How Would You Market Windows?

By  |  Monday, April 6, 2009 at 12:22 am

Technologizer on TwitterOver in the comments on my post about Microsoft’s new “Giampaolo ad,” blogger/Microsoft employee Bob Caswell asked me how I’d market Windows. I didn’t give a full-blown answer–hey, I’m grateful that it’s not my problem. I was, however, inspired to pose the same question to my pals over on Twitter (where I’m @harrymccracken and a feed of all Technologizer stories is available at @technologizer). After the jump, you can see what they (and a Facebook friend or three) had to say.


2 campaigns, one gaming/media one Exchange/AD, heavily targeted to demonstrate unique capabilities and not “me too” features


Windows: Your PC, your way. Then show 100 ppl with 100 PCs in rapid succession, all different types and price points.


give all the money i could spend to marketing agency that works for apple; b/c they do amazing stuff


Productivity and Creativity, that’s Windows.


How to market Windows? Don’t. Create new brand. Windows was a 90s brand. Create the next big brand from the genius of MS


Advert Windows as the choice for choice & flexibility. The OS that you choose the system for, not an OS choosing it for you.


Show a basic ($600) PC, then show a HD upgrade, then RAM, audio card,graphics etc..”MS, we help put the personal in the PC”


Windows lost the cool war, so stop trying. Make it the choice of the professional. Thats what they should emphasize


I would use my money to fix Vista’s issues instead of doing Gates vs. Seinfield, and other useless ads


I’d clearly articulate what it means to be LIVE and stick to one simple registration process. I’d void out all of the relic Passport/MSN/hotmail/Spaces account and make it optional for people to start without 500 meaningless legacy accounts.


I’d sell ONE version for $77, and build the entire marketing campaign around the cultural/historic significance of the number seven. Seven days of creation. Seven wonders of the world. Seven major musical notes. Mickey Mantle.


PC v. Mac: Steal from Apple iPhone. Show cool applications and games for 16-25 demographic that ony run on a PC, but not on a Mac.

Peter Kastner (via Facebook)

Hire someone who actually knew the product as used by real people. Focus on how good Vista/Windows 7 has become. Demo adding a networked printer, which is way easier than on a Mac. Focus on ease of everyday activities.

Any more ideas?


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Yikes Says:

    I wouldn’t advertise Windows at all until Windows 7 comes out. The ROI would be abysmal because 1) Vista didn’t quite make the grade, XP users are not really convinced about its virtues ; 2) the vast majority of people will buy a Windows PC no matter what, without even considering a Mac or a Linux distro. So why care?

    Once W7 is out, mount a campaign emphasizing its strong points to convince the installed base of *hundreds of millions* XP users to upgrade. Provide a compelling argument: it runs great on netbooks, I don’t know, but Microsoft should be able to explain why its OS is better than XP and Vista.

  2. Anne Weiskopf Says:

    Create the Windows-based equivalent of an iPhone and iPod – something that brands Microsoft to GenY when they are 9 years old!

  3. pond Says:

    To whom is Windows supposed to be marketed?

    90% + of windowsOS sales are to OEMs like HP, Lenovo, Dell, and so on. To them the marketing is simple: ‘Buy Windows to preinstall because if you don’t your computers won’t sell. People won’t buy a no-OS computer, and people will return a computer if they bring it home and find it’s Linux and won’t run any of their windows-only apps that they paid good money for.’

    A lot of ancillary ‘windowsOS sales’ are to developers: getting them to develop programs for windows rather than for OSX, Linux, Java. Winning this battle is widely thought to be the edge in the Windows-OS2 war. Marketing to developers involves making developer tools available, publishing the information developers need to work with windowsOS, hand-holding, ego-boosting evangelism.

    Not too many windowsOS sales are directly to us users. The days are long gone since we stood in lines outside stores to be able to purchase Win95.

    So, to get at more of what you mean, if I were MSFT, I would market to developers and users both at once in print and TV ads: showcasing ‘cheap’ hardware that consumers ‘settle for’ because we are not ‘cool’ enough to get Apple gear is ridiculous. Instead, highlight software: all those wonderful programs that help you do what you want to do. Then end it all with ‘Only on Windows.’ This showcases, enhances the developers, makes them feel appreciated, and brings them money with further sales; and it stresses what you can do on a windowsOS computer that is simply unavailable on a Mac or Linux or BSD box.

    A further wrinkle to this might be killing the ‘Mac vs PC’ ads by parody: the PC shows off this new program and how it made his life easier. Mac looks on enviously, until PC asks, ‘Why don’t you use this, it’s great!’ and Mac glumly answers, ‘That’s not available on a Mac…’

    WindowsOS is a whole digital ecosystem, more than just the OS and the MSFT programs. Stress that, and MSFT should manage to hold on to a slowly-fading monopoly.

  4. Gil Bates Says:

    Windows. To Serve Man.