In which Matthew goes to Training (and comes back with Ideas about Marketing)

Matthew Miller mattdm at
Wed Oct 21 14:12:59 UTC 2015

In which Matthew Goes to Training

Like many of you, I come from a mostly-technical career background, and
ain't got one of them there fancy big city business degrees. But, I know
there's a real actual discipline in all this stuff, and I try to pick up
things that I think will be useful for Fedora. Last week, I went to
training which in part described a model for the overall endeavor of
marketing tech products, and I think there might be some ideas we can
benefit from.

The model itself is the proprietary product of the training company, and
some of it, of course, isn't really relevant ("Setting prices!"), so what
follows isn't a copy of the training materials, but kind of a
generalization of some of the concepts I took away.

Basically, there's a whole bunch of activities under the general heading
"Marketing", and they can be mapped on one axis from conceptual to more
technical, and on another axis from strategic to... you know, actually
doing stuff. Something like this:

A Model of Marketing

    Finding          Defining    /----------\   Marketing Plan
    User Problems    Our Market  |Conceptual|  
                                 \-----v----/      Getting New Users
    Identify       Product             | 
     Strengths      Portfolio          |  User       Keeping Existing Users
                                       | Personas 
    "Why/why not           Business    |       
        Fedora?"            Plan       |      Measuring Program
    /---------\                        |        Effectiveness    /--------\
    |Strategic >-----------------------+------------------------< Tactical|
    \---------/           Requirements |  Finding References     \--------/
                 Product               |  & Testimonials  
    Assess        Roadmap   Use Cases  |                   Collateral
     Competition                       |   Finding Leads
                            Project    |                  "Sales"   Events
    Assess Our     Here       Status   |     Launch Plan  Training
     Own Tech  Is Literally A     /----^----\                        Demos
                Box That Just     |Technical| Show Leadership       
                Says Innovation   \---------/  Through Blogs & Speaking


The core takeaway — and, basically, this is Spoiler Alert for the
training — is that the essential activity of Marketing is _finding
problems in the market_ and helping the organization create and
distribute solutions to them.

Current Fedora Marketing

I think it's fair to say that right now, Fedora Marketing, together with
Fedora Ambassadors, is very focused on the bottom right quadrant. More
technical, more tactical. Specifically, we work on trumpeting new
releases and the launch plan (Go/No-Go meeting), we work on collateral
(brochures, websites, swag), we do events. And, Marketing/CommOps is
planning to do demo material and provide better event support for

And the Magazine fits pretty nicely here, too — there's a whole category
basically about demonstrating your organization's leadership in an area,
and that's blogs and press outreach and speaking at conferences and
social media and so on.

Who Does the Rest?

The training presented several concepts for how this landscape might be
divided among different parts of an organization. One would be to have
someone focus on the strategic side and someone else on the tactical;
another is to divide top and bottom. And then they had another chart
which has the left side split top and bottom and the right side as a
third bigger oval. This last, most complicated one I think matches most
closely what we already have in Fedora —

a. I think, for the most part, the Fedora Council and FESCo have worked
on that top-left quadrant — at least, in defining the Cloud, Server,
Workstation portfolio and the target markets for this, and I hope in
identifying strengths.

b. And, reasonably well, the the bottom-left corresponds to the Cloud,
Server, Workstation edition Working Groups.

c. And then, the right side basically falls under Fedora Marketing and


As noted above, Marketing and Ambassadors are really focused on the
"below the line" activites on the right side. That leaves a big weak area
in the more conceptual but action-oriented side. This is a big hole, and
it seems like improving this could make a difference.

But, Bigger Picture Problem!

Refer back up to the punchline, and notice something I left out —
identifying user problems that we want to target. This is something we
did in very broad strokes with the three editions, but which we aren't so
great at doing continually.

I'm working on the Fedora 23 release annoucement right now, and this
really hit home. Rather than going out, finding things our users are
having trouble with, and coming back with "There! We fixed it for you!",
we're working on "The widget set number has been incremented. There are
fewer bugs in most of the things, while others have new bugs. Some of the
parts have been moved to better places."

Now, some of that is just the nature of open source — it's not like we
have a management team that can tell everyone what they ought to be
working on. But, as a project, we certainly have the ability to look at
what we can _find_ in the world of open source, figure out what we need
to do to connect it together, and thereby solve actual user problems. If
we had a bigger emphasis on doing this systematically, the marketing
_materials_ would basically write themselves.

Call for Help

At Flock this year, Joe Brockmeier suggested that Improved Marketing
might make a good 12-18 month Fedora Objective. I've been reflecting on
that for a while, and, given the kick from the above, I'm thinking that
it's a good idea. But, going back to my first line here, it'd be most
awesome if we had the objective captained by someone with an actual
background in this area. Someone for whom all of this is _obvious
101-level stuff_, not new material. Maybe that's already someone here.
Maybe it's someone you know. What do you think?

Matthew Miller
<mattdm at>
Fedora Project Leader

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