Windows will now boot on a Mac
  • An amazing Word-of-Mouth disconnect
  • A new word-of-mouth phenomenon that could shake the world
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    WOM Lessons of Windows on Intel Mac

    • SumoMe

    As I predicted, it happened. I won’t rehash
    the thousands of blog posts on the subject of running
    Windows on the Intel Mac. For those who haven’t
    heard, and for the record, Apple announced yesterday
    an official version of a program that allows Windows
    to run on the newer Macs with Intel chips and they
    announced that it will be built into the next update
    of their operating system.

    Thousands of blog posts
    were instantly posted yesterday. The announcement
    made the front page of the New York Times and the
    front page of the second section of the Wall Street
    Journal today. All of this despite the fact that
    Apple virtually hid the announcement: no usual big
    splash, not on the home page of their web site, buried
    in their web site. This, despite the fact that it’s
    one of the biggest announcements in the computer
    industry in the last decade.

    The reason I’m talking about it here is because
    it illustrates many word of mouth and other marketing
    principles, and allows us to make many predictions.

    As I’ve said before here and here, there is a huge disconnect
    between the word of mouth for Macs and their actual
    sales. Only about 2.6% of business users use Macs.
    But more than half of them say that they would switch
    to Macs if they could do so painlessly.

    This illustrates the principle that word of mouth
    is not enough. Word of mouth is only powerful because
    it gets people past the decision blocks that conventional
    marketing is not effective with. Issues having to
    do with experience, credibility, simplification,
    subtle interpretation, reassurance, encouragement
    and real-world practical nuts and bolts. Advertising,
    sales people and other conventional marketing methods
    do not work very well on marketing blocks that involve
    these issues. Friends, colleagues, experts and advisers
    are much more helpful in these areas.

    Now, there is a gradual way to switch to the Mac,
    as I’ve described in previous posts.

    My analysis of the Mac decision map has revealed
    many blocks. The biggest one is the lack of a way
    to try OS X and to switch to it gradually. This new
    development is important because it wipes out these
    blocks.

    Word of mouth ultimately wins. Blatantly inferior
    products like Windows, GM and Ford cars, AT&T
    and Verizon long distance telephone service ultimately
    lose because information transmitted independently
    through word of mouth will ultimately overwhelm (in
    both credibility and quantity) slick ads. It doesn’t
    matter how big the company is. Especially when those
    ads are insulting to customers. (For instance, depicting
    them as dinosaurs, as Microsoft does.) These were,
    and are, the largest companies in the world. It doesn’t
    matter. Google may be headed in the same direction.
    People love telling other people about new and better
    search engines, and the cost for switching is very
    low. For instance, ask.com and accoona.com have been
    mentioned to me many times in the last week and I’m
    actively trying them out, even though I love Google.

    The cost of switching to Apple has always been high,
    until now.

    The takeaway here is to keep your eye on the steps
    that people need to go through in the decision process.
    This will reveal all sorts of blocks and opportunities
    that will allow you to have very high prediction
    accuracy.

    Oh, yes, the predictions. The necessity to reboot
    when switching between OS X and Windows is a huge
    block. My guess is that it will not take more than
    a few weeks, given the enormous interest shown, to
    develop a switching program that does not require
    a reboot. In fact, it may already be here. Today’s
    Wall Street Journal mentions a beta program called
    Parallels that purports to do this.

    I predict that GM and Ford will continue to take
    themselves into deeper holes before desperation causes
    them to take some very bold moves. First there will
    be the corporate financial moves, which may bring
    them breathing room but will do nothing for their
    sales. Then there will be some dramatic product quality
    moves. I have no way of predicting whether these
    moves will be too little or too late. I am very pessimistic,
    because the only thing that will save them is to
    turn around word of mouth. But they don’t even
    begin to understand what word of mouth is, as evidenced
    by the Tahoe CGM campaign. They’re just using
    word of mouth as another manipulation. They need
    to bring in the customer by having the customer help
    them design the car, not the ads. They need to openly
    and transparently share their commitment and steps
    to solving the product quality problems.

    That’s what Apple did. They paid attention
    to the enormous desire of their customers to be able
    to run Windows on their Macs for the few programs
    that cannot be translated to OS X. The announcement
    released an almost overwhelming torrent of word of
    mouth. Sales will go through the roof because the
    solution is already “good enough” and
    will only get better.
    Another prediction: there will be an enormous fight
    the other way around. People will get OS X working
    on Windows boxes. This will probably unleash a gigantic
    fight from Apple. While I believe that they should
    have the right to attach any conditions to the sale
    of their programs, this would be a mistake. They
    could sell a huge number of operating systems without
    the machines. This would result in huge incremental
    profit. Since they always seem to be able to stay
    ahead of the other machines in features, quality
    and attitude, they would compete very well on the
    boxes, too. But only if they stay the “good
    guy” and don’t turn people against them
    by coercive actions.

    Give the people what they want, don’t fight
    their desires and their WOM, empower them to go the
    next steps and don’t set up obstacles to what
    they are going to do anyway. So far, so good.

    George Silverman
    Word-of-Mouth Marketing Speaker and
    Consultant
    Author, The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth
    Marketing

    www.mnav.com      wordofmouth.typepad.com

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