Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'marketing'

Steve George

Canonical is looking for a business product marketing manager to lead the marketing of our portfolio of enterprise products and technologies. The objective is to increase the profile, market penetration and user-base of Ubuntu’s business products such as Ubuntu Cloud Infrastructure.

All technology companies face the problem that they think in terms of tech, but users think in terms of how a product benefits them in their specific situation. This often leads to a sales and marketing gap. In Canonical’s case Ubuntu is an operating system platform that’s used by a variety of consumer and enterprise audiences. Although our server and Cloud products are generally for enterprise users, there’s over-lap in the desktop area which is used by both. So the product marketing manager role will market Ubuntu products to businesses and organisations – whether global enterprises, academia or government.

Technology companies tend to subtly vary the way product marketing is defined, and particularly the line between product management and product marketing. As an aside there’s a nice article at Silicon Valley Product Group about this. In Canonical product managers are responsible for defining the strategic direction for a product and work closely with the engineers who are developing and delivering the technology. The product marketing managers are part of our marketing and communications department with the responsibility for defining and leading the marketing activities. By definition the two roles are closely related, but product marketing is inherently focused outwards communicating the benefits of the products to prospective users.

In order for Ubuntu to succeed in an enterprise the benefits must be clear to both the technologists (e.g. Sysadmin) who will implement it, and the management decision maker (e.g. CIO) who will sign-off its use. Consequently, our marketing activities speak to both audiences, though with more focus on technologists. On a day-to-day basis we’re a pragmatic organisation where everyone rolls their sleeves up and gets on with it. So you’ll need to use quantitative and qualitative approaches to identify addressable segments for marketing programmes. You’ll work with product management to create and polish propositions and with other members of the Comms team to form messaging. You’ll then put together marketing programmes that achieve the best ROI, iterating and improving how we reach the segment as necessary. In many instances you’ll want to take advantage of ways we can team-up with our passionate advocates to get the message out.

Canonical is a deep technology company so to be successful in this role you need to be excited about the technologies we’re developed and capable of understanding and communicating their advantages. You’ll understand how the Cloud is revolutionising enterprise IT and be able to clearly communicate where, why and how it’s impacting DevOps. Ubuntu is a key part of that equation so you’ll understand how our technologies, such as Juju, are part of that revolution. Importantly, you’ll act as a bridge to enterprise users, explaining the features and benefits of these products in the context of the challenges they face. You’ll need the capability to clearly explaining technologies, understanding the business problems they can solve for customers and undertaking marketing activities to communicate this.

The next year is full of challenges and opportunity. In April we’ll be launching 12.04 LTS which is a major enterprise release and the spring-board for our activities in the business segment over the next two years. We’re focused on expanding Ubuntu’s use in the public cloud where we are the most popular OS on platforms like Rackspace Cloud and Amazon Web Services. We believe that private and hybrid clouds will be an important part of the future for enterprises and we’re working with partners such as HP and VMWare to help them get the most from Ubuntu Cloud in their data centres. In other words it’s an important moment and we’re full steam ahead!

As an open source company our first challenge is to make sure our products are widely known and used in a playing field where proprietary vendors can outgun us in marketing spend. So the measure of success in this role is whether Ubuntu is increasing market penetration compared to the large proprietary cloud vendors such as Microsoft and Oracle. Having built-up an extensive user-base the product marketing manager also works with field marketing to convert users into customers for commercial services such as Ubuntu Advantage.

At a personal level Canonical is a dynamic organisation so you’ll need to be entrepreneurial, high-energy and collaborative – your colleagues are based around the globe ranging from offices in Taipei to being sat at home in California. I think the biggest reward will be to work with an amazing set of people at one of the most innovative technology companies around, during a time of massive industry change. If that sounds like heaven then get your application in ponto!

Tagged: Canonical, Cloud, Marketing, Ubuntu

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John Bernard

As of this week, Ubuntu is now on sale in over 100 retail outlets in Portugal.

Preloaded on the new ASUS Eee PC 1215P, Ubuntu is available to buy in over 100 Vobis and Worten stores (part of the Sonae group) across the country|31|36905&c=2655842.

The Eee PC has a slim, lightweight, design and up to 9 hours’ battery life making it suitable for work, play or study.

This is another great piece of marketing activity for Canonical, through launching the Ubuntu computing experience into a brand new retail market.

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Jussi Pakkanen

Note: nothing written here should be seen as an endorsement or anything by Canonical or any other party. This is just me being a comedian speculating on things.

By now we have seen that in the world of marketing black is white and outside is downside or something to that effect. Let’s apply our newly found knowledge to a real world issue. If we were to design a new “image” for Ubuntu using the guidelines given, what would it look like.

First we need to determine what Ubuntu is. It is an operating system. Therefore we must not ever mention that fact. Or the fact that it is scalable, has high performance or any other attribute that can be quantified.

Then we need to determine what it is not. Reading through Internet postings we find that due to Ubuntu’s Unix heritage there are problems with non-working hardware, having to use the command line, compiling applications from source to use them and so on. Whether or not these accusations are true is irrelevant. They simply tell us that according to valued Internet posters such as mr Trolly McTrollenstein Ubuntu is user-hostile.

What is the opposite of hostile? There are several choices, but let’s go with cozy.

For a visual look we’re going to use a cheap trick: upturned palms. This is an age-old technique to look sincere as used by used car salesmen, politicians and other people whose job it is to make you trust them even if you really should not. Putting it all together we get something like this.


The Coziest Computer Experience in the World

Now all that is needed is that a few million people keep repeating this mantra consistently to change reality as we know it.

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Jussi Pakkanen

If I asked you who defines the reality we live in, you would probably think that it’s a strange question. So let’s examine this with a simple question.

How was this guy commonly referred to?

No, not creepy weirdo. The other one.

That’s right, the King of Pop. But have you ever wondered how he became the King? Did he do battle with other peons of pop to eventually rise up as the ruler of popdom? Is there a a section of the UN that governs over the royalty of popular culture (there are at least The Duke, a Princess and a Queen)? Or maybe he was thrown a Sword of Pop by a lady in the lake thus giving him this prestigious role.

One might wonder about the succession of this Kinghood. Did he get his from the King of Kings who had died just before his career got off? And now that the King of Pop is dead, who is the next King? Is it this guy:

These were among the questions that Howard Stern thought about a long time ago. He realized that no-one had actually named Michael Jackson the King of Pop, he had just started calling himself that. So he decided to try the same thing just to see if it worked, even though he was just a radio show host (though a pretty successful one at that). So he started calling himself King of All Media. The results were quite interesting.

People started treating him as if he truly were King of All Media. At interviews he was always presented as King of All Media and even regular people commonly referred to him as that. He had not done any media conquests or anything like that. He simply started behaving as if he were the King and people treated him as such. In effect, he had altered reality simply through his will.

This is not an isolated incident. There is also the case of Norton I, the Emperor of the United States. He was a businessman who lost his fortune, went insane and declared himself emperor. He was then treated like an emperor. People wrote him letters pretending to be various heads of state, issued currency in his name and even attended his funeral by the tens of thousands. In his mind he truly was the emperor, simply because chose to be.

To come back to the original question: reality is defined people’s view on the world. Those views are not actually based on anything in the same way buildings are based on the ground they rest on. So if you want to change the world, all you have to do is to pretend that the change has already happened and behave accordingly. The really scary part is that other people will start believing it (though it’s not in any way guaranteed that over two people will ever See the Light as You Intended).

This is what advertising is based on: choosing how you want the world to be and then repeating it over and over and over and over again. Eventually reality changes and your message has become fact.

And that is why plants crave Brawndo: it’s got electrolytes.

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Jussi Pakkanen

For those with an engineering background, marketing seems somewhat bizarre. A lot about it just does not seem to make any sort of sense. This is commonly known as the rational-view-of-the-world bias. But if you look into it, things become clearer step by step.

Mostly everything follows from Rule Number One of marketing. It goes as follows:

You must emphasize that which your product is not.

Seems quite backwards, doesn’t it? But yet, this is what has been proven to work, time and time again. Let’s look at an example.

One of the main plot devices of the TV show True Blood is that a japanese company has developed synthetic blood and thus vampires don’t have to feed on humans any more. They named this product Tru Blood.

Why this name? Because that is the one thing the product is not. It is not real, but synthetic.

A more real-world example comes from Hong Kong. They had a problem where people in a certain swamp area kept dying of malaria. This of course made it somewhat hard to get people to move in there. So the people in charged made the only reasonable choice: they renamed the place Happy Valley. Problem solved.

This is one of those things that once you “see” it, it’s everywhere. Here are just some examples.

Apple’s slogan is “Think different” but their products go out of their way to prevent the user from doing anything not officially sanctioned.

Any Hollywood movie that advertises itself as a “hilarious comedy” is usually roughly as fun as dragging steel forks on a chalkboard.

Restaurants and food manufacturers commonly use phrases such as “just like mom used to make” and “delicious home-cooked food” even though my mother never made any food like that and and fairly sure that chefs don’t live in the backrooms of their restaurants. (And if they do, I really don’t want to eat in those locations.)

Freshly squeezed orange juice isn’t and blueberry muffins aren’t.

Enron’s stationary slogan was “Respect. Integrity. Communication. Excellence.”

The TV show Bullshit! was originally about exposing quacks and hoaxes using science. At some point it became a soapbox for the hosts’ personal libertarian agenda of “everything the government ever does is always wrong (even if it is the exact opposite of what we were talking about last week)”. At the exact same time the show’s opening credits was changed to emphasize science, objectivity, reason, fairness and all other values the show itself didn’t adhere to any more.

The obvious question that comes from all this is that why does this work. That will be explained in the next post.

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