I cannot help but wonder if the days of the humble press release are over after a new marketing tactic seems to be emerging which basically involves holding onto that big announcement of shiny new features until your opponent has a bad day on Twitter and then strike like a cobra making the most of the opportunity.
It all started last Friday evening when the people behind Dropbox make the first IT Rookie mistake in change control when using the fatal words “routine server upgrade”. Unfortunately, a bug installed this upgrade on several active servers, which brought down the entire service.
While they restored most functionality three hours later, some users continued experiencing issues throughout the weekend across dropbox.com, desktop client, and their mobile apps. Suddenly it was open season on Dropbox as angry Tweeters voiced their distain and it is at this point that things got very interesting.
Forget lengthy project plans that take 2 years to implement applications in business, in 2014 its survival of the fittest and the motto is “evolve or die” so whilst Dropbox were licking their wounds, their competitors made the most of this opportunity and suddenly Twitter was awash with alternative cloud storage alternatives.
However the special opportunist award goes to the quick thinking people at BOX, who already had something up their sleeve and seemed to release details of their new features at a very convenient time.
Box quickly announced a redesigned iOS application and new website getonecloud.com which will be offering a whopping 50gb storage for people signing up next month for a limited time which is significantly more than the default and now dated looking 2gb offered by Dropbox for people who missed the chance of signing up their friends and family for a cheeky extra 500 MB a few years ago.
I wonder how many other social media savvy businesses will have learned a valuable lesson from this story in early 2014. Essentially the modern world is not just about monitoring Twitter to see what your competitors are saying about your product but about playing very close attention to unhappy customers of your biggest rivals and trying to tempt them your way and making the most of their bad publicity.
Sure it sounds quite ruthless, but you can be sure that there will be a social media expert somewhere telling your competitor to do exactly the same to you. The trick is to be one step ahead of the game and not to rely on trundling along because online everyone is watching what everyone is doing before planning their next move.
A re-design and generous 50gb storage offer will be very tempting for some users and it will be interesting to see if this is successful and if we see similar tactics like this in the near future.