Case Detail

Case Summary

Marketing @ Microsoft: The Value of Customer Perception

Case Number: 5-106-004, Year Published: 2006

HBS Number: KEL189

Request PreviewBuy

Authors: Ichiro Aoyagi; Ed Kallett

Key Concepts

Web Marketing, Customer Perception, Campaign Management, Measurement, Internet Marketing, Customer Satisfaction, Security, Marketing Efficacy


The case centers upon the Microsoft Security Guidance marketing campaign, a Microsoft marketing campaign designed to change perception of IT professionals toward the security of Microsoft’s software products. The integrated marketing campaign involved print media, analyst relations, and online advertising. The advertising was designed to drive IT professionals to a Web site on security guidance. The goal of the campaign was to sign up IT professionals for free in-person security training classes, since these trainings had been shown to have the highest impact on changing perception. The case illustrates two important best practices for marketing in the Internet age: First, the campaign was designed to be measured, and second, agility was specifically designed into the campaign. That is, click-through data from the print and online advertising was monitored daily, and rolled up weekly. In addition to tracking weekly click-through data, the campaign also utilized online pop-up customer perception surveys. These surveys enabled monthly tracking of customer perception towards Microsoft security. The click-though data are given in the case, similar to the actually data analyzed by Microsoft marketing executives. Analyzing these data, Microsoft realized that at the end of the first week of the campaign they had a problem—the numbers of signups for the training sessions were much less than anticipated. Further analysis revealed the source of the problem. By the end of the second week the campaign was changed, resulting in an order of magnitude improvement in efficacy. As a case assignment, students can create a score card illustrating the pros and cons of the Microsoft approach compared to a more traditional campaign.

Number of Pages: 22

Extended Case Information

Teaching Areas: Management, Marketing, Technology

Teaching Note Available: Yes

Geographic: U.S. national campaign

Industry: High Tech/Software

Organization Name: Microsoft

Organization Department: Marketing

Organization Size: Large

Decision Maker Position: Senior Director of Security Outreach

Decision Maker Gender: Female

Year of Case: 2004