2001 Marketers of the Year: Stephanie Ferguson

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As director-PC experience solutions marketing group at Microsoft Corp., Stephanie Ferguson is responsible for the U.S. marketing efforts for all Microsoft Windows client products, including Windows XP, Windows 2000 and other software.

This year was a major one for Ferguson and her staff, who drove the highly anticipated launch of Windows XP in October while also working to promote Windows 2000 and its b-to-b focused professional suite.

For the Windows XP launch, Ferguson worked closely with McCann-Erickson to develop the advertising campaign, "Yes you can," which is seemingly ubiquitous on TV, in print and elsewhere.

The Wharton School M.B.A. graduate said partnering with PC manufacturers such as Compaq Computer Corp. and IBM Corp. was also a significant part of the overall campaign. Microsoft provided the creative elements of the campaign, featuring a visual of green grass and blue sky, to these computer makers and worked with them to market computers running XP software.

An important part of the launch was getting businesses to participate in trials of the software once the code was stabilized, Ferguson said. To help promote the product, her group prepared a business evaluation kit for partners, with product information available on CD. "If our partners can get on board with that, we can initiate change in the marketplace," Ferguson said.

This year, Ferguson also focused heavily on marketing the Windows 2000 platform and its professional suite to corporate buyers.

"Early in 2001, we looked at some of the strong opportunities for [Windows 2000] from a marketing perspective and identified mobile as a key area," she said. For Windows 2000 Professional, her group helped develop a campaign around mobile communications, working with original equipment manufacturer partners on an extension of the "All business, all the time" campaign, also created by McCann.

With the XP launch well under way and Windows 2000 marketing programs on track, Ferguson’s main priority now is helping to grow the PC market.

"When I think about what’s good for Microsoft and the whole industry, it’s not just making sure the PCs have XP on them, but making sure more PCs are going out," she said. "It needs to be done in conjunction with partners."

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