Wanted: A Guide to Community Marketing at Mozilla

If you clicked on this, it’s quite probable that you want such a thing.  When I joined Mozilla, one of the first items Jane and I discussed was the need to help the community do as much of its own marketing as possible.  One of the most inspiring things about Mozilla is the energy and enthusiasm: it is the antidote to the oft-repeated and jaded view that open source software is only about money: many people want other people to use Firefox because it is good software that is good for them.

Shortly after I joined Mozilla, Alba, who is a good friend of mine, contacted me to tell me she had taken part in the Firefox Download Day world record attempt.  We had never spoken about Firefox before, but I think it’s likely that if Alba is motivated to join that campaign, there are other things should would like to do to spread good software.

Now, in Europe, we are a diverse bunch of people.  Culturally, we tend to consume our own first, American culture second, and other European culture third.  The exception to this is the Russian diaspora in former Eastern Block countries, which partly goes to explain Russia’s impressive showing in the Eurovision Song Contest (with all due respect to the talents of Dima Bilan and Serebro).  But the point is, marketing Mozilla software to these countries requires more than just a translation of talking points.  It requires an understanding the culture.  We held a discussion on this topic at MozillaCamp Europe, and David Ascher made the very strong point that “localising” amounts to far more than translating.


James Surowiecki never watched the Eurovision Song Contest

So for me there are two purposes to creating a guide to Mozilla Community Marketing.  For one thing, Community Marketing is big.  Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mind-bogglingly big it is.  We need a Hitch Hikers’ Guide to Mozilla Community Marketing: to all the different sites, information, resources, projects and teams that are out there.

And while the stories of disastrous attempts at cross-cultural marketing are typically urban legends (the Chevy Nova sold just fine in Mexico), we need to give people freedom – as much freedom as possible – to market Mozilla software in their way.  In the way that makes sense for where they live, for what they do.  Naturally, this has to be done responsibly: Mozilla needs to make sure anything “official” is accurate and honest, but that does not mean that Mozilla has to control what the community does in marketing.
So, I have two questions to anyone interested in community marketing in Europe and beyond:

  • What do you need that you don’t have today?
  • What do you have today that is especially effective?

Any thoughts are welcome, as comments here or on email to patrick (at) mozilla.com.

6 thoughts on “Wanted: A Guide to Community Marketing at Mozilla

  1. Sounds like you need to embrace the Vulcan philosophy of IDIC (“Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”). Sorry I’ve nothing worthwhile to add to the discussion but it’s an interesting post.

  2. Patrick, something more useful is that it occurs to me that a set of real ‘user stories’ would be useful for demonstrating why Firefox. I’m thinking of short case studies that show how Firefox address specific user’s and their needs. I guess the same use cases could be done for different locals to highlight differences and make them suitable for use.

  3. SteveLee –> that’s a great suggestion. Clear use cases can very well illustrate users’ needs and shed light on how Mozilla can better address those needs.

  4. Patrick, great blog. I always enjoy reading your stuff (almost as much as fakeJonathan). As you know I have been a Mozilla supporter and personal evangelist for years. Pretty much everyone I know has either gone and installed Mozilla (ie. Firefox and Thunderbird) on their personal computers, or I have done it for them (and I rarely needed to use excessive force). Everyone is very pleased with the switch, as most of them came from IE and Outlook. In my opinion that is the most compelling piece of reasoning, similar to the OpenOffice/StarOffice argumentation. Mozilla is not IE and not Outlook. Sure Mozilla works better, just as OO/SO works better than MS Office, but the main thing for most people I have spoken to remains that Mozilla rocks because it’s not the IE and Outlook so many people have grown to hate, but feel somehow inextricably linked to. Just my 2 cents. Blog-on. cheers, E.

  5. Pingback: A Guide To Mozilla Community Marketing « Tuna Park

  6. Pingback: It takes a Community (and they could use a Marketing Guide) — Mozilla Debut’s theirs « Barton’s Blog

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