Any guesses what the Vista NPS score looks like for Microsoft?
Given the lashing they have had in the press, CNET's Don Reisinger lays out the case for building positive word of mouth for the next product:
“Technology’s trickle-down effect is simple: a tech company screws up a product in ways that the tech-savvy crowd will notice, but the mainstream crowd won’t. Once that happens, geeks start railing on the product and discuss why it’s so bad. Eventually, they start complaining to their family and friends, who don’t know much about it and the distaste for products starts entering the mainstream. Once that happens, those people will start talking to others and soon it becomes viral.
“And that’s exactly why Microsoft can’t make the same mistake it made with Vista. That operating system didn’t appeal to the geeks and they spent the past year telling the world about it. Once that happened, the world started believing it (regardless of whether or not it was true) and Microsoft has paid the price.
“So what does it need to do with Windows 7? Make sure the geeks love it.”
Put this way, Vista just looks like a special case of word of mouth marketing, one in this instance where negative WOM had a multiplicative effect. It's a timely reminder that a relatively small group of highly vocal influencer's can have a disproportionate impact on the brand message so you had better get them on-side early. As Mark Twain said, "I never argue with people who buy their ink by the barrel". Or printer ink cartridges by the ton, apparently.