Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (252 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] Marketing Definitions from oSC15
An item, from my perspective, would be this: we have a marketing mailing list
that is lightly used at the moment … could we move some of these marketing
discussions over there so that we can start moving ahead with some plans. I
know that 42 is still in flux as we hash out things, but maybe starting to
organize some teams, start sharing ideas, and then coming back with specific

Just my $.02.

Bob Martens

On Jul 1, 2015, at 8:55 AM, Robert Schweikert <rjschwei@xxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hash: SHA1

Thanks for getting this started.

On 07/01/2015 01:44 AM, Home wrote:

Dear community,

I wanted to come into the overarching discussion of defining out
target audience for the project after reviewing the board’s
presentation at oSC15. At this meeting the discussed a few key
points with which they are making a proposal to the team to work on
a more targeted audience to build the strength of the project.

While many of us can agree or disagree that the Board’s intention
is correct, incorrect, relevant or irrelevant. I believe there is
great insight to be gained from their proposal to think about for
the very near future. I feel that if we do not put cards on the
table, we lose the ways in which we are strong together and weak by

For a very long time, even before the Board explained this improved
aim, we have had issues or deep thoughts about where the project is
going; what the project’s direction is. When will we be able to
think of the project as a driving force in Open Source? These are a
few things that matter and are worth reviewing.

It seems that every so often we work on doing an introspection to
find the strength within to continue with the project.

With this introduction in mind, I invite you to read on. This email
will be long, you have been warned!

The Board explained in our most recent conference that the current
project seems aimless, given that we tend to be the distribution of
everyone doing everything, and at the same time, being the
distribution that does nothing and belongs to no one. Our aim seems
lost and we must find it to gain strength and followers.

The openSUSE Board did an exercise where they placed different
audiences against a set of core features that are part of the
distribution and project. The clever arrangement showed the amount
of connections that a target audience could make with our current
technologies, particular to openSUSE.

They noted that despite the lack of marketing done for this
distribution for 13.2, we nonetheless had the highest download
numbers ever for our distribution. So, there is something to say
about the distribution that works itself as a popular choice
underground; without much intervention, or that the methods we were
able to use last minute, were really good and strong.

They defined the openSUSE’s areas of strength. They are tools,
packages, and distributions. It should be noted that these are very
technically centered, where there could probably be room for other
areas of strength in the project. However, we can leave that
discussion for later.

They considered ISVs but were quickly ruled it out because of their
lack of connections to the areas of strength. They also matched
system administrators, and developers. Again the list was short and
oriented to the technical audience.

Given these strengths the Board felt that our highest “match” would
be a developer audience looking to find a solid distribution where
their development environments would be stable and productive.

Throughout the discussion, I took a few notes and questions that I
invite the Board and all of us to try to answer. By “answer” I mean
“answer.” Please shy away from confrontational discussions on
values, morals, personal attachment and look at this discussion in
the light of the evidence and what seems rational, sensical, and

Here are some questions that I think we should think about from a
Marketing standpoint. Some of them are more fundamental than others
but for each of their particular value, please take a minute to
ponder and provide feedback.

1. The project looks for marketing strength in the light of the
technologies that the distribution currently ships with each
distribution. Kiwi, OBS, Tumbleweed, etc. Are the strengths of the
project only based on technological advancement?

At present I would say our strength as a project is clearly centered
around our technologies. Other areas of the community, event
organization, marketing have suffered significant setbacks over the
last few years. I think we need to find ways to re-start this part of
the community, reach out to encourage new contributors to help with
marketing etc.

If yes or no, which ones do you think are a strength to the project
and which ones do you think are not valuable to the project? Should
they all be technical, should they not?

There is, IMHO, much value to be added to the community by building an
active part of the community that is interested in marketing and other
non technical aspects of the project. Marketing as well as event
organization is an ongoing engagement with peak activities around a
release or an event. In between those peaks there is lots to do and to
contribute. May it be the article that highlights a gem (not a Ruby
Gem ;) ) in a new Tumbleweed release or highlights new cross team
projects or other things. It does require getting to know the "right"

2. The Board feels that a Developer audience, and maybe a System
Administrator audience, is a strong focal point for our marketing.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of approaching, via
marketing, to these two main audiences?

Not being a marketer in my naive view there could be two profiles in a
marketing campaign that use "The Makers Choice" one profile targets
sysadmins with messages that focus around stability long term support
(with the new release), devops tools etc. The second profile could
focus on developers with messages that are constructed a pretty stable
yet fast moving development platform (Tumbleweed, you guessed it ;) ).

Thus, this would be true to the idea of not changing the nature of our
project, i.e. we continue to do what we do, but we pull out certain
areas to focus messaging around those technical strengths.

Do we need a marketing campaign to attract non-technical contributors?
Maybe. We can probably also find a way to form a profile under "The
Makers Choice" for that effort.

3. Given the lesser marketing push for 13.2, which resulted in
increased download numbers, should we think of a strong push for
marketing through our traditional channels? Making the counter,
creating banners for online sites such as Facebook, Google +,
Twitter. Creating a page on our site to promote the release,
creating a release announcement to distribute, etc.

4. What are the thoughts around the strength of a developer
community versus other target audiences such as education, public
service, finance, medicine, research, general public, non-technical
users, gamers, etc? What are the merits of a developer community
target as opposed to others?

I think all of those are fair targets, eventually. But if all done at
once we once again end up with everything for everyone, i.e. nothing
for anybody. Again, from a naive marketing point of view, i.e. mine ;)
, there should be nothing wrong with creating a campaign that targets
developers and sys-admins (see the profiles idea above) and run with
that for a while. A year or two down the road we can pick new targets
and start building on past successes.

5. If there is a marked marketing strategy resulting in practical
application, what the core activities that we should do for the
project in marketing terms to target a developer audience versus
what we currently do?

6. The project is large and has a few diverse areas of focus. If we
are targeting developers, should we keep or remove initiatives that
do not align with the target audience in hopes that by
concentrating efforts into one audience will produce a better
outcome in the end? For example, why work on integrating so many
desktop platforms when a developer might simply care to have
support for specific languages, a command line, a text editor and a

The point of the marketing effort is not to change the nature of the
project, i.e. tell people to stop working on some things and work on
others. That by the way is not even possible, everyone needs to work
on what they are interested in ;) . Additionally developers are
desktop users too and thus having a choice in desktops is probably
appreciated by developers.

If there are new areas that are identified through marketing and
communication efforts where we currently lack then it is definitely
worth the conversation to see if we can attract people to help build
up those technical areas.

If a development environment is an aim, should we not remove
efforts that go into areas unrelated to a development environment?

Nope, see above. The marketing campaign should highlight and broadcast
certain aspects of the project. Think of it as a lens or magnifying
glass through which one only sees the parts that the campaign focuses
on. That does not imply that everything around this should have to
stop. Everything else should continue and then we can use different
lenses, i.e. other marketing campaigns to focus on other areas.

My $0.02,

- --
Public Cloud Architect LINUX
IRC: robjo
Version: GnuPG v2

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