I've just read lucasr's post about developing relationships with potential GNOME lovers. Lucas, if you want help, just mail me (email@example.com). I design, implement and analyse surveys for a living (among other things). But I also want to point out that you could be giving a lecture at postgraduate level about Relationship Marketing. (By the way, I am not talking about CRM here!)
Marketing is about communication. But what most companies fail to fully realise is that communication is a two-way process. To many people, marketing is advertising, PR and perhaps sales and maybe even distribution. But advertising and PR is a one-way process. And one-off market research projects are sub-optimal. Organisations need two-way communication processes with their customers.
I am on the GNOME Marketing team, but I am seeing mainly one-way communications discussion happening in that sphere. (Logo, slogan, website design, posters, trade show kits, ...) We currently have (AFAIK) no infrastructure that supports marketing intelligence-gathering (the "other half" of communication process). As Dave Neary recently pointed out on the marketing list, we have lots of "data" in the sense of dis-aggregated articles, reviews, postings etc., but no process that turns that data into information. Santiago Rosa recently aggregated a collection of negative revies of GNOME (at Luis' suggestion) but his effort seems to have fallen on deaf ears, as it were.
I think this is because many people thing that marketing has nothing to do with product design. (HAve you heard of the "Four Ps"? Product, Price, Place and Promotion) In many organisations one of the most common and stereotypical conflicts is that between marketers and engineers. This is usually because the engineers know nothing about marketing and the marketers know nothing about engineering. GNOME has the possibility to overcome this barrier to success however, because many of the people who consider themselves involved in marketing are developers. However, there still seems to be a lingering attitude that marketing cannot be of interest to developers. I agree that advertising and promotion (one of the four Ps) may hold little interest, but what about hearing from "customers"? If the marketing team could digest and aggregate all the input we currently get from our users, would that be valuable?
This is becoming a personal mission for me. I sense some changes on l.g.o. coming up...