Saturday, December 27, 2008

MSN Marketing Support Programs Exploratory

Keller (2008, p 131) emphasizes the importance of marketing support programs, especially for establishing the points of parity and points of difference. This is essential to moving to desired brand equity.

Microsoft has a small problem with place for some of its MSN sub-brands. The introduction of the Windows LIVE brand for some of the MSN branded properties means there are two places to go for MSN services. As an example, consider MSN Search and Windows LIVE Search. You can go to to begin a search using Microsoft search technology, or to .

Both sites use the same search engines. Both parent brands are applied to the sub-brands. In most cases analysts such as Rosoff and Tancer refer to Microsoft Online Services using the MSN brand rather than Windows LIVE. 75% of my classmates prefer the Windows LIVE brand to the MSN brand and the remaining 25% are indifferent to Microsoft in general. Only 12.5% were aware of MSN as a brand.

The pricing of site visitor services is free while the price advertisers pay is based on the type of ad and a bid process that incorporates click through rates in the costing algorithm. MSN is perceived to be fair in its pricing of advertising. Advertisers are in fact concerned about potential pricing abuse by Google and Yahoo.

According to Harrison (2008, p 1) 400 advertisers have filed a complaint against Google and Yahoo with the U.S. Justice Department. The Association of National Advertisers (ANA) comments that Yahoo and Google erode competition with the potential for higher advertising prices. In the final analysis however, Agarwal (2006, p 1) summarizes that while advertisers like MSN technology and price, they don’t plan to spend more with the search portal because it does not draw as much traffic as Google.

Brandweek (2000, p 1) awarded MSN a Silver Award for its marketing tactic to sponsor the NYC Road Runners Club and the NYC marathon. As mentioned in section two, sponsorship is an important aspect of MSN marketing support. In addition, Carter (2005, p 1) commends MSN’s masterful incorporation of TV and online advertising with events to promote the MSN brand. MSN promotion is given high marks by external analysts.

Elkins (2001, p 1) quotes ad execs, “MSN’s strategy of customizing ad programs to marketers’ specific needs is what company officials hope will give it an edge.” Thus personalization is another marketing support program tactic used by MSN. Furthermore, MSN personalization is held in high regard by advertisers.

Agarwal, Amit (May 03, 2006). Bloomberg spoils the MSN Advertising party in Redmond. Retrieved on December 2, 2008 from

Brandweek (04/03/2000). Silver Awards. Retrieved on November 24, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Carter, B (2/5/2005). MSN takes on Google with search engine launch. Marketing. Retrieved on November 24, 2008 from EBSCOHOST.

Harrison, Todd (September 8, 2008). Are Yahoo and Google playing Monopoly? Retrieved on December 2, 2008 from

Keller, K (2008). Strategic Brand Management. Pearson/Prentice-Hall.

Kirk, Jeremy (10/31/2008). Google introduces service-level guarantee for its Apps suite. Retrieved on December 2, 2008 from

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