How Microsoft made a massive shift to virtual industry education


Microsoft’s industry marketing teams had put huge efforts into understanding their customers’ business challenges. Having a detailed, vetted industry-based view was crucial to ensuring the field would be equipped to have valuable conversations with decision makers. At the beginning of 2020, they planned a series of global, in-person events across multiple geographies and covering multiple industries.

The pandemic obliterated that plan. But business continued, more urgently than ever, and Microsoft’s customers needed to know how they could use Microsoft’s solutions to rapidly adapt to the new realities of the COVID world.


With the live events canceled, the industry teams needed a new approach to equipping sellers with the latest updates and knowledge. They needed to get the content out quickly, virtually, and in formats that were easy to consume. With thousands of sellers looking for guidance on the specific types of conversations they needed to have with decision makers, the team needed to capture that industry nuance and color, in a way that sellers could easily relate to.

Oxygen helped us “slow down to speed up” - and by that I mean, making sure we were clear on the objective, and focused on the right thing to solve for. And it wasn’t a disruptive type of slow down, it was very sensical and helped us define what we wanted to do and how we wanted to do it.
Dana Straw, Director of Industry Product Marketing

Our Approach:

Oxygen started with understanding the outcomes that Microsoft wanted to achieve, and how content for sellers was envisioned to drive toward that outcome. Oxygen and Microsoft recognized that providing sellers with a way to become familiar with the content of different industries was more achievable in the short term than overpromising mastery of nuanced conversations. It was decided that, rather than try to replicate the richness of an in-person event, the content needed to be self-service, brief, and have an engaging, peer-driven tone.

Once the realities of the environment and scope were clear, Oxygen created simple experience maps that showed how the self-service content would flow, per industry. These maps provided stakeholders with a clear view of how each industry’s content would fit into the experience and helped the team quickly identify the SMEs who needed to contribute.

From there, Oxygen provided design and production services, including:

  • Storyboarding and scripting of videos and animations
  • Remote interviews with SMEs and sellers to provide the peer inspiration and tone
  • Post-production editing and animation design
  • Graphic design and development of lightly interactive online learning elements
  • QA, captioning, and packaging of final assets

The massive amount of information and content to be managed was feasible for Oxygen due to the agile methodology used to produce the assets.