press release and a launch event.
“The old Microsoft marketing style was that you did an event, and then you waited for the next
product release, and then you did another event,” Ballmer said to the marketing recruits. Facetious,
perhaps, but the message was clear. Microsoft was not using its marketing function strategically.
Sound familiar? It does to me. Anyway, the article talks about how Microsoft’s marketing and engineering teams are now working more closely together and how the company is improving its customer research tools and focusing on something called “relationship marketing.” Ok, I get that collaboration part. But I’m not sure what relationship marketing is, and the two links in the story don’t offer much more than traditional marketing buzzwords. However, in a Q&A Mich Mathews, Microsoft’s SVP corporate marketing, is very specific:
tools and processes that allow us to have an ongoing conversation with our customers.
Ah, ok. The conversation word, again. I get it. But it seemed buried in the article. And no mention of all those Microsoft engineers talking to all those developers via all those blogs? I bet that’s where the real action is. On the edge. With the developers. That’s the way it seems here, anyway.
Next Mathews, like Ballmer, takes a poke at launches (good):
or doing an event when it should have been back under the hood with the engineers figuring
out the next version [of a product] that’s not going to be on the market for another two years.
This bit about marketing and engineering collaboration is a very good point. Our marketing and engineering teams could stand a little more collaborating, too. But because of how much of our software is open source, we have the opportunity to go much further than Microsoft. As our marketing and engineering teams collaborate more closely internally, we need to also consider crossing the firewall and including community developers externally more frequently as if they were in the office right next door. I don’t see any hint of that in this article, which is good, but I do see it emerging on OpenSolaris — engineering is leading and getting closer to the community and marketing is beginning to directly engage in the community conversation as well. When OpenSolaris goes live, marketing at Sun will never be the same.