Defining SBS 2003 via the 5Ps of marketing [Advanced Windows Small Business Server 2003 Best Practices book excerpt]

Hello there folks! I am the publisher and the co-author of the above title on advanced SBS 2003 topics. I like to hold a daily virtual book reading and were plowing through the goodness associated with chapter one. Enjoy the passage.

The Product

Everyone agrees that the SBS 2003 product is working very well, and there is widespread satisfaction with this, the fourth major release. Clients are confident both of the stability of the product and also of the smooth interaction between the application and the operating system. Absolutely no one is begging for more features, because they are satisfied with the features and functionality that are native to SBS 2003. The product has found its footing, and now SBSers can turn their attention to other matters. For example, the efficient setup cycle takes attention away from the deployment internals of SBS 2003 and allows you to focus on the future (such as “Now what do I do with this new network?”).


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The Price

Small businesses are frugal, tending toward great price sensitivity with every purchase, and buying SBS 2003 is no exception. Recognizing this (as well as other product design considerations), Microsoft has offered both a standard and a premium edition. The bottom line from consumers is that price still sells SBS more than anything else.

The Promotions

In my travels, what SBSers gush over most are the successful SBS 2003 promotions. This includes the Microsoft Customer Relationship Management (CRM) 1.2 and SBS 2003 bundle, which is described (as of this writing) at, and which you can see in Figure 1-1.

Figure 1-1:

Now you have something to “do” with your SBS 2003 network! Put a business application such as Microsoft CRM 1.2 on top of it, to get some real work done. Note that while this figure illustrates the U.S. promotion, the promotion is actually worldwide.


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BEST PRACTICE: Go with the flow! While some SBSers are struggling to find their way as mere network installers, others are thriving with SBS 2003 because they have taken advantage of SBS as a powerful infrastructure and have added more “stuff” to it. For example, Scott Colson is an SBSer who has created a consulting niche with CRM 1.2. He told me he turned away two gigs because his staff was too busy with the CRM niche to have time to perform the other work. Sounds like the kind of SBSer you might want to shadow!

The Placement

The idea of product “placement” has several connotations. You can view product placement from a geographic perspective: for example, as of the time this book went to press, SBS 2003 is once again doing very well in Australia. There is also, of course, the product placement in which Microsoft has made SBS 2003 a channel play instead of a consumer play. From Microsoft’s perspective, growing the width of the channel and enjoying double-digit product growth is something that is going very well right now. And there is the notion of retail placement. Microsoft is now selling SBS 2003 “on the shelf” in the USA at Best Buy and Sam’s Club. This is a blessing and curse as the retail placement increases brand awareness but can penalize the SBS consultant when customers perform self- installs. Microsoft Germany will also pursue a retail strategy in 2005 with a large German retailer.





Harry Brelsford, CEO at SMB Nation (

MBA, MCSE, CNE, CLSE, CNP, MCP, MCT, SBSC (Microsoft Small Business Specialist)

PS – did you know my Windows Small Business Server 2008 (SBS 2008) book is almost here? Yes!




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