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Stealth marketing, skiing and low-alcohol beer

Jan 21, 20033 mins
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* It must be BrainShare time again

I briefly chastised Novell last week because the long-promised new marketing campaign that was slated to begin “in January” hadn’t yet been in evidence. Vice chairman Chris Stone was quick to point out, though, that January isn’t over just yet and implied that the campaign would start during the last week of the month, so be alert.

I also spoke of what many considered an ill-conceived decision to try to steer more European partners to Novell’s BrainShare Europe conference in Barcelona at the expense of BrainShare in Utah. I’m pleased to announce that Mike Morgan and his Novell corporate events crew have reconsidered and will continue to offer EMEA [Europe, Middle East and Africa] region partners their choice of shows. Still, given the choice, I know I’d rather go to Barcelona than to Salt Lake City. At least in Barcelona you can get real beer.

Real beer has always been a sticking point at BrainShare. Utah laws and local custom mean beers served at BrainShare evening events are the low alcohol variety (i.e., “3.2 beer”). Europeans, in particular, are bemused by this product which is generally tasteless but still has the ability to intoxicate if you drink enough of it. Mr. Morgan has promised some “surprises” in that area for this April’s show.

The Australians have now chimed in because their BrainShare 2003 show has been cancelled and is replaced with a one-day seminar-style event that will preview new technologies and offerings. I don’t think we’ll see any change in that arrangement, but next year could be different depending on lots of things, including the general state of world economy as well as the success of Novell’s new marketing plans. The Aussies are, of course, invited to come to Salt Lake City – but they are among the loudest complainers about the beer. Maybe a shipment of “marine samples” could be arranged.

In the “oh, by the way” category, I understand that the skiing around Salt Lake City hasn’t been all that great this year. With BrainShare coming as month later, skiing might be an iffey proposition. On the other hand, some late season snowfalls could be magnificent for downhillers. My advice is to be flexible and have your golf clubs ready to substitute for your skis at the last minute, depending on the weather and forecast when you are ready to leave. There are some decent courses in the Salt Lake valley.

Hopefully, that’s the last I’ll need to say about the peripheral issues of BrainShare and in future newsletters we can explore what’s being offered. It’s also the last I’ll say about Novell marketing for a while – at least until February.