You can feel the excitement in the air. It’s a tense buzz of anticipation and expectations. The kind of feeling I used to get just before my birthday, or Christmas. There’s a hope for what’s to come. A grand delusion thought up in every one of our heads. It’s what makes us fans and evangelists. It keeps us happy, yet lets us down just a little if these expectations aren’t fulfilled. It’s time for Microsoft and Windows Phone to step it up BIG TIME in the marketing department.
As an avid fan and evangelist, I’ve got some ideas.
Microsoft has A LOT of work to do in convincing the mobile market and consumers that WP is the better platform. In the past two years both consumers and retailers hardly gave it a passing glance. The OS was good, stable, and offered advantages over the competition but was hardly (if ever) mentioned by carriers or retailers -I know all too well, I was one of them. I noticed the passive ignorance, skepticism, and lack of enthusiasm. It almost reaches an apex of scoffs and cynicism towards the OS.- One reason out of many that WP struggles accepting is there is no HUGE innovative advantages to the OS that Android or iOS doesn’t yet have. The biggest things going for it is its unique UI, connected services, social network integration, and Live Tiles (which technically falls under UI). Retailers need more and more training. The more training and familiarization with an OS the better equipped they are to legitimately and effectively qualify the customer and match the phone to their needs. Nokia made an awesome move in giving each at&t RSP a Lumia 900 when it launched. The skeptical attitude towards the OS stopped almost overnight and Nokia sold a lot of handsets because of it.
They need to show off every awesome facet of WP in a all out blitz of advertising and public excitement. They need to get people noticing them and get the average consumer to ask their mobile carriers about Windows Phone. Lack of attention can kill a brand, look at WebOS and BlackBerry, one dead and gone the other circling the drain and gasping for air. Lots of recent talk of this possibility for Windows Phone, If MS/WP cant get consumers attention this might befall our beloved OS. Marketing and brand awareness needs to be approached with the same enthusiasm and resolve that us fans have! They need consumers to fall in love with the Windows Phone OS and its many services. Three methods need to happen. Go big. Go bold. Don’t stop. Microsoft needs to take some of their profits and invest it in marketing Windows Phone.
Not only do they need to gain attention and an amorous consumer following (besides us WP hipsters), but they need to gain some massive developer adoption. Hopefully with a little hype, some pleading, a few monetary bonuses, and perhaps some promises of increased mobile market share. Me personally, I think the app count is ok. We don’t need 650,000 apps in the Store. We just need a couple dozen more big name apps and official brand apps. The big names from Zynga and other such companies is what is important. The quality of apps needs to be acme. There’s no worse frustration than using an app that doesn’t work properly or doesn’t get updated on a regular basis. There needs to be a clear and simple way of contacting app developers if the app has issues, even for the big name or official apps. Most do have a feature like this, but not all. The next time that super cool and trendy app comes out on iOS and/or Android, MS needs to step in and say “Hey! Don’t forget us!” and offer them some incentives for developing on this OS. Soon enough devs will climb aboard on their own and soon after you’ll start hearing TV and radio ads say “Available on iPhone, iPad, Android, and Windows Phone!”.
On the subject of TV and radio, it’s imperative to attack the media with a barrage of ad spots. Not just TV or radio, but expand onto newspapers, magazines, social networks, websites, airports, busses, subways, billboards and even podcasts! Podcasts are an awesome and intimate way of reaching consumers. The podcasts most of us listen to are free because they are funded by sponsors. Windows Phone should get hip this, quick! If not Windows Phone then HTC and/or Nokia themselves. If you give the people running or doing the podcast an HTC 8X, teach them how to use it and what’s awesome about it, then offer sponsorship money I’m more than certain they’ll go for it. The audiences of popular podcasts are super loyal and would listen to a recommendation from their favorite show. This is often overlooked by big corporations. Companies like Amazon, Audible, and Citrix got in quick and are reaping the benefits. It would be super smart for WP, HTC or Nokia to do the same. They could even give celebrities free devices and ask them to talk or tweet about it on a regular basis!
That’s about it, really.
This is all it takes to succeed. It’ll cost millions, if not billions, but as the saying goes; “You have to spend money to make money.” and we as fans can’t pick up all the slack.
However there are some pretty clever and innovative ways that Windows Phone or their manufacturers could spend very little to no money and still create consumer awareness. Anyone have any ideas? Share them in the comment section below. If I left anything on the table please enlighten us on the things I forgot to mention.