Microsoft Works Familiar Territory for Its Annual TechEd Conference for 2014

Just 10 minutes into the TechEd Conference, 2014, Keynote Address, Mr. Brad Anderson, a Microsoft® Corporate Vice President landed on familiar ground, a podium before an audience of IT professionals assembled from global, enterprise businesses and their peers in the public and not-for-profit sectors. Mr. Anderson’s audience was then treated to a rather old fashioned rhetorical construction, more of the same elaborate argument from authority I noted in the very first few moments of the video recording of his presentation.

The construction goes something like this: Microsoft is one of only 3 vendors, anywhere, with the capabilities to support the needs at the top of the enterprise computing market – meaning the very largest organizations. I should note Mr. Anderson didn’t mention Microsoft’s two competitors, but it wouldn’t take much to assume them to be Google and Amazon.

Mr. Anderson illustrated this point with a play on the old “mandatory requirements” pitch, which goes as follows: Any organization in the target market should only discuss its needs with a supplier capable of supporting “hyper scale,” meaning a supplier who has demonstrated its ability to deploy “hundreds of thousands of servers per year” and is “going through incredible growth”. After all, only this select group of 3 suppliers can call on the necessary level of innovation required to support the enterprises represented at the conference audience with the best infrastructure.

“Public Cloud” Suppliers on this short list must also be “Enterprise Proven”. They must be able to demonstrate the right “capabilities” and an “enterprise-grade cloud”. This type of supplier has the financial capability to back “its SLAs financially [meaning with cash reimbursement to customers in the event of service outages, or other lapses in service quality]”.

Finally, supplier must demonstrate superlative performance with “Hybrid Cloud”, which Mr. Anderson defined in a somewhat different manner than the more familiar use of this term in IT circles. The common denominator for a supplier with the right experience in this area is a familiar Microsoft theme – scalability. A supplier with the right experience set with Hybrid Cloud will be very comfortable designing, building and supporting the same applications across any type of cloud. This is the core of Microsoft’s “consistent user experience” claim, which not only powers their promotion at this conference, but also powers their effort to provide the same user experience across tablets, PCs, and even smart phones.

It should not be a stretch to assume Mr. Anderson’s audience liked what they heard. If the audience meets the criteria of an assembly of IT professionals picked from the very largest enterprise businesses, then this is actually a group of some of Microsoft’s best customers. They certainly know how to ring those bells for these guys.


Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2014 All Rights Reserved


It Helps to Carefully Read Analyst Reports Before Including Them in an Appeal to Authority

Carefully read analyst opinion before adding it to a sales presentation built around an appeal to authority. We almost made the mistake of pouring some comments published by Gartner, Inc. in its Highlights From Gartner’s Data-Driven Marketing Survey, 2013.

After a careful review of the material we decided the conclusions reached were not applicable to our target market — early stage Independent Software Vendors (ISVs). Here’s an example: “A majority of marketers that we interviewed, 54%, invest in digital marketing because they believe it’s key to their competitiveness. But they are not certain of the return on their investment. For that survey, which took place in April 2012, we interviewed 98 marketing executives in companies with revenue greater than $1 billion, and who had or were considering a digital marketing function.” (quoted from Gartner, Inc. A link to the full report has been provided above).

Our market is not characterized by ” . . . companies with revenue greater than $1 billion.” The companies in our market do not ” . . . invest in digital marketing because they believe it’s key to their competitiveness.” They invest in digital marketing because most of them sell software as a service (SaaS) solutions. Almost all of the revenue they produce is the result of online sales and marketing.

So what’s the big deal? The big deal is how we got to this report. We followed a link from an innocuous sentence on a web page on the IT World, Canada website: “Many organizations are plagued by disconnected analytic efforts, according to research firm Gartner Inc.”.

Note the hyperbole in the sentence. There are comparatively not ” . . . [m]any organizations . . . ” with revenue over $1Bil. The survey conducted by Gartner, Inc. speaks to a very small segment of businesses here in the United States.

Opting to include information actually unrelated to a subject at hand in an “appeal to authority” substantially diminishes the effectiveness of the appeal. Sad to say a lot of the argumentation we read today is hastily put together with information actually irrelevant to the discussion at hand.

Ira Michael Blonder

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2013 All Rights Reserved


Limits on framing marketing communications around an argument from authority

Social media advocates often frame marketing communications efforts around a rhetorical argument from authority. This type of communication is crafted to convince the reader that a particular approach ought to be adopted based upon eitherthe soundness of its logic or its popularity. With regard to popularity, the question inevitably comes up as to just who is using this specific approach. Picking examples that do not resemble your audience is generally a kiss of death; therefore, some thought must go into framing an argument from authority where the authority amounts to ubiquity in a market.

I think social media advocates should take a big step back and rethink any/all marketing communications framed around an argument from authority. Further, some control ought to be exercised around the level of hyperbole vented by this group. After all, are enormous breakthroughs really popping with the frequency often documented in these presentations? My guess is probably not. From what we’ve read and the condition of recent Social Media IPOs we would say more that the opposite is in fact the case.

Rather, social media advocates ought to provide some case studies, or at least provide some meaningful examples of how specified markets are using social media tools and the accompanying rationale. We focus in this blog on marketing innovative technology into bigger businesses and large organizations. We have found a dearth of meaningful examples of how bigger businesses are successfully implementing social media tools. Therefore, we would welcome some specific examples of success culled from Fortune 100 businesses and/or large groups in the public sector. With this kind of stuff in hand we would warm up to a thought process that social media is actually sticking somewhere within the ranks of big business.

In fact, we’ve grown something of a callous with regard to typical social media marketing communications. In fact we ignore most of what we see as simple conjecture without real substance. Perhaps the success and ubiquity of social media for Fortune 100 is inevitable, but we just are hard pressed right now to say why.

We try to maintain a healthy level of skepticism in the work that we undertake for clients. If you can use a dose of skepticism to keep your marketing plan on track for an innovative technology offering, then we would like to hear from you. Please call Ira Michael Blonder, IMB Enterprises, Inc at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion about your product and your plan.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved