I was watching a late night financial program on television in
early July, 2001 when I learned that Microsoft is allowing PC
manufacturers to control which icons are included on new
Desktops. Historically, Microsoft has argued that the Windows
desktop was their "sacrosanct intellectual property" and that
only their icons -- not those of their competitors -- could
reside on the desktop of a new computer.
This was highly interesting to me since it confirms what I have
been repeatedly saying over the past year -- that the Windows
desktop is extremely valuable marketing real estate. As a matter
of fact, Microsoft and its competitors found it to be so
valuable that a federal court case was fought over access to the
desktop (among other issues regarding the Windows operating
It is interesting that there are still naysayers who question
the marketing power of the Windows desktop. One person comes to
mind who wrote me to say that he thought desktop marketing was a
"neat gimmick." I was incredulous at this kind of uninformed
attitude! You don't have to be a marketing genius to see that
the desktop is perhaps one of the most *logical* places to
advertise. Think about it. What other screen on the entire
computer system is the first screen you see when you boot up?
What other screen is always visible? The Windows desktop!
It is clear that Microsoft and their competitors don't view the
Windows desktop as a "neat gimmick." Federal court cases that
cost millions of dollars are not fought over gimmicks no matter
how "neat" they may be.
One thing I would like to point out is that Microsoft assigned
an almost religious value to the Windows desktop by referring to
it as their "sacrosanct intellectual property." Let's take a
look at the definition of "sacrosanct" as defined by Websters:
Sacrosanct comes from Latin sacrosanctus, consecrated with
religious ceremonies, hence holy, sacred, from sacrum, religious
rite (from sacer, holy) + sanctus consecrated (from sancire, to
make sacred by a religious act).
When Microsoft called the Windows desktop their "sacrosanct
intellectual property" they assigned a holy or sacred value to
it. Again, no "neat gimmick" here.
What makes the Windows desktop so valuable? It is the fact that
very few people buy on a first time visit to a site. The key to
making sales is *repetition*. It is a basic marketing principle
that the overwhelming majority of customers need to be exposed
to an offer three or more times before actually making the
purchase. And the Windows desktop provides the multiple
exposures necessary to make the sale. Here are the facts:
- Capturing the desktop is key to capturing users, eyeballs, and
market share. - The desktop is the first screen the user sees
when the computer boots up. - The desktop is the only persistent
screen that the user returns to again and again.
For the believers in desktop marketing the question is *how* to
get their company on the desktop. Big companies that have the
money are paying OEMs such as Compaq, Dell, and Gateway
substantial sums to get their icons shipped on the desktops of
new computers. As a matter of fact, it was reported that in
certain instances AOL will pay OEMs around $35 per computer to
place AOL on the Windows XP desktop. Ouch! $35 per desktop
shortcut. That's quite a King's ransom.
Historically, the cost of getting on the desktop has been
extremely high which speaks to the value of desktop real estate.
It is my belief that desktop marketing is going to fast replace
the "old ways" of online marketing -- many of which simply don't
work. On the contrary, desktop marketing is highly effective and
gets results and these successful companies know it.
But the Windows desktop is no longer the exclusive territory of
Fortune 500 companies. The good news is See You Again Software,
LLC offers extremely affordable desktop marketing products that
allow small online businesses to place their company icons on
the desktop -- right next to industry giants like AOL and
Microsoft. Visitors can then click on the icon at any time --
right from their desktop -- and are automatically taken directly
back to the businesses' web site.
So, once again, I am beating the drums for desktop marketing.
Remember, there is a reason that America Online is a
multi-billion dollar Fortune 500 company. The marketing
executives at AOL are not wet behind the ears -- they are
seasoned marketers who know they must be aggressive to get
results. And desktop marketing is a key component in getting
About the author:
Paul E. Burke is President of See You Again Software, LLC and
the innovator behind the #1 best-selling professional desktop
marketing products in history. You can e-mail him at
email@example.com. To learn more about desktop
marketing and how it can increase your customer acquisition and
retention, please visit: http://www.seeyouagainsoftware.com