Evangelism v/s Marketing

If you walk into our office and wait for an hour, you are sure to hear atleast one Apple v/s Microsoft argument. So what’s with all the “Apple users being snobs” and Microsoft users really not caring much for usability, so on and so forth slogans on the internet? What is the actual deal?

I think it boils down to Evangelism v/s Marketing. Apple has the free power of evangelists, a quick example is our office where I started with a mac a year back and in a small team we have a total of 4 macs now and close to 6 iphones. On the other hand the rest of the folks are separated in Linux and a majority in Windows. So Microsoft does good marketing, which is why the product sells.

While the Apple slogan goes “Catch them young” and offers student discounts and pretty much makes them apple users for live, Windows would target our fathers who would rather use something which is tried, tested and has created brand awareness.

So in the long run, what would be the obvious choice? Evangelism or Marketing? If you think its only Marketing, think again. Wikipedia is a brilliant Evangelistic success model. To pick that special restaurant for your date would you trust a billboard or ask your friend laila? I think the trick lies in building a great product that you believe in and if its a great product for people around you too, then you just need to market enough to spread the word around.


  1. I would suggest a better choice of words.

    Evangelism: “missionary zeal, purpose, or activity”
    Marketing: “the total of activities involved in the transfer of goods from the producer or seller to the consumer or buyer, including advertising, shipping, storing, and selling.”

    In my opinion, when it gets to business, Evangelism is an industry coined metaphor for radical marketing. Should I agree with you, marketing is required for penetration. Once established, your zealots (fanatical users) will turn out to be your Evangelists.

    In the end, we end up building a market where quantitative opinions rule over instincts. That said in an opinionated way 🙂

  2. Hi,

    I would say that Evangelism is the cheaper of the two and works more effectively to the target audience. Mary Kay and Tupperware are classic examples of marketing leading to evangelism.

    I am based in US and a big big fan of Yelp. I keep on telling (evangelising) my friends who do not know about Yelp.com and it is a free marketing for Yelp.com

    “Blair Witch Project” a movie that I watched in theatre and regretted for spending $8, had all the evangelists (viral marketers) vouching for the movie.

    I remember Yelp.com used to appear in Google searches in its earler days and epionion.com used be the leader in reviews. But the way Yelp.com interface was developed and other features it caught on. Now the biggest asset of Yelp.com is its user community and rich information that these yelpers have build. It is very difficult for a new company to beat Yelp.com because of the learning curve (or the data it has collected).

    I am such a big evagelist that I keep on soliciting Yelp.com about the features that it should add to remain competitive.

    I think in case of AskLaila.com it will be marketing (awareness creation) following by Evangelism (selling).

    Good luck askLaila. It may not be a bad idea to create a really cute avatar of Laila (Possibly Helen look alike in Sholay movie – Laila O Laila song),
    and give users an option to have Laila read the reviews for them. See ikea.com the avatar is pretty funny if you ask her some naughty words.

    Ashu Gupta

  3. I will say evangelism with proper backup of marketing is super duper killer combo. Mac isnt just one example. Look at the Blogging tool you are using. no one is marketing WordPress. And then FireFox, LAMP, Ubuntu. I have used mac and some times I found Mac to be irritating. I was a Linux guy and compared every OS with Ubuntu. Desktop effects in Ubuntu beats Mac and Vista and just these effects converted my die hard MS .NET guys to be Ubuntu fans. I have been using Sulekha and AskLaila to find anything and everything in Chennai. Way back in 2002 me and my friend decided to develop a portal, same as AskLaila and we really couldn’t create content. Now we just own some domains and that’s it. I wish AskLaila doesn’t face same problems.
    Wish you guys best of luck.
    PS: I like your team intros, portrays a very friendly work environment. Tempting. 😛

  4. Just look at the profits of both companies, look at the Brand value, its not just Dads who are patronising Microsoft, corporates are too.
    And if its just Dads, they are spending more money than kids(you) and making companies bigger if not better for sure.
    Sorry to sound like the Devils advocate. There is no substitute to a good product, the best is however to have a good product and good marketing to promote it.

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