Just an epiphany

I've never done anything for the open source community. Now it's time to give a hand. But how? During the holidays I had an epiphany.

I'm not a programmer, nor a designer but I'm studying lots of communication and marketing books, so I'll give you a typical way (not the only one and probably not the best) to approach the marketing and promotional stuffs. I think that GNU/Linux has "got game" to rule the world, so it's necessary that the world knows it. Don't look at this paper like a commercial paper. I don't want to sell anything. Sometimes I use many "commercial" words, but it's because if we want to beat the enemy (commercial software) we must use their weapons.

Some advice for a marketing plan

First of all, these should be defined:

  • a teamwork composed of some technical experts such as hackers and gurus. Some common users (considered as someone that use only GNU/Linux distros for at least one year), some newbie users (considered as someone that for any reason is using MS' OS more than GNU/Linux, or that has just joined the open source world), someone of the Ubuntu/Canonical team, and some marketing / communication experts, and

  • a period to define the plan: 3 - 4 months (we have time until Dapper Drake's release) , and
  • a periond to deploy the plan (short, medium, long term choices).

Once these are set out, we can begin.

Context Analysis

Lend an ear to the context, pay attention to the most important environmental factors. It can be useful take some surveys. We could design some useful, well structured survey using this project, PHPSurveyor. In this case, we need a host. If one cannot be found, it could be interesting to read the ubuntuforums posts in order to define "the most important users' questions" and the resulting concern. Environmental factors can lend a hand or provide inspiration for our marketing plan. At this point we should at least consider as environmental factors:

social and economical context:

  • economics trends: what are the economical trends? Are we in an expansive period? Depressive?

  • cultural, social, political worth trends: can we identify some particular people's concerns?

  • benefit & threat of the environment: a summary of the previous points.

  • marketing plans involvments of benefit & threat

market sector:

  • company's market sector: in which sector the company is? What are the characteristics?

  • other competitors: which are the main competitors?

  • analysis of the potential followers: what are the competitors' strategies? Which are their weaknesses and strengths?

  • analysis of the equivalent products: can we identify some products that could substitute ours? Which are their weaknesses and strengths?

  • analysis of the potential users: how can they influence the plan's result?

  • benefit & threat of the market sector: a summary of the previous points.

  • marketing plans involvments of benefit & threat


  • goals & limits: which are the company's goals? Are they well defined? Are they reachable?

  • economical condition: are we rich enough to support the plan?

  • kind of management: what are the management's assets? (eg. widespread technical knowledge?)

  • organizational structure and culture: how is the company organized? Could internal conflicts influence the results of the marketing plan?

  • company benefit & threat: a summary of the previous points

  • marketing plans involvments of benefit & threat

marketing mix:

  • goals & limits: what are the marketing plan goals? Do they coincide with the company's goals?

  • product analysis: what products do we offer? Do they cover all kind of needs? Which is the best? The worst? Is it necessary to redesign them?

  • analysis of the potential market targets: what is the market target? How many kind of users do we want to talk with? What kind of user do we want to talk with? What does the user need? Do we know him/her well? Are they loyal? How can we talk with them? What kind of benefits can we communicate to the user? What kind of benefit can our product give (social, psychological, practical benefits)? How can the other competitors realize that goal? How much does the user want to pay for that benefit? (not only $$$, but a matter of, "what can I give over for the product?")

  • marketing mix analysis: price - product - promotion - delivery

  • which are our delivery services?

  • how do we advertise the product?

  • is there coherence between product and company image? what advantage can the user feel by using our product?

  • benefits & threat of the marketing strategy: a summary of the previous points

  • marketing plans involvments of benefit & threat

Concerns Found During the Path

List the problems in order of relevance:

primary problems

  • sort of problem
  • effects of the problem

secondary problems

  • sort of problem
  • effects of the problem

List the potential choices that can solve identified problems:

  • benefits
  • costs

Describe and explain the selected choice:

Technical and financial analysis:

How to participate?

If you want to make something for the project read these links:

Then, if you have any answer to the previous questions, or other ideas, sign up to the ubuntu-marketing mailing list at or

Comments and critics are welcome and encouraged.

R. Francesco Sica


MarketingPlan (last edited 2008-08-06 16:35:09 by localhost)