Recently somebody who’s interviewing around Microsoft told me that they had brought up Ad Astra in an interview context as a way of demonstrating that they understood viral marketing: “Remember all those hot pink Mashup posters around campus? Well, here’s how we approached it; this was my role; this is what I learned.” And it worked out well!
It’s a great way of framing it, because even though we didn’t do a great job of marketing Ad Astra in general, Mashups were something we got a lot of people to notice and talk about. And best of all, it had measurable results: attendance at Mashups steadily increased by 50% monthly, using techniques like this, emailing, leafletting, … classic viral marketing.
For those of you who haven’t spent time on the Microsoft campus, there are posters everywhere, mostly in blue brown and gold, occasionally in other colors — but never any pink. So these stud out And we put up a lot of posters; in March, the guy who runs the internal postering service told me that we had already put up more posters than Windows or Office had in the previous 12 months. [I pointed out that they had better existing name recognition.] So (at least in the Redmond area) the reasonable odds that the person either heard about it, or knows somebody who has, are pretty reasonable.
Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that there are probably 50 to 100 people who were involved in various aspects of marketing Mashups. Most of them have no previous marketing background; all of them now have at least one anecdote that they can use to show their awareness and understanding of this kind of marketing. That’s kinda cool.