9/20 – UPDATE: Seth just wrote a pretty similar article to this one.
Before I tear into Microsoft, let’s talk a little bit about the experience of dealing with an Apple Genius.
The best thing about Geniuses is that they don’t come across as employees – they’re just passionate Apple users. I don’t mind talking to them because their behavior doesn’t signal that they are being paid to talk to me. It comes across as a very genuine interaction. Geniuses don’t even actively try to make me buy something. Seriously, they’re barely a step above Barnes & Noble employees when it comes to pressuring sales.
Microsoft Gurus, however, are going to be giving demos to the tune of “See how Vista doesn’t suck as much as you thought?” Apple’s Geniuses are perceived as passionate users. Microsoft doesn’t really have many passionate users at this point (other than Steve Ballmer), so these poor Gurus are going to come across as thinly-veiled shills who are restraining their desperation.
My point is this:
When you have a product that is great and can sell itself (Apple), it doesn’t matter that there’s someone (Genius) who is encouraging the sale. But when you have a product that’s perceived to be awful (Vista), anyone’s claims to the contrary (Gurus) are going to be perceived as highly specious.
Vista genuinely sucked for software that spent 5 years in development, and customers spoke up. The “Get A Mac” ads didn’t tarnish Vista, and the Mojave ads won’t save it. Advertising was never the true cause of Microsoft’s problems, nor is it the solution.
Microsoft – Put your marketing money into making a better product; one that will sell itself because people love it.
One last thing…
My favorite thing that I noticed while writing this post was that the Mojave Experiment site didn’t work for me. Reason? I needed to install Silverlight in order to watch the videos.
Putting up a barrier for customers to watch your ads online? BRILLIANT! Oh, Microsoft…