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Is Microsoft's Outlook.com Campaign Winning?
By: Dwayne W. Waite Jr.
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When it comes to the advertising world, Microsoft has had a tough time. In the past, its Windows products did not match up to the multi-million dollar ad hype, and it created more of a nightmare for the software company than revenue.

But recently, it looks like things are changing. 

As many of you are probably aware, Microsoft ditched Hotmail and re-launched their email product as Outlook.com. The multi-channel campaign has been running for some time now, trying to capitalize on retaining Hotmail accounts and getting people to switch over. Microsoft is showcasing the ease of "managing your mailbox," hoping that their system is much easier than the other ones out there.

But is it working? The recent report at MediaPost would suggest that it is.

According to the source, Outlook.com has surpassed 400 million active users since its launch, including the 300 million Hotmail users who were transferred over. Along with that, well over 100 million users are accessing Outlook.com via their mobile devices.

So what worked? The advertising or the technological improvements?

Both, of course.

In order to keep their Hotmail users, Microsoft had to present to them a product that not only gave them what they already had, but made them even happier. The improvements on the product couldn't be such that their users could no longer use it; a minimal learning curve was needed. Then, to attract more users, Microsoft had to implement an awareness campaign that showed email users that its email system isn't "lame" anymore. Plus it improved its Android app, and it's adding more features, like Skype in-calling.

Microsoft is beginning to figure out that a multi-million dollar ad campaign cannot sell an inferior product. But it can certainly help a good one.

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About the Author
Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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