An Elaboration on Microsoft’s Marketing Secrets…

There are five key reasons why I believe Microsoft has been so financially successful.

1. Big, bold, aggressively pursued vision.
2. Aggressive recruitment of the smartest people
3. Drive and hard work by everyone
4. Creating win-win’s for businesses
5. Creating win-win’s for individuals

Let me now describe what I believe to be Microsoft’s marketing secrets to success. Because the first three are outside the realm of marketing, I’ll skip past them and start with the fourth one:

4. Creating win-win’s for businesses

IBM had a problem. They had a computer to sell but they didn’t have an operating system to drive their computer. And, their software people were telling them it was going to be at least two years before they could have a reliable operating system ready.

Being the sales-driven company that IBM was/is, all they needed was someone to provide them with an operating system and they could start selling personal computers right away – and gain the marketing advantage of being “first to market”.

That’s where Bill Gates came into the picture. He told IBM that he could provide them with the operating system they needed within 6 months – creating a win-win for both Bill and his dream and IBM for their goal of “first to market” personal computer dominance.

Now, IBM did make some “concessions” that seem foolish at this point. But, at the same time, the reason Bill Gates was able to get these concessions was because he really was creating a win for IBM.

On the flip side, Bill had to make several concessions too – and some of these could have really worked against him given the right/wrong circumstances. For example, Bill had to agree that when IBM had their own operating system ready, Microsoft’s DOS would be out and IBM’s operating system would be in.

From my perspective, IBM’s two big mistakes were: A) failing to realize the importance of the software side up front, B) arrogantly thinking that they could take over the software side when they were ready.

As history has shown, Microsoft out-implemented and out-executed IBM in the realm of personal computer software – because of the first three keys: vision, smart people, and hard work.

And, as history has also shown, where and when it made sense for them to do so, Microsoft has been incredibly good – far better than most – at creating win-win relationships with other businesses.

But, there was an even more important side to their marketing smartness…

5. Creating win-win’s for individuals

Prior to Microsoft Windows, the computers that commercial businesses used were big and the software that ran them was expensive.

In particular, the compilers and linkers needed to create software generally started in the $250,000 range and went up from there. Obviously, that meant that only businesses with deep financial pockets were going to be creating any software.

But then, Bill Gates came along and started telling people who were “tech-heads”, “Hey, I’ve got this new little operating system called Windows and I’ll make a deal with you…buy Windows and if you’ll buy it right now, I’ll sell it to you for half the listed price of $95 PLUS I’ll GIVE you a compiler and linker so that you can write your own software programs.

Within a year, men and women by the hundreds – maybe even thousands – were writing little software programs for Windows.

Then, Bill came back to all those people, and said, “Hey, that’s some pretty neat software you’ve written there…can I help you sell that?”

And the more Bill helped individuals create and sell their Windows-based software, the more copies of his Windows operating system he sold – and the greater his dominance became in the marketplace.

This is STILL Microsoft’s number one strategy for growing their business – and you can see this by looking at how and where they allocate their marketing dollars…their marketing budget is overwhelmingly focused on reaching tech-heads and helping them create and use more Microsoft-based or Microsoft-oriented software.

Just like with businesses, time has proven that Microsoft has been incredibly good at creating win-win relationships with individuals.

So, what can you do with all of this?

Consciously get past the tendency to think myopically and start to think bigger and broader in terms of creating win-win’s in as many places as you possibly can.

Begin thinking in terms of helping other people float their boats higher – which will cause your own boat to float higher.


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