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Firefox 3 vs. MMM: 5 reasons why one will work, and the other didn’t

by on 16/06/08 at 8:30 am

Firefox 3 Download Day is officially 17th June (Tuesday this week). The Mozilla Foundation has stated that they want to set the Guinness World Record for ‘Most Software Downloaded in 24 Hours’. Their interactive map already reports over 1,2m pledges, with South Africa contributing over 4000 open-source-lovin’ citizens.

I’ve been wondering, from a marketing perspective, what works and what doesn’t with something like this. How do you galvanise action on a mass scale like Mozilla has done? OK, so the cat’s not in the bag yet, but 1,2 million pledges ain’t bad.

This is important and relevant to us here in crime-riddled South Africa. I was really gutted last week that the Million Man March didn’t quite get the response it deserved – despite the best intentions of our community’s finest.

The reason why I’m writing this post is because I think that a march against crime was a great idea. It had all the right ingredients: a champion, a BHAG, and a message. We’re talking about the biggest threat afflicting this country since apartheid, so you’d think that, we as a nation, would’ve collectively got behind this cause.

Let’s be honest here. Only 4000 people pitched up. That’s 99.96% off your target figure. Not a good sign.

So, how does Mozilla’s Firefox do it; and where did MMM go wrong? Here are some initial points, off the top of my head:

1. A full-time team is needed: Something like this cannot be done by one guy part-time. Desmond Dube, legend that he is for initiating the effort, clearly did not have the time to give the Million Man March his all. You need a team going around the clock to make it happen. The MMM needed a full-time champion. For example, someone like Danny Jordaan who worked tirelessly on SA’s 2010 bid. It needed an organiser. Someone to personally get the journalists, the commentators, the captains of industry, as well as the blogging community in SA, behind the effort. And then, it needed more brand ambassadors – either sponsors or volunteers – to adopt the message and mention it at every given opportunity. This is clearly what’s happening with Mozilla’s Firefox.

2. Define the Bad Guy: In Firefox’s case, we all know who the bad guy is. I think with MMM, more could’ve been done to push the stats on crime on everyone’s mind. I’ve heard many varying, and conflicting, reports, and it’d be great to have had an authoritative forum on what really is happening in terms of break-ins, violent crime, convictions, etc. as well as impact on economy and our future.

3. Get the right partners: I’m fairly confident there’s a bunch of corporates who’d want to get in the mix if the MMM had enough support behind it. Look at Firefox for example. Mozilla, being the ‘enemy of my enemy’, is a lot of people’s friend. Although, they don’t have many corporate logos on their website, it’s a pretty safe bet there are a lot of big names wanting them to succeed.

4. Tap into a viral community: The irrepressible Nic Haralambous appeared to be the only one giving it horns, with a couple of others paying lip-service. Other than some political folk and one or two companies trying to canvass sales, it seems as if there wasn’t any real buy-in. Compare this to Firefox where every blogger worth their salt has either posted, twittered or emailed about the event. I reckon it’s pretty damning that there will probably be as many people downloading Firefox in South Africa as there were people attending the Million Man March.

5. Make it easy to get involved: I’d have loved to have marched, only thing is that, er, it’s a long way to Pretoria. Again, a full-time team would have been better placed to organise it, but nationwide gatherings in all the central areas might have worked better. Making the march today also might have been better timing. Looking at what Mozilla have done. They’ve got badges and logos you can download. Their map shows what’s happening in the world, and they’re continually updating the community with emails on what’s happening. I believe there are a lot of things that could be done next time to help us, the men on the street, get involved; e.g. downloadable pdf’s so we can print out posters, SMS-your-friend reminders for march time, date and location. etc. etc. etc…

Bear in mind, please, that this article is not a gripe. Hats off to Desmond and co. for having the balls to take the first step. It certainly made me think more about how I can get involved. This is a work in progress, and I’m showing my support here. Also, I’m painfully aware that it’s wayyy easier to write this in hindsight.

Hopefully this post puts something into the hat for the next effort, and, should there be one, I’ll certainly get involved.

Fred Roed is the marketing guy in the Ideate crew. Fred is the CEO of web marketing company World Wide Creative and the co-founder of online learning portal Heavy Chef. Fred loves writing about people out there doing marketing right. Follow Fred on Twitter here. View more articles by Fred Roed.

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4 Responses to “Firefox 3 vs. MMM: 5 reasons why one will work, and the other didn’t”

  1. SaulK

    Jun 16th, 2008

    Fred I think your method of working this out is incorrect. As of right now only 4154 people had pledged to download Firefox from SA thus making the triple M actually more popular.

    The reason Firefox is doing better is based on two reasons in my humble opinion:

    The first is that downloading Firefox is a lot easier than going to Pretoria for a march. Clicking the download link requires less time and exercise than a march.

    Secondly Firefox is a well known brand but more importantly it’s gotten the support of almost every blogger out there. Besides for SARocks I have never heard a thing about the MMM.

    Excellent article though Fred, useful to market any product.

  2. Rhett

    Jun 16th, 2008

    Just a word of advice to South African’s hoping to download Firefox 3 on Tuesday.

    Remember that this is probably going to be American time. So when we all get to work tomorrow it’s going to be 3 AM there.

  3. Fred

    Jun 16th, 2008

    Saul, I agree that Firefox is a bigger brand – however, the object of this article is not actually FIrefox, but ‘Firefox Download Day’ which is a similar to MMM in that it is an initiative aimed at galvanising a community.

    As to which is more popular, I’m not sure that it’s a straight race between the two. Firefox are aiming for 1,7m downloads in 1 day, and it looks like they may get close. MMM aimed for a (minimum of) 100,000 people, and it was wayyy off.

    My point in the article is that it sucks that we can’t make something work that is far more worthwhile than downloading software. So, how can we make it succeed next time?

  4. SaulK

    Jun 16th, 2008

    The biggest fault for me about the MMM besides the fact that it was barely advertised was the fact that it was on a Tuesday.
    For some reason Desmond Dube didn’t realise that we all have to go work/school and a day such as today (being youth day) would have been perfect not only for press but for convenience.

    This is just the first one, the next MMM will be better.

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