Seth Godin’s excellent book We are all weird is just what Microsoft marketers need to read now. Godin goes into detail about how content makers, and producers need to realign their marketing beliefs. Mass adoption is no longer the measure of success when your product can now be x-rayed, reproduced in 3 months and then sold under a different name for cheaper. Success is now measured in how a company can reach an unlimited amount of niche markets.Or Microsoft can target the gamer who only plays adventure games and drinks Diet Pepsi.
The world 8 years ago was a very different place. Put a console on the market and then add features as time goes by. This has done wonders for the console and it has changed the notion of what the consumer thinks of when they plop down their hard-earned dollar in exchange for a box.
Will adding everything under the sun protect them?
No, not if enough time and thought are placed into what exactly needs including. Too much choice is a problem that we all face. Steve Jobs was correct when he stated: “I’m as proud of what we don’t do as I am of what we do.”
Microsoft needs reminding to keep its interface and clean and not cluttered. As a gamer, I want to get to the game, play, and then shut the machine off. Ease of use is paramount and it needs to emphasized to the designers in Redmond, WA. They must not lose sight of that goal.
Consumers have an infinite amount of choice so the marketing rules have changed.
In our hyper localized world when trying to make products the old rule of thumb was to reach as many people as you possibly could to sell your product. The internet has changed that. The new rule of business is to target the ‘niche.’
If we step out of gaming and entertainment for a second take a look at the other thought leaders in their industry.
Example: You’ve just created a new energy drink that you think is the best thing since sliced bread. It taste great and it really does what it says on the label. Instead of marketing it to everyone, take a step back and try asking the questions that the consumer is asking.
“What makes your product so special? I’ve got Red Bull, and 5-Hour energy drink. Is your drink really for me?” In this space, Red-Bull went after the everyman, but 5-hour energy drink one-upped the market and changed their pitch to “Buy my drink and I will give you 4 extra energy to get ‘whatever’ done.
Both products do the same thing, but the niche consumer finds themselves in a simple dilemma. Do I want the broadly defined drink? Or do I want the specific drink? Consumers want you to spell it out to them.
How this affect’s Microsoft.
You’re Microsoft and you just watched Sony’s announcement of the PS4 and you got the ideas and dreams that Sony was comfortable sharing. Microsoft is lucky that it can react since most us have already been sold the dreams that Sony was pushing.
Microsoft shares the same limited market as Sony and Nintendo, but they have the advantage of going last.
Nintendo shot itself in the foot and released a console that’s already underpowered in the gamers mind share when its put next to the future next-gen consoles. Nintendo, to its credit, has never been after that segment. Nintendo, like Apple is in the hardware business and makes a profit from day one. Whereas Microsoft and Sony make up development cost with higher attach rates and look to make money down the line.
Now is the time for Microsoft to take a step back and place themselves as the console that targeted at not just the gamer, but the ‘new everyman or the ‘niche gamer.’
Well everyone thinks that they are different. That is true and thanks to the power and reach of capitalism, we are in fact all different and there is a product for everything you could ever imagine,want, or need.
Microsoft can target the gamer who only plays adventure games.
Or Microsoft can target the gamer who only plays adventure games and drinks Diet Pepsi. That is a specific niche that is not being targeted. The example is simple, but you see my point.
Microsoft can target the other gamer who only plays World War II shooters and hates in-app purchases. If Microsoft keeps going after all of these niches and not just the wide middle segment, they could set themselves apart. When that ‘one’ person feels that the Microsoft console speaks directly to them and is perfect for their specific needs, both parties win.
If Microsoft gets away from chasing the everyman and focusing on the discerning gamer, they will no longer have to worry about market share. They too can make a profit from day one.
Instead of having the games that Sony and Nintendo already have, Microsoft should try going after the consumer who drinks coffee at Starbucks and reads Biker Weekly. If they can target a niche, and keep targeting specific niches, their future console can become the thought and market for the life cycle of this generation.