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    An amazing Word-of-Mouth disconnect

    January 23, 2006 |  by  |  General  |  , , ,
    • SumoMe

    Just got back from the WOMMA WOMBAT (Word of Mouth Basic Training) conference. 450 people! It was great. More about it later. But I just had to post this:

    I gave a presentation to a standing-room-only crowd. Very flattering. But I digress.

    In the course of the presentation, I said, apropos of a recent post that if WOMwere everything, we’d all be using Macs. Think about it: the best word of mouth in the
    whole universe, and about a 4% market share. I asked how many people
    had Macs. About half of the people raised their hands. Then
    I asked, “Of the Windows people, how many would like to switch
    if it weren’t for the expense and trouble of switching?”
    Virtually ALL said yes! Wow. What’s wrong with this
    picture?

    Apple has done a magnificent job of creating the reasons to switch, but failed to provide a simple, easy way to switch. It’s like England trying to get everyone to drive on the right side of the street, gradually. Can’t be done.

    Some things can’t be done gradually, but MUST be done gradually or they are perceived as too painful. The switch from Windows to Mac is one of these for the average computer owner. Virtual PC is too slow and doesn’t work for many programs, such as my favorite, Dragon Dictate Naturally Speaking 8. So, even though I’ve switched, I have to maintain a Windows machine to write my books and articles.

    Until now. If Apple will encourage developers to develop a simple operating system switcher (they exist now on the Windows platform) that will allow people to switch between Windows and OS X, people will be able to buy a Mac, install Windows and have a Windows machine just as if they bought a Dell. Then they could switch gradually, starting with the browser and mail client, which would get the Windows side of the machine off the internet. Now, they have a Windows machine that is unsusceptible to viruses, spyware, malware, etc. They can switch the other programs gradually and see much easier each application is on a Mac.

    Apple probably won’t do this. But their customers will. And in the new, new marketing, the customer is in control. As long as Apple doesn’t sabotage the ability of its new Intel machines to operate Windows, we will see all of this pent up desire to switch cause a major shift.

    Of course, there are a whole lot of other things that Apple needs to do (none of them that hard compared to what they have already done), in order to get a wholesale switch from Windows to Mac.

    The lesson: Even when there is a major pent-up demand created by word of mouth, the mechanisms have to exist to switch to it easily.

    George Silverman

    Word-of-Mouth Marketing Consultant

    Author, The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing

    www.mnav.com wordofmouth.typepad.com

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