Love v Annoying

This is a really great post by Seth Godin and well worth a read.
http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2009/01/love-and-annoyi.html

He talks about products that people will love and so create an excitement and enthusiasm for which will help drive sales. The most obvious at the moment is Apple.

The goal is to create a product that people love. If people love it, they’ll forgive a lot. They’ll talk about it. They’ll promote it. They’ll come back. They’ll be less price sensitive. They’ll bring their friends. They’ll work with you to make it better.

If you can’t do that, though, perhaps you can make your service or product less annoying.

I think smart marketers at Apple work to make products that people love. Smart marketers at American Airlines ought to work at making an airline that isn’t annoying.

I thought of Microsoft rather than American Airlines. Steve Ballmer does seem to want to emulate Apple and get people to love Microsoft and the products. The WOW adverts for Vista were supposed to be part of that but backfired. I think the last time Microsoft generated that type of excitement and enthusiasm and hence love was the launch of Windows 95. And people did forgive them for a lot of things. And it helped that it was seen as Microsoft’s David v IBM’s Goliath. People do like the underdog which Microsoft is definitely not any more.

Going for the mass market as Microsoft tends to do means it is hard to generate love and so forgiveness. Especially if you have been convicted of abusing a monopoly by the DOJ. So the real strategy that Microsoft should adopt is to go down the less annoying route. As Seth says:-

Put a sign on your office door, or send a memo to the team. It should say either, “Everything we do needs to make our product less annoying” or “Everything we do should be idiosyncratic and engage people and invite them to fall in love with us. That’s not easy, which is why it’s worth it.” Can’t have both. Must do one.

I think that each leader for each product group should start off all meetings with the phrase “Everything we do needs to make our product less annoying”. It should be pinned to all their computers and be made their core objective. Just imagine how much better Microsoft products would be if that strategy was adopted. And conversely people would love them more! Go on Microsoft – make the products less annoying. Or at least the Operations Manager group. I want OpsMgr R2 the least annoying OpsMgr version.

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