Today is day 9 of my “10 Days of Ubuntu 10.10 Feature Requests” series. See the series introduction here.
Day 9 – Renewed Focus on Marketing
Many people have thrown out opinions as to why Linux companies don’t market directly to the masses, and the opinions usually settle on a handful of ideas – Linux is already free, so marketing is irrelevant. There’s no money to be made with the Linux desktop, so Linux companies should focus on servers and services instead. Hardware support still isn’t where it needs to be, so marketing is premature.
I find all of these excuses irrelevant. Given the time, money, and energy Canonical has invested into the desktop version of Ubuntu, the company clearly stands to benefit from a profitable desktop Linux distro. Whether that money comes from direct sales, support plans, or added services is irrelevant from a marketing standpoint, because every one of those mechanism’s profits is directly proportional to the number of people using Ubuntu.
So today’s feature request is simple: between now and Ubuntu 10.10, I’d like to see Canonical invest some resources in true-to-life marketing. This could take any number of forms, and not necessarily “conventional” ones (tv, radio, google ads, etc). If anything, I’d love to see an entirely viral marketing campaign, or at least some resources invested in a community-based effort.
Apparently marketing efforts have been discussed in the past, because Ubuntu does have a Marketing Team. However, according to that page their next meeting is on July 5th…2008.
Clearly the Marketing Team could use a little help.
Interestingly, there is also a DIY Marketing page. This page contains links to posters, icons, CD sleeves, and more… but the bulk of the links are for v7.04 and earlier.
So what can be done? For starters, why not hold a contest and allow community members to submit their best marketing ideas? Select a few winners, then encourage people to use the winning marketing messages in any art form they can concoct. Encourage fans to stick posters up at their local university computer lab. Give out a prize to the creator of the best Ubuntu-related YouTube video. Amass hundreds of cool images that can be used on websites, t-shirts, hats, gear, or anything else people can dream up.
As an example, here are three .pngs I whipped out in a matter of minutes:
If I – an amateur – can put those together in a matter of minutes, imagine what the many talented artists and designers of the Ubuntu community could do.