Windows 7 campaign needs to go all the way

29Nov09

The latest round of Windows 7 ads is resonating. Sales are up, bloggers are coming to Redmond’s defense; basically MSFT marketing is partying like it’s 1995. But something is missing from the campaign. They say customers came up with the ideas for Win 7. Microsoft has so far provided little evidence to back this up. What’s worse they don’t have anything to capture all the ideas for the next version already under development.

Where is the “Suggest a Feature” or “Fix a Problem” area of the Windows site? Are they going to give us what we want from reading our minds? Sure, they do focus groups and Voice of the Customer stuff behind the scenes, but why hide it? Microsoft put your money where your ad budget is and start getting our input directly.

Give us a Win 8 online suggestion box, create a “I Want Windows 8 to…” Facebook group, advocate hashtags to Tweet new ideas. Use that for the Windows social microsite and the Macy’s Holiday window display instead of the Win 7 love fest. At Microsoft stores, flip the whole Genius Bar/Answer Desk around and get customers to give suggestions.

This latest marketing effort is quite smart in that it touches on one unspoken weakness of Apple. The “Think Different” cabal builds products from on high and Steve Jobs carries them down from the mountain. We are in awe at how cool and perfect they are, yet have little say in the process.

If MSFT wants to really get the microphone back from Cupertino they need to show that the success of the “I’m a PC” message is not an accident but the direct byproduct of being fanatical at turning feedback into products.

Disclosure: I used to work for Microsoft and have a Windows 7 PC and a Mac.

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