Why Slack’s New York Times Ad Is A Stroke Of Marketing Genius

For those who don’t follow the tech industry very closely, Microsoft has just announced its competitor to Slack, Microsoft Teams. This is a big deal.

However, what’s most interesting from my perspective is why Slack felt the need to create an ad in The New York Times. Is Slack worried about Microsoft Teams? Quite possibly. Is it confident in its own ability to execute? Judging by the growth trajectory and stickiness of its platform, I’d say yes it is.

I am a digital advocate – I’ve spent almost all my career working on the Internet, and the both the cultural impact and the rate of change continues to fascinate me on a daily basis. I also spent a couple of years working in print publishing before moving into marketing. I see an enormous amount of sense in what Slack has done here.

Many have assumed that Slack is worried about the launch of Microsoft Teams – and deep down it should be. It needs to double down its focus on building the best product for its customers, as that is the only way it will ride competition out. The battle will be fierce. And in a world where the rate of change is accelerating and customer loyalty is diminishing, it is imperative that Slack continues to build deep, meaningful relationships with its customers.

A leaf out of Steve Jobs’ marketing masterclass

At a time where attention is the second most valuable asset behind time, Slack’s decision to place an ad in the NYT looks to be a marketing masterstroke.

Apple executed a similar strategy back in 1981 when it welcomed IBM to the personal computer party. Slack has taken a leaf out of Apple’s playbook here, and is riding the wave of Microsoft’s launch with its cute but defiant welcome note.


More importantly though, is why Slack has done this.

Diminishing attention is the new attention

Why would Slack place an ad in a printed newspaper when attention is shrinking? At face value, it seems like a strange decision… and to many it is. But for precisely that reason, it is generating a lot of attention. And attention is everything.

In addition to talking about how Slack compares to Microsoft Teams, the technology press is talking about Slack placing an ad in the NYT instead of just talking about Microsoft Teams. It is winning the battle for attention.

It also shows Slack has an immense amount of confidence in its ability to deliver for its customers. It will force businesses who were considering Microsoft Teams to look at the alternative. But it will have the opposite effect too.

And this is why I believe it shows an understated confidence. Slack is almost willing its prospective customers to do a comparison between Slack and Microsoft Teams.

And that’s genius.

You can read the full text in the ad on Slack’s blog. Please share this article if you found it valuable – thanks!



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