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What Should Opera do different about their Marketing?

I am a huge fan of Opera, the alternative webbrowser from Norway. I canīt even begin to tell you all the details regarding why I am using it and why I have been for several years now. Itīs not open source and itīs not preinstalled, itīs just awesome. Now, why arenīt they gaining more followers than Firefox?

Firefox is a great browser as well, but I am not seeing that itīs better than Opera. But I understand that a lot of people have Firefox as their favorite, and it can be a lot of different reasons for that. Some people just love open source software, and for some that can even be enough to use Firefox instead of Opera.

Opera used to be a browser you would have to pay for to use. I am not going to do a history lesson here, but earlier on, you could get the free version with ads and you would have to pay to get an ad-free version. I never paid and I had to see the banners every time I was using it. It was annoying and I was very pleased when they announced that they were launching the new completely free Opera (also known as the fastest browser on earth).

Why then, if itīs a free browser and the fastest browser are only about 2% using Opera to surf the web? I just donīt get it. The only reason I can think of is one or more of the following three alternatives:

I am not going to say anything bad about Internet Explorer (not the 6.0 or the 7.0 version) and both Firefox and Safari are great alternatives, but in my humble opinion they are nowhere near Opera when it comes to looks, functionality and security (maybe because I am a Norwegian).

I think that if people just give Opera a try, most of them will stay with Opera and not go back to their current browser (I am not really writing this post to promote Opera). My question remains, why are the Opera desktop browser market share only apx. 2%?
Letīs take a look at their marketing.

According to Opera Watch, Opera are doing several interesting things. I am not going to list them all, but there are a few of their marketing efforts that I would like to mention.

We run the My Opera community site, which has close to 1 million registered members. When potential Opera users consider downloading Opera, and notice our strong community of users, I’m sure this helps a bit in their decision to download and use Opera.

Their community site is awesome, it has great design and cool features and a lot of good blogs. But will this make people change their browsers to Opera? It might, just because itīs a cool thing to do. If you are a part of a Opera based community, well, you should be using their browser as well. But do they really have 1 million registered users, or do they have 1 million registered accounts? And how many of their accounts are active? Maybe they should close the site for users of other browsers than Opera? No, I am just kidding.

We give out promo merchandise to our users and supporters that include: Opera t-shirts, pens, pins, phone straps, stickers, etc.

I really like the idea of their supporters receiving gifts. This way they can show the world the Opera logo on their T-shirt while walking through a supermarket or while driving through the city (with a sticker somewhere on the car). But who are really the supporters of Opera? Are they attractive models or just computer geeks or somewhere between? I am not sure if I would be so interested in testing a new browser if I saw some weird guy walking through the supermarket with a Opera shirt, but hey, who knows it might work?

We run ads on various tech websites and blogs to promote the desktop browser, Opera Mini and the Wii browser.

This probably works, if the websites and blogs they promote it at are sites where people likely to change are visiting. And of course the ads must be cool. When I think about it, I donīt think that I have seen an ad for Opera on any site other than on Opera Watch. I wonder what their ads look like?

They are doing some great marketing, and the list of stuff can be found at Opera Watch. I am not going to be all negative here, but I do know something and thatīs that their marketing canīt be good enough or else their market share would be more than 2%.

What would really work for Opera?

I think that they should be more focused on product placement in movies. Think about this for a second. The next Mission Impossible (not sure if itīs going to be a next one). Tom Cruise uses a super computer, with a super cool design, and when he is trying to hack into some top security facility, he uses the fastest and most secure browser on earth. You guessed it, Opera!

… or the next romantic comedy starring Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (there will probably be one in the near future). They are using Opera to communicate while they are away from each other.

It might be expensive, but I bet you that it would work. I remember when I watched a movie called Copycat sometime in 1995 or so starring Sigourney Weaver. Her e-mail software was so cool, I just had to find it on the Internet. I never found it!

I personally think that the marketing department at Opera should concentrate more on blockbuster movies, and that this is a way that Opera can become a lot more popular in a very short time. Maybe this can be done when they launch version 10?

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