I got some news other day that was hard to swallow. The company that I work for, a multinational organization that rakes in billions of dollars a year has hit "tough" times and needs to make "tough" decisions. This is what we were told during a company wide town hall. Long story short, a small percentage our workforce is going to be cut by the end of year. Have a Merry fucking Christmas.
Without getting into too much detail, our main competitor has been kicking our ass. They have out maneuvered us in practically every area and most especially in marketing. Not only has our rival done well in advertising, but their messaging has also been so concise and simple compared to our convoluted and confusing campaigns. They have outsold us, outpaced us, knew what the customer and consumer wanted, and most importantly, they knew what the market didn't yet know what they wanted. In short, they successfully predicted the market. My company's marketers did not. They pretty much shit the bed, now a percentage of my fellow associates (I can very much be one of them) get to wallow in it.
I'm just a cog in the machine at my company. I enjoy my job, and I believe in what I'm doing. So I have a difficult time coming to grips with the fact that my position is in jeopardy because some marketers did a lousy job. It pisses me off to see a product that I helped develop, not sell well because some marketer did not position it properly, muddied up the messaging or advertised it to the wrong consumer. All in all, I got to see the ugly side of marketing first hand.
Let marketing lead this one. What can possibly go wrong?
I can now empathize with how the people working in the trenches at Microsoft's entertainment division must be feeling. I know that Microsoft is a big and burly company, and we like t poke fun at how "corporate" they are, but I'm positive that there are some fine people there, as there are at my company. There are engineers, sales people, schedulers, accountants, project managers, various assistants, artists, etc... Individual contributors who help drive a business. I'm sure there was an army of faceless people who helped to design and develop the Xbox One and every single one of them should be pissed off on how Microsoft's marketing brass bungled the initial messaging.
What can possibly go wrong?
I think we can all agree that the Xbox One is not a horrible console. Fanboys will holler to the high heavens that the PS4 is more powerful, a gamer's console first, and blah blah blah, but come on folks, these two machines are practically the same. The difference between these two systems has nothing to do with specs, but in messaging. Sony learned from their mistakes with the PS3 launch, took a generation to right the ship and nailed it with the PS4. On the other hand, Microsoft failed in positioning the Xbox One. They incorrectly predicted the market and it has been a shit show for them since they announced the new console. Only now has things come back to normalcy, but it is already too late. PS4 has the edge and it will not be easily relinquished. I'm sure the Xbox One won't be a disaster, but it has catching up to do and that is never easy. It has pretty much assured itself the runner up position this generation, unless Sony does something amazingly stupid.
And Sony never does anything that is stupid.
All in all, I would hate to see the Xbox One utterly fail because of poor marketing. An army of Joe Schmoes, many of them like you and me, worked on this machine. I'm sure they will feel proud when they see it on store shelves or an ad for it on TV. They turn to their friends and family and say they had a hand in making that and be happy, up until they come to the realization that some overpaid turd with an MBA ruined it.