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Cannes Lions 2010: Playing underdog, the Microsoft way

24-June-2010
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Cannes Lions 2010: Playing underdog, the Microsoft way

Microsoft is one of the key players in its space, but it knows there are areas where it has to catch up with the competition. There are times when it plays the underdog, when it plays the overdog, and when it just plays the game marketers play. Mich Mathews, Senior VP, Central Marketing Group, Microsoft, spoke on some of the advantages of being the underdog and also acting the overdog.

Commenting on some of the new initiatives of Microsoft, including Windows 7 and the marketing around it, she said, “We had a good year of new products, where on a global basis we sought feedback and suggestion on what our customers thought, what features they liked or did not like. In a sense, they had a hand in creating what we had built. Customers like the product, but they also want credit. And you can never give your customers enough credit. Our marketing recognised and celebrated that.”

Bing was a challenge for Microsoft and the company recognised that. Given its previous experience with search, Microsoft decided not to go head to head in the marketing of Bing, but first create dissatisfaction in the category. “If you are going to use Google every single day, you are not getting the work done. Find the cure in Bing.com, and we positioned it as the decision engine from Microsoft,” informed Mathews. Microsoft took advantage of being the underdog in this area.

Mathews added, “When you are the underdog, you get to be goofy, you get to take risks. Underdogs get to be reverent.”

Technology continues to change, and for Microsoft, the natural user interface became an exciting area of work, that had implications on voice, contextual relevance, touch and movement. At this point, Microsoft announced its forthcoming Windows 7 based mobile.

Kostas Mallios, GM, strategy and Business Development, Corporate R&D, Microsoft Corporation took the audience through the yet to be launched piece and the seamless experience that it claims. Mallios said that the new mobile was more of an ad-serving machine. He explained, “For instance, the applications on this are built to keep people informed and engaged. So, brands can be sending news and information to the consumer and stay in touch with him.”

The session ended with the updates on other Microsoft products like the Xbox 360.

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