Being in the SMB space as I am with my business, I used to be totally amazed at what I saw as Microsoft’s marketing to my target audience. Or perhaps I should say ‘what I saw as Microsoft’s complete lack of marketing to my target audience’. I am no longer amazed – I just realize that this is life.
A couple of years ago Microsoft was doing a promotion for us partners where they would subsidize part of a direct mail campaign. I thought this was great – get someone else to share the bill. I made the big MISTAKE of assuming that all of their business school Advertising MBA’s would know so much more than I would about how to design a marketing piece for the Small Business customers. Because of my mistake, I just picked one of their canned postcard ‘pieces’ and went with it. I sent out about 1,500 pieces. I have done direct mail marketing on my own previously and have some experince with the statistical percentages. I don’t expect to get a 10% or 20% response rate. I know that 0.8% might be great. What I never got on any of my own marketing campaigns was ZERO.ZEROZERO percent. When I saw that I received NOTHING in return I went back and for the first time really thought about the piece. What a joke. The ‘call to action’ for the small business owner was to call some 800 number (way out of our local area it is assumed) and request a white paper – a white paper – for god sakes!
Small Business owners are not sitting around in their cube looking for something to do 4 weeks from now when their white paper arrives and they can take a latte and a croissant and kick back and spend an hour reading a white paper. Small Business owners get out of bed in the morning and hit the ground RUNNING. RUNNING – not waiting to read a white paper!
I sell and support Microsoft Small Business Server networks. So, it is no longer a surprise to me that I have NEVER sold a Small Business Server to a customer that had EVER heard about SBS before!
Now comes Response Point. Every chance I get I suggest to the Response Point product people that it would be great for us (partners) and them (Microsoft) if they would market the product to the consumer. I’m hoping someone will agree – but haven’t heard it yet.
Now – to what prompted this post. I was in the Staples office supply store in my neighborhood yesterday and observed this marketing statement of Microsoft Office Accounting Professional. Need I say more?