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Same old, same old

Jan 14, 20033 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsMarketing

* Novell does worst to please Europe

Well, we’re halfway through January. So what do you think of Novell’s new marketing campaign? You know, the one that was supposed to launch “in January”? I haven’t seen it, either. If you spot anything that appears to be marketing, please point it out to me.

If the recent flap over BrainShare discounts is any indication, then it’s a sure sign Novell marketing hasn’t changed a bit.  It seems that European channel partners (who we used to call Silver, Gold and Platinum resellers) have been given discounts to attend BrainShare based (in part) on their sales activities. It’s a recognized way to reward those folks who help ensure your success. Those European resellers were allowed to take the discount either for the BrainShare event in Salt Lake City or the European BrainShare (once again in Barcelona this year). But suddenly, Novell decided that the discount would only be good towards the Barcelona event. This got quite a few people upset.

Suppose that every year you were offered discount tickets to the Stanley Cup playoffs, World Series or Super Bowl but your patron this year switched that to the Calder Cup, Little League World Series, or the Arena Football League’s “ArenaBowl” – would you be pleasantly surprised or mightily miffed?

Understandably, the Europeans were miffed. While BrainShare Europe is a good place for European NetWare managers to gather with their peers and learn about Novell technologies, its not the same as going to Utah were all of the major Novell players are in attendance.

The people Novell counts on to sell their technologies throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa (the EMEA region) feel that they need to listen to and talk to the actual product managers to fully understand the nuances of the technology as well as the direction it might take. It’s also seen as more desirable to see the slide show and hear the seminar put on by the person who wrote and designed it, rather than someone reading the notes. The experience may well be as good – even better, if the presenter understands the EMEA market thoroughly – but the impression given is that second-stringers or “farm team” players are doing the presentation.

I was also surprised to learn that for many people in the EMEA region it’s cheaper to fly to Salt Lake City than it is to go to Barcelona. That has more to do with politics, regulated vs. de-regulated carriers and economies of scale but it should, nevertheless, be taken into account.

Latest word is that Novell is rethinking this strategy, which may have been designed to improve the image of the European BrainShare event by attracting a bigger, more involved crowd. But logic says the best way to do that is to provide the same experience in Barcelona that’s provided in Salt Lake City. That means sending more Novell engineers and product managers to Spain, which in turn will attract the crowds Novell would like to see. Seems like an exercise from Marketing 101. Which brings us back to the new marketing campaign we were supposed to see.

Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, which is French for it looks like the same old Novell.