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One Simply Doesn’t Pivot Into Surface Sales, OK Microsoft?

One Simply Doesn’t Pivot Into Surface Sales, OK Microsoft?

Off to a modest start…

According to many of the market analysts Microsoft’s dip of the toe into the hardware market with the Surface RT is off to a modest start.

I’m prepared to reserve judgment until after the holiday sales and just hope that Redmond have a plan to bring their A-game to Surface hardware sales and marketing.

So far the Metro UI “eye-candy”, click keyboard, see the ad everywhere approach coupled with sales from brick and mortar Microsoft Stores seem to garnering mixed reactions.

In my last post I suggested that Microsoft has to combat “the suspension of imagination”, consumers have become used to spoonfed UX and there is limited desire to explore or imagine other, even better ways of using tablets, laptops etc. The Windows 8 Ecosystem is going to have to combat this mindset not because there is anything wrong with the UX but because it is something radically different.

One simply doesn’t Pivot Into Surface Sales, OK Microsoft?

Applying existing business models and marketing strategies to high-end electronics, hardware and then selling that hardware based on technical aspects is a partial strategy at best.

One simply doesn’t pivot into Surface (hardware) sales without modifying strategy. (It was irresistible, sorry)


What we are seeing is classic Microsoft but if they really want the Surface RT and (impending) Pro to sell they need to add to what they are doing.

Reexamine what works…

Microsoft should be taking a cold, hard look at what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to how they and of course, their competitors have sold in the past.

Two of Microsoft’s greatest successes IMHO were: –

  1. The Windows 7 Unbranded Experiment: After the consumers basically took up pitchforks and burning torches due to the usability issues around Windows Vista a lot of hard work went into analyzing the factors that displeased the user and resolving them. In doing so Windows 7, possibly the best Windows experience until now was developed. A version was installed on laptops without any Microsoft or Windows branding and Microsoft took it to the streets and shopping malls to allow consumers to try the Mystery OS without any preconceptions or prejudice based on Vista. Consumers whole-heartedly loved it.
  2. I’m a Mac, I’m a PC: The incredibly amusing series of spoof ads with slim, young, hip Justin Long as the cool Mac and stodgy, unfashionably dressed John Hodgman as the PC were designed to highlight how easy and accessible Mac was whilst taking a light-hearted poke at poor, old PC.

I’m a Mac Ad via YouTube user pippintk.

The Warptest Perspective…

Seeing ads on billboards, YouTube and TV. Watching your favorite TV show solve a crime or foil international skullduggery with a Surface RT in hand is excellent. Whilst I’m not advocating a repeat of the Unbranded Experiment shouldn’t Redmond be seriously considering having Microsoft Surface Experts in every shopping mall and in the streets? Get the Surface devices into consumers’ hands and let them see for themselves what it’s all about. Have the Experts show them how intuitive Windows 8 / RT is and let the hardware win over consumers’ hearts and minds for itself.

Secondly, bring I’m a Mac, I’m a PC back and turn it on its head (unless there are copyright issues of course) but instead of just contrasting your competition against your product also show the abilities of the Surface Pro vs the RT. However, don’t… DON’T talk about ARM vs Intel processors! To the average consumer this might as well be Martian. Below is Microsoft’s “what to buy” chart but let’s face it if your winning strategy is an infographic then you really need a wake up call.

Chart embedded from Microsoft Surface Site: NB. it looks different when opened in browser. But you get the idea.

The revolution is here and soon the tablet next to you on that bus, train or in that coffee shop is going to be a Surface. Now imagine yourself using it.


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