Microsoft launches products by turning IT pros into heroes

Microsoft launches products by turning IT pros into heroes

Objective: On February 27, Microsoft will introduce Windows Server 2008, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, and Microsoft SQL Server 2008. In preparation, it wanted to reach out to IT pros and developers, its target audience for the new offerings. "The success of our products really goes back to the people who work with them," said Karen Carter, marketing director for Windows Server.

Idea: Microsoft sought to celebrate IT pros as "unsung heroes" of our tech-dependent existence. "IT pros don't expect credit to a certain degree," said Carter. To give them their due, Microsoft (with co-sponsor digital-storage company Seagate) teamed with former DC Comics editor Jordan Gorfinkel to create a daily Web comic based on stories from real-life IT pros. The comic strip can be received directly via RSS feed and will run through June 28.

Tools: The comic strip is featured on Microsoft's Heroes Happen Here Web site, which launched in November. Story submissions and new-product information are accepted on the site, www. HeroesHappenHere.com. Visitors can also register for over 200 international and online events planned along with the new products. To drive traffic, Microsoft is leveraging its IT and blogger community contacts, including subscribers to the Microsoft Developer Network and TechNet, along with word-of-mouth efforts.

Measurement: Microsoft is measuring success by visits and submissions to the site.

Organization: Microsoft
Campaign: HHH Comic Series/Microsoft product launch
PR team: Big Mouth PR, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide
Other marketing: Other Microsoft Web sites and word of mouth
Launch: January 29
Budget: Undisclosed

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