Collaborative Marketing

I knew this would happen — Help the OpenSolaris marketing project! I just knew we’d start to see more blogs like this pointing to really good ideas and suggestions for community involvement in marketing on the OpenSolaris project. There have been a steady flow of these blogs from many community members over the last 18 months, but more are cropping up recently, of course.

The OpenSolaris marketing community started way back … way back in the pilot days. There were a lot of pilot guys who wanted to help with all kinds of marketing activities. They generated so much traffic on the main pilot discuss list that I figured they should really have their own list — which back then was a "press" list to discuss how the media was characterizing Solaris (pre Solaris 10 launch) and the emergence of OpenSolaris. I used it to basically evangelize to our small pilot community the value of talking back in public, responding, praising, blogging — just making some noise. We also had this strange situation where we wanted the pilot community to blog aggressively, but we made them sign an NDA to get into the pilot in the first place. NDAs are not known for their openness, so we were always having conversations about what the pilot community could blog about and what was over the line. We tried to be as liberal as possible, and I think we achieved that because the community was blogging away and we really never ran in to a problem. Additionally, back then the critics were saying that the "OpenSolaris community doesn’t exist" so we figured we’d make ’em take notice. We started with, well, zero bloggers, but it ramped up pretty quickly, and now they are all over the place. That all grew into the marketing community of today, which has many people involved at Sun (including the new marketing team that formed around mid-pilot time) and outside Sun. We never launched the "press" list since it was focused too narrowly (and I didn’t want to manage it :)), and they now talk on mktg-discuss.

I think developers are natural evangelists — you can see it in their blogs and mail lists and you can hear it in their voices. It’s obvious. We have about 30 communities on the project now, and I think the marketing community has a real opportunity to doing something bold here … something no one has ever done before at Sun. And when the history of this project is written, the OpenSolaris developers and marketers at Sun and the OpenSolaris developers and marketers outside the company will be able share the credit equally. That’s never happened before. That’s community marketing based on collaboration.

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One thought on “Collaborative Marketing

  1. Thanks Jim! I think you’re dead right : the developers <em>are</em> the best marketers of OpenSolaris. The questions I’ve been asking myself boil down to : “Given there’s already got all these excellent folks happily doing their own marketing, is there anything we can do to help them out ?” – hope this is useful..

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