Marketing Pricing analysis The move by Microsoft to offer free access to Office 365 suite of products to isn’t a new strategy because they have done it before. The primary aim of this would be to get a large fan base who may also end up being loyal customers to Microsoft (Belch, 2012). In my personal view I think this is also a way to counter the move by Google, who provide Gmail users with free access to Google Apps, including Google docs. Google docs offer alternative products to those provided by Microsoft, the only difference being that they are free of charge.
Once the students get accustomed to the Office suite of products, it is highly likely that they will keep using the products even after graduating from school. The pricing strategy is just right to keep Microsoft a step ahead of its competitors keeping in mind that the larger audience here is students. They will always prefer free products as opposed to paid alternatives. Although Microsoft Office 365 is reasonably priced and particularly fair when it comes to the free 60 minutes of Skype, the 20 GB of cloud storage and its flexibility, it still faces stiff competition.
There are other cheaper alternatives in terms of storage, and numerous applications can be used to achieve what the traditional office products always excelled in. Channel Analysis Since the main idea of launching Microsoft Office 365 is to get as much audience as possible, Microsoft may opt to use some dealer network (Ferrell, 2014). As such, they can cover a much larger geographical area while utilizing few resources. However, the whole marketing strategy need not necessarily be left to the dealer as Microsoft can still offer support in terms of marketing campaigns and other materials.
This support may include training them so that they can service the products if need be, and they can also attend to the users’ personal needs. The dealer is also a customer, and the dealer’s success is crucial to Microsoft success too. The partnerships with schools is also a good strategy and is similar to use of dealership networks in a particular area. The only difference is that this time round the product is aimed for educational purposes and is free.
Members of the Microsoft sales team can also move around in these areas and interact with customers to get direct feedback from them. Co-branding is a way of presenting multiple products to the market using a single marketing strategy (Ferrell, 2014). It is a very strong marketing technique especially for large brands that are already known to the public. It is a powerful method because consumers form particular associations with the names they see often. Similarly, co-branding multiple products and introducing them to the market gives the public a deeper impression about the brands involved. Another approach to this is that a brand name has a real financial value attached to it.
Thus, it represents money invested by the company in previous advertising and marketing campaigns. Therefore, a company, in our case Microsoft, can use its already established brand name in collaboration with a partner’s brand to increase its marketing advantage. Co-branding is a cost effective means of advertising and marketing and at the same time reinforces the brand to the public (Belch, 2012). Promotional analysis Microsoft’s primary target with the Microsoft Office 365 campaign is students and their teachers.
Thus, the best way to capture their attention is through social media sites. I would recommend that Microsoft create an active and influential personality in social sites and use this as an avenue to reach out to these students. They can come up with challenges. For instance, the person who shares the most updates on Microsoft social media pages gets a free Lumia smartphone. This incentive would result in creating awareness about the Microsoft Office 365 portal to a larger audience than Microsoft would have achieved themselves.
It will also save them money. Microsoft can use celebrity figures as the face of their campaigns. This publicity will not only capture the interest of the students, but also provide an identity that the students can easily relate to. This approach is more appealing and exciting to students as it is not linked to school work. The unique innovation in Microsoft’s suite of products is the ability for one to use the same license to access the portal through various platforms.
The license provides access to up to five computers and one tablet or phone. To showcase this, I would make an advertisement on TV showing a person using the product on various platforms. It would also show how this flexibility can be of great benefit in carrying out our daily activities while on transit or in the office. To measure the success of a campaign one can use several KPIs that include determining the return on investment (ROI), the change in sales numbers or measure website traffic.
Microsoft has seen significant success in raising brand awareness in schools and organizations since the launch of Office 365 portal. This uniqueness can be quantified using statistical data. In its first year of launch, it attracted up to 3.1 million paying subscribers. By 2013, the number had risen to 40 million and the share of exchange mailboxes associated with office 365 had risen to 8% an increase from 3.32 % in 2010. Word of mouth marketing relies heavily on customer satisfaction, and the more satisfied they are, the more positive it is for marketing.
Hence, it is positive when the company’s image to be public is appealing. References FERRELL, O., NIININEN, O., LUKAS, B., SCHEMBRI, S., & PRIDE, W. M. (2014). Marketing Principles. Melbourne, Cengage Learning Australia. http: //public. eblib. com/choice/PublicFullRecord. aspx? p=1991003. BELCH, G. E., & BELCH, M. A. (2012). Advertising and promotion: an integrated marketing communications perspective. New York, McGraw-Hill/Irwin.