Re: real marketing or just catchy slogans?

> I agree that we have a problem empowering people. People on the list
> seem to be waiting for direction (from you, me or Luis...).
> I think both John and Santiago are ideal candidates for developing and
> leading a strategy of merket analysis - getting information from our
> target markets, and figuring out how we can communicate with them on a
> wider scale. But getting information is the start - when their
> information retrieval contributes to technical decisions in a project,
> our marketing will begin to be more successful.

Fine. But when that "getting information" is obviously stalled then it
can't be allowed to stop us.

And I think there is a misunderstanding about how much information we
have, or an expectation that our information should be in the form of
statistics and numbers. We do know what our users want, and we do know
what they are like. That's why we've had a clear development consensus
around usability and just works and enabling users to reach their goals.
Compared to our free-software competition, we are already incredibly

I think we also overestimate the value of this targetting:
- Ubuntu have very generic emotional marketing materials, yet I think we
would like their kind of success.
- Firefox also have a very wide market with a very generic product, and
marketed successfuly to that wide market.. They didn't decide to target
scientific users or educational users. (Yes, I know they had a slightly
easier delivery method.)

> We have a bunch of critics of GNOME, and while sometimes they're wrong
> (!), it mightn't be any harm to somehow communicate their concerns with
> the appropriate people, and try to get some of those concerns addressed
> for 2.14.
> For example, Santiago's mail:
> There were criticisms in there of Nautilus, the menu editor, performance
> and usage of GNOME VFS (without specifics, it has to be said). Did those
> ever get sent back to the Nautilus developers? How about a proposal to
> include SMEG in 2.14?

OK, but don't think it's going to help our marketing to have a discussion
about whether spatial nautilus is good or not, as long as this mailing
list remains as poorly informed about the user experience as the average
slashdot commenter.

> Marketing comes in 5 stages -
> 1. action,
> 2. communication,
> 3. information retrieval,
> 4. reaction,
> 5. communication,
> 6. goto 3
> How good is our feedback loop? What Santiago is saying, if I understand
> correctly, is that right now we don't seem to have one, and one would be
> nice.

Yes. But a) what are the suggestions, and b) should we wait for one.

>> If we don't plan to target these people differently, then there isn't
>> much
>> point in targetting them separately.
> We do, though.
> Example:
> Target: Windows hobbyists
>   - Help get copies of WinLibre or the OpenCd on magazine covers
>   - Hand out copies of same at conferences, alongside LiveCDs (there's a
> reason Ubuntu is putting windows software on their LiveCDs).
>   - Make the Windows binaries easier to find & download (look at
> for an example of hard to find Windows binaries - comare &
> contrast with
>   - If a bunch of projects have Windows ports, how about centralising
> everything for downloads? Have static links, help people avoid the user
> nightmare that is Sourceforge downloads.

Yes, this would be nice.

> Target: Distros
>   - Email advisory board members regularly, just to keep in contact
>   - Find out who the decision makers for distros are
>   - Use the phone
>   - Make sure feedback gets back to relevant developers

I have personally failed at this utterly. It would be very nice.

> There are few enough distros that the correct way to "market" to them is
> to be available, and listen.
> Target: Third party developers
>   - Improve API docs
>   - Provide a third party application developers guide
>   - Listen to Bugzilla, mailing lists
>   - Keep in contact with people who are having problems, and put people
> having similar problems in contact to see if they can't solve the
> problem themselves, together
>   - Poke a developer now & again about outstanding problems to see if
> anything's happened

People should feel free to exert pressure, but I think the marketing-list
would fail utterly if it expected to get this involved in the little
details of development. There's enough pressure to get these things right
from within the development community anyway, and telling people that you
_really_ want them to do something doesn't really make it happen.

> Target: Public administrators
>   - Go to your local town hall & ask to speak to the head of IT
>   - Go to the website of your local town hall/region/county/state, and
> try to work out who the head of IT is
>   - Use the phone
>   - Figure out which conferences are important to local government
> decision makers, and make sure there's a GNOME presence there
>   - Make sure feedback gets back to relevant developers
> Target: Momentum users
>   - Read blogs
>   - Send email
>   - Make sure feedback gets back to relevant developers
>   - Build up a mailing list of "insiders", and send them a sneak preview
> of each release (an e-mail would do, but a LiveCD with a preview release
> by the post would be cool)
> This is a lot of work, but this group is where we're currently suckiest,
> and where we most need to improve. They also offer huge potential gains.
> These guys become our communications department if we get them on our
> side.

Again, a simple campaign with a simple theme can help rally people
together to make all these details happen.

> Each group needs a different approach, and has different needs. Which is
> why we need answers to those 5 questions for each group.
>> They groups above have a great deal
>> in common - everything we do for them is about improving the experience
>> of
>> their end users. That's the GNOME advantange that I'd like to push.
> A public sector end-user isn't the same as an early adopter. Where the
> public sector IT manager's primary question is "How can I stop a user
> installing unauthorised software?" the momentum user's question is more
> likely to be "how can I install cool software X?"

Yet both fall under improving the end user's experience. They are details
of that. I think we are being techy when we focus on the details instead
of the real vague gut emotional impact of most marketing materials, or on
the benefit of mere name recognition.

>> I'm not a marketer, so I'm only guessing. But I guess that these are
>> secondary details - the information that goes into specific ads as part
>> of
>> a simpler, more emotional campaign.
> Ads is communication. Marketing is more than that. And knowing your
> market (or at least, believing that you know it ;) is not secondary, it
> is the thing which drives everything else. Marketing with a campaign
> without knowing who you're aiming for is like playing darts with a
> blindfold on.

The desktop market is a very large dartboard. Throw some darts.

>> However, I think this is a very good basis for discussion. It can help
>> the
>> marketing guys here understand what we think we have to offer, and what
>> our users think of us as offering.
> I agree.
> I also don't want to come across as a negative energy guy here - I think
> it's good to have some slogans, work on some posters & get them printed,
> and do some unfocussed communication.
> But in our current state, we're essentially communicating with existing
> Linux users, or people who are going to move to Linux. That puts us in
> competition with KDE, which isn't where we want to be. Or we're
> marketing to everyone, and our message isn't getting great penetration.
> But at least we have a message, and focus can come later.
> So let's decide on a slogan, or on a bunch, let people loose on them,
> get some more artwork, and have some kind of marketing drive. But let's
> start seriously concentrating on the people we want to use our software,
> and work out why they're not using it already. Chances are it's because
> they haven't heard about it, but maybe there's more to it than that.

And let's review it periodically. Like the release team handles
development, we should improve our marketing strategy when we have the
means to do that, instead of holding out for the by-the-book

I have zero way to get the information that people seem to be asking for
before they'll get moving on marketing, though I felt that this told us
something about our users and our team:

I'll hold off for another month in case people suddenly come up with some
strategy for getting this information or moving on without it. If not,
I'll try again to get things moving anyway.

Murray Cumming
murrayc murrayc com

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