Microsoft marketing communication mix explains the patterns of use of elements of marketing communication such as advertising, sales promotion, events and experiences, public relations, direct marketing and personal selling by the multinational technology company.
Print and media advertising is placed at the core of Microsoft marketing strategy. Microsoft print and media advertising expenses amounted to USD 1.6 billion, USD 1.5 billion, and USD 1.6 billion in fiscal years 2018, 2017, and 2016, respectively. As illustrated in figure below, Microsoft’s print and media advertising campaigns make an appeal to needs, wishes and aspirations of target customer segment and positions Microsoft products and services as efficient tools to be used to satisfy them.
Some of Microsoft’s TV advertisements such as “the apps you want” 30-second commercial that promotes unified Windows Store within Windows Phone and Windows 8 have become viral videos in social networking sites mainly due to engaging presentation of information. Moreover, as an unprecedented move the company has placed a Wi-Fi-Enabled print advertising promotion in a special edition of Forbes magazine targeting a selected group of subscribers. Ultra-thin router and battery placed within pages of magazine granted the possibility of free internet browsing for about 3 hours. Moreover, the global technology company has been gradually shifting its focus from traditional media such to the social media and other online platforms.
Sales promotion is used by Microsoft in a frequent manner in both store formats – physical and online. Microsoft sales promotions include the following:
1. Seasonal sales promotions. Microsoft offers 12 Days of Faves promotions, during Christmas and New Year holidays. Additional seasonal sales include Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
2. Discount codes. The company offers special education-designated Microsoft coupons for students, parents, faculty, and staff, as well as discounts for members of the military.
3. Free gifts. Microsoft uses the distribution of free gifts as a sales promotions technique in an occasional manner. The company offers free apps, games, music, movies, etc. when customers send digital gift cards for Xbox and Windows.
4. Loyalty program. Microsoft Rewards allows customers to earn at least 1 point for every USD1 spent in the Microsoft Store. Moreover, Level 1 members earn up to 5 points a day, 150 points a month, when searching Bing in Microsoft Edge on PC or mobile. Level 2 members earn up to 20 points a day, 600 points a month, when searching Bing in Microsoft Edge on PC or mobile. Customers can redeem earned points for gift cards, sweepstakes entries, and nonprofit donations.
5. Point of Sales Materials. The multinational technology company uses posters, display stands and other promotional tools in its more than 116 physical stores worldwide.
Microsoft Corporation Report contains a full analysis of Microsoft marketing communication mix and Microsoft marketing strategy in general. The report illustrates the application of the major analytical strategic frameworks in business studies such as SWOT, PESTEL, Porter’s Five Forces, Value Chain analysis, Ansoff Matrix and McKinsey 7S Model on Microsoft. Moreover, the report contains analyses of Microsoft leadership, organizational structure and organizational culture. The report also comprises discussions of Microsoft business strategy, ecosystem and addresses issues of corporate social responsibility.
 Annual Report (2018) Microsoft Corporation