Several posts ago, I described Microsoft Marketing's tactic of inviting in a group of users to talk about how they employ software in their narrow niche. The true aim is to use the invited opinion-leaders to spread the word about the new software relatively cheaply.
It appears Microsoft continues to use the tactic. " Dean" of UBC Google Scholar Blog.folio and other librarians were invited down to Seattle.
...a group of librarians and information professionals (and, as we learned yesterday, a number of publishers) were brought in to review Microsoft's Academic Search. The librarians were asked to comment on the concept, look and functionality of the tool, one that is designed to go head-to-head with Google scholar.
Get it? Make them feel important by asking for their input. I doubt Microsoft will implement any of their suggestions, except by coincidence, judging by the comments of another librarian on his blog.
The real purpose, of course, was for these librarians to rush back to their blogs and blab about it. For a pretty low price, Microsoft gets peers to do the marketing. (I'm pretty sure Microsoft Marketing would have invited only librarians with blogs.) After all, the Web is crowded and it's hard to stand out anymore.
Another librarian blogger noted that there were some items he could talk of and not of other features. Again, there's that control tactic. Release one batch of information before the release date, and then a second wave of (newer) info on the release date.