Introducing Microsoft’s Chip In

chipinWe’ve written about other student crowdfunding and crowdsourcing solutions before on this blog, but this new one has a great marketing blush about it.

This is my new favorite Microsoft promotional strategy and one that could perhaps actually earn back a share of the college market (even though Microsoft products have almost always been competitive on price). And, of course, it’s using the power of the crowd as part of its marketing strategy. How is Microsoft preparing youth for a career of working on PCs? They’ve created a crowdfunding platform for students that helps them ask for money and buy computers at a discounted price. It’s a great get-‘em-while-they’re-young strategy and it predisposes a new generation of college students towards PC buying.

The platform is called Chip In. Once users register to the site (thanks very much for that contact information), they choose the PC they want and share their request with friends and family in order to accrue enough cash to buy it. Even those who don’t meet their goal, but raise at least $499 will be able to spend the money at the Microsoft online store. And the first 10,000 students who crowdfund their new PC will also receive a free four-year subscription to Microsoft Office 365 University.

Those are some useful, mom-selling incentives and they’re doing it all before Apple launches its always-effective back to school sale. No competition? The power of the crowd both paying for and spreading the word. Perhaps Microsoft is on to something.

What do you think about Chip In? What about all those other student extras? Will Target soon have a dorm-room-decorating crowdfunding platform?

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