Adobe’s Marketing Of Flash and Apollo Should Be Copied By Others

Adobe Apollo RIA Applications
In all the years of watching Apple, Microsoft, Real and Adobe (Macromedia) talk about their video players and platforms, I’m still amazed at how quickly Adobe seems to be able to get people to talk about their products before they’re even available. In this industry in particular, perception can quickly become reality, like it or not. I credit Macromedia will really being the first to market like crazy their Flash player in that regard, talking about some of the functionality and uses for it before much of that functionality was even available, thereby creating a "perception" in the market that the player always had the functionality. I still get people who call today saying that DRM works well in Flash or that Flash video works great on mobile devices, when in fact neither is yet the case but they assume it is since they have heard of other Flash products that Adobe is working on to address those problems.

It’s the same with Apollo. I keep reading news articles, like the one on Yahoo! news today, where people say things like, "Adobe’s new media player downloads video for offline viewing." What new media player? Apollo, now named Adobe AIR, is NOT available for download, only the SDK is. Yet many in the press, investment community and the industry keep asking me or telling me that the new Apollo player is working really well or that it is changing the way content creators develop for offline viewing. Maybe it will, but considering the Adobe Media Player is not even available for at least another few months one can’t say that those things are happening today. Even more interesting to note is that this same article on Yahoo! talks about the new RealPlayer and says, "which will be available for public testing next week" but then it doesn’t say anything about the Adobe Media Player not being out till the fall. A great example of how Adobe seems to just always stand above the others in the perception factor.

But that’s the kind of perception Adobe has in the market with its Flash product line, people just assume all sorts of things about it, right or not. Sure, it’s good for Adobe and bad for its competitors and it has both a negative and positive effect on the market. Yes, anytime you can get a content creator interested in creating more compelling video for consumption and get people excited, that helps the industry. But at the same time, customers with wrong expectations then are harder to work with on adopting technology that they think should already be there. Yes, it gives me and a chance to educate people, but I’d rather educate them on facts as opposed to "perception" in the market, but I seem to do more of the latter of late.

Other companies should take note on the way Adobe markets its entire Flash product line and the ways they go about getting others to talk about it. In my eyes, other companies could learn a lot from Adobe’s marketing skills.