Mimecast: a case study in how NOT to write ads

For the past few weeks myself and a number of colleagues who work with Microsoft products have seen our Facebook feed continually lit up with ads like this from Mimecast:

Before I go any further let me apply a disclaimer: I have no beef with Mimecast. I am not on the payroll of a competing vendor. I do not think Microsoft security is perfect. In fact I think that Mimecast make some good products.

So why am I writing this post and why do I care? Because apart from continually hiding these ads, they continue to appear and assault my senses with their poor messaging. I have attempted to post a comment on the ads but it appears the “social engagement” here is only one way.

What is wrong with these ads you ask? Two main things:

  • Calling out “numerous security gaps”
  • Incorrectly stating that Office 365 only has a “single security layer”

I work with a number of vendors that build solutions to enhance and extend Office 365 functionality, ranging from end user widgets through to corporate governance solutions. Notice how I didn’t say Office 365 has gaps in its functionality?

It’s not a case of being right or wrong This comes down to marketing messaging and copywriting. Vendors who buddy up to other vendors and offer complimentary solutions should not be calling out where the other is deficient, and that they have the fix. Calling out limitations and where a product ends is one thing, because no product can do everything for everyone. Language is everything in today’s ever-social online world. Trash-talking is what vendors do when they compete with another vendor, and even then, it doesn’t come off as a positive representation. Trash-talking a vendor you compliment, well that’s just stupid.

So, Mimecast: please take down your ads from Facebook and replace them with something that does not prey on fear, but instead refers to where your fantastic solutions go above and beyond what Office 365 offers.

Amazon Alexa now speaks “Australian”

Over the past week the press has been writing articles about the availability of Amazon Alexa, and referring to skills from local service providers also being available.

Unfortunately that hasn’t been the case for those of us who brought in their devices from the US, nor have the devices actually been available for sale.

This morning I noticed my Echo Dot was unable to interact with my light bulbs or speakers Рit kept telling me to set up a mobile device from the app. I checked Google Play Store Рthe app is still not available, however logging in to the Alexa portal I noted that all of my devices were showing as offline.

A few minutes later they came back online, and I found that I was able to install the English (Australia) language pack on all devices except the Amazon Tap as it won’t be launching in Australia.

I was also able to install a variety of local skills and link them, which was something I couldn’t do before.

My existing skills had to be re-configured for services such as TP-Link Kasa (my WiFi lightbulbs) which was easy enough to then run a re-discovery and have them working again.

Spotify also had to be reconnected, as did Todoist, Office 365, and virtually everything else.

However Sonos and Harmony do not appear to be available, and as such I can’t pipe music from Alexa through to my Sonos speakers or control my media devices.

Given that Alexa is not officially launched until February 1st down under, I’m hoping these won’t be far behind.

My hope is that the Amazon Household functionality will also be made available soon, so that my wife and children no longer influence my music collection!