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25/03/2011

WORKSHOP 1

BUSINESS TO BUSINESS MARKETING

Thibaud LABART, Clmence THAI, Florine PARAWAN, Alejandro RUIZ, Niina PAKONEN, Filip MARCEL

Abstract
Our task as a group was to choose a B2B company, find information about its structure, strategy, customer relationships, and analyze these things with the help of our course material. The company we chose for this exercise was Microsoft Corporation because it is a very well-known example of an international B2B company. Thus, we have 6 members and 4 different nationalities in our group work, thereby allows us to learn how to work in a multinational environment which is also one important thing this exercise has to offer.

Company Structure
Microsoft Corporation is the world`s largest software company, founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975. His annual income reached 62,484 billion dollars over the year 2010, and employs 88,180 people in 107 different countries. Its main activity is to develop operating systems and software for microcomputers. Its headquarters is located in Redmond, near Seattle, and its best sales are the Windows operating system and Microsoft Office suite. Its today the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help businesses to realize their potential. At the beginning, Microsoft Corporation was a start-up with few employees. Then, it became a public company and finally a technology giant. Thanks to that, its corporate structure has become more global, complex and hierarchical. In 2010, Microsoft's board of directors consists of nine members, including the company's founder and chairman of the board Bill Gates, current CEO Steve Ballmer and seven independent, non-management directors. The board monitors the company's activities via five committees: Antitrust Compliance, Audit, Compensation, Governance and Nominating and Finance. Under the board of director, there is the senior management which has seven business presidents, five senior vice presidents of different functions (such as human resources and marketing), the chief research and strategy officer, the chief software architect, the general counsel and the chief operating officer. Microsofts business own 5 divisions. The first one is client which includes the windows product family and the relationship with personal computer manufacturer. The second one is servers and tools including Software server products, services and solutions. The third one is online services business which consists of an online advertising platform. There is also Microsoft business division which includes the software Microsoft office, desktop programs And the last one is Entertainment and Devices Division with consoles and accessories, digital music

Microsoft Strategy
Microsoft is, nowadays, one of the biggest companies in computing field. Thats why its strategy is diversified, depending on the product they offered. There are currently three main categories in Microsoft products: Operating systems, Software and Gaming. Microsoft is one of the most important leaders on the market of computers; one part of their strategy is actually to diversify their product as a goal to make more profits. Here is why they have started their own game console. Thanks to this project, they could break into the market of video game. When the Xbox was launched, it was supposed to be the most powerful game console, and this way, be in direct competition with the other companies which were already in the market of video game. Also, thanks to their strength, on the internet for example with their Software Internet Explorer, they could be able to mix their skills and to develop online games with a game console. As multimedia is the main field of Microsoft, they always develop their product on this topic, and use their different skills to make their own products. For instance, Microsoft saw the opportunities in the Smartphone market but they dont have any experience to make the phone and develop their own terminal like Apple. Thats why in order to break into this market, they used their knowledge and skills about operating system to create their own operating system only for Smartphone, and after sell it to companies who make the phone (partnership with Nokia). The strategy to break into new market, always linked to the multimedia is to use their background and skills to propose their own product, even if they dont make the interface. Then, the big asset of Microsoft in Operating System and Software is that its Operating System is the more used all around the world, especially for personal computer. Thanks to that, they implement into their Operating System the most part of their own Software, such as Internet Explorer, Outlook Express for the email, or Windows Media Player for videos and music. As those Software are already in the Operating System, users use those one, and not the other ones that others companies make. This is an important part of their strategy: use their position on the market to promote their own product. Moreover, their communication policy tells the opposite. Indeed, Microsoft seems actually more concern to be more closed with open source Software. They based an important part of their communication strategy on this main point, because it is on this goal that people criticized them most part of the time. Communication is very important in Microsoft strategy, because even if the most part of its customers are companies (companies who buy the OS for their interface, such as personal computers or phone), a lot of Microsoft product are also for personal consumers. So they have to have different type of communication policy. One for personal consumers and the other one for companies. In one hand, we have strategy for particular consumers, which focuses its communication on the freedom that customers can access thanks to their products, all the possibilities they give to client, the fact that now, Microsoft try to have more partnership with open source software, etc And on the other hand, we have the strategy developed for companies which is more focused on performance of its products. This strong strategy is clearly present for companies which are present in B2C and B2B market.

Microsoft Customer Relationships


Microsoft has about 160 million customers all around the world. This number includes individual customers, small-sized and medium-sized organizations, enterprises, government institutions, educational institutions, Internet service providers, application developers, etc. The Company has different operation canters, which are located in Ireland, Singapore and some of them located in the USA.

Feedback tools
Microsoft is a committed company with the customers satisfaction, which is the reason why they have a feedback policy. This feedback policy is based in a strategy named Customers and Partners Experience (CPE), and this strategy involves many particular issues. Some tools that Microsoft uses to measure the customers satisfaction are principally the product satisfaction surveys, usability studies, online feedback forms, etc., this kind of service after sales is really important for the company, because this is a way to show a completely interest for the customers satisfaction. In one-on-one conversations with customers and partners, Microsoft establishes Conditions of Satisfaction, which should help to know the customers needs and principally, it helps to know the way that they want to do business with Microsoft. Microsoft Partner Network is another traditional program to address feedback. The network is really helpful for the partners, customers and Microsoft itself, it helps to forge deeper connections with some others. Partner Resource Desk a service in the United States that consists in telephone calls or e-mail contact for knowing the customers satisfaction.

Support & Help Tools


Microsoft Customer Service and Support is a phone line that operates from every part of the world. Microsoft together with the Global Support Services website (http://support.microsoft.com), are one of the largest support networks in the industry. Microsoft Fix It Solution Centre gives access to the support experience, self-help tips, recommendations etc. It includes the Fix It Button, which provides one-click solutions to common customer issues. Since Dec. 2008, Microsoft Answers is a consumer-focused online support community that is able for mainstreaming users to get help from other users and from Microsoft technical experts. As a response from customer feedback, in Feb. 2011 the site was updated in order to make it easier to use. Microsoft has also its own official Twitter account, @MicrosoftHelps, which improves online communities and self-help support. For daily interaction between customers and Microsoft developers and product managers, there is a Microsoft Connect professional feedback platform. Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and TechNet are online communities, built in order to exchange experiences within the technical customers and professionals. MSDN is also resource for software developers and provides tools such as programming information, sample codes, documentation, technical articles, reference guides etc.

Conclusion
We saw in this workshop Microsoft owns some characteristics to B-to-B Marketing, such as the close relationship between the company and the customers (co-operation approach and not just transactional approach), the diversified and technical products, and active buyers. However, the contradictory with the B-to-B marketing is that there are a lot of customers all around the world, thereby is not so common in this area (B-to-B marketing).

References
Websites:
Microsoft News Center , fast facts

http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/inside_ms.mspx#About
eHow, Money, Microsfts corporate structure

http://www.ehow.com/facts_7294638_microsoft_s-corporate-structure.html Microsoft Cloud Strategy


http://www.microsoft.com/softwareplusservices/

PC world, business Center; whats driving Microsoft technology? http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/145175/whats_driving_microsofts_strateg y.html


Microsoft support web page http://support.microsoft.com/?LN=en-us&x=15&y=11