Alex Goldfayn’s new book is called Evangelist Marketing: What Apple Amazon and Netflix Understand About Their Customers (That Your Company Probably Doesn’t). He is CEO of the Evangelist Marketing Institute, a marketing consultancy with clients that include T-Mobile, TiVo and Logitech.
You remember, don’t you? The emails magically appeared while you weren’t looking. That blinking light turned us into addicts. And that keyboard — copied often, but never matched.
It was the BlackBerry, the glorious, beloved, and life-changing BlackBerry. It made us feel good, and it never let us down.
Today, sadly, it is buried under it, and industry insiders everywhere wonder whether RIM will survive.
What happened? Harmful strategy. Unforced errors. And, mostly, really bad marketing. On this, RIM is in good company in the consumer electronics industry, where so many manufacturers market poorly. But few have made so many marketing mistakes so quickly.
Here are seven marketing lessons from RIM’s dark and difficult journey.
1. Make Great Products
Consumer electronics success begins with excellent products. The BlackBerry was once perceived as the very best smartphone — or, at least, “emailing phone” — available. It was exciting, emotional and it made people feel good. RIM sold BlackBerries on the strength of word-of-mouth recommendations. BlackBerries were aspirational, and people wanted to own one because friends and colleagues were so passionate about them.
Now, fast-forward to today.
Consider the excitement and energy around the iPhone and all those Android handsets. RIM enjoys none of that today. Not one percent of it. In part, it’s because it stopped making good smartphones in favor of a poorly received tablet called the PlayBook.
Successful marketing begins with having a tremendous product or service to market. Nothing happens without this.
2. Build on Strengths Instead of Improving on Weaknesses
I’m constantly telling clients that they should build on strengths instead of trying to improve their weak areas. For RIM, the BlackBerry was a great strength, and they all but abandoned its development and marketing for a year or longer to create the tablet. RIM did this to try to prevent the world from passing it by in the tablet space — which it did anyway. Tragically, as a result of diverting talent, attention, resources, investment and innovation from the BlackBerry to the Playbook, the consumer smartphone world has also passed RIM by.
It doesn’t matter what business you’re in. If you focus on developing weaknesses, your strengths will atrophy due to neglect. If you want to market well, identify your strengths — products, services, techniques, approaches, relationships — and exploit them relentlessly. This technique overcomes nearly all weaknesses.
3. Gravity Pushes Backwards
If you’ve attained a measure of success, you must continue innovating your products, services and your marketing just to maintain your position. Because you can bet the competition is innovating aggressively, and they’ll pass you by in three seconds if you stop doing the things that brought you success. RIM not only stopped releasing new BlackBerries while focusing on its PlayBook, it basically stopped talking to its customers about them for an extended period. We’ve seen this story before with Palm and many others. Gravity pushes backwards in business. Consistent and aggressive innovation is required not only to attain success, but to maintain it.
4. Know Precisely Who Your Customer Is
RIM’s management famously disagreed on who their customer was. Then co-CEO Mike Lazaridis felt the customer was the corporation. Others, probably including his counterpart Jim Balsillie, wanted to aim BlackBerry products at consumers. If you don’t know exactly who your customer is, it is impossible to market. Language, messaging, platforms, branding and public relations change completely depending on the customers you target. So identify your customers as precisely as possible, and aim all of your marketing efforts at them.
5. Executives Set the Marketing Tone
Consider the most successful companies in consumer electronics (and two of the most successful companies in all of business): Apple and Amazon. Their chief executives set their marketing tone, and everyone follows. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch the YouTube video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPad, and listen to how everybody who followed him on stage used exactly the same words.
This is no accident. The next day, thousands of articles used the same words to describe the amazing, remarkable and awesome iPad. Amazon’s Bezos is the same way. The best marketers have high-level executives setting the tone. They not only teach the rest of the company how to talk about their products and services, but the customers, the media, and the market itself. Obviously, RIM’s co-CEOs did not set this tone. They couldn’t even agree on who the customer was.
6. Avoid Unforced Errors
Most marketing problems are self-made and entirely avoidable. Consider the major developments from RIM’s recent past:
- It voluntarily stopped focusing on the BlackBerry to make a product it had no experience with.
- It could not identify its customer.
- It stopped marketing to consumers, allowing competition to roar past.
- A dramatic price increase.
- An extended period with no action to placate angry consumers.
- Spinning off something called Qwikster and then spinning it back in.
- A remarkably poor response to it all by the CEO, Reed Hastings.
None of these things happened to these companies. They did it to themselves. Don’t try to outsmart yourself. Avoid unforced errors.
7. Keep Talking to Your Customers
My work with clients often involves conducting qualitative conversations with their customers to deeply understand how they feel about what the company is doing and what the company is thinking about doing. If RIM had talked to its customers like this, it would have quickly learned that they probably weren’t particularly interested in a BlackBerry tablet without built-in email, messaging or contacts!
If you’re not talking to your customers, you’re just guessing from a conference room.
I believe RIM has enough of a corporate and government customer base to sustain it through this most difficult period. To recover, the company must precisely identify its customer, make terrific products for it, and orient all of its marketing and messaging toward it. In the meantime, we can all learn from the mistakes that brought the BlackBerry maker to this point.
You remember the Blackberry, don’t you?
Article Courtesy – Mashable
This emergency dual-band GSM cell phone has something that until now you & your current phone could only dream of: A 15-year battery life. It is made for emergencies and automatically transmits its location. At $50 this is a small pricetag for some serious piece of mind. Throw one in the glove box and when you’re stranded on the side of the road with a dead car and dead iPhone, you’ll be glad you did.
Want to own it : http://spareonephone.com
Samsung is known for its ingenuity and design. Their latest piece of technology is the Smart Cam. Just announced at CES 2012, this home monitoring system allows users to stream live video feed right to their smartphones. This Wi-Fi camera equipped with a 1.3 megapixel camera gives users a piece of mind when away from their loved ones or prized possessions.
Samsung didn’t stop at the design. They went on to put some muscle behind this camera. Capable of streaming HD resolutions of 640×480 pixels at 30fps and priced at less than $200, this device is sure to grab a chunk of its market. The camera even has non-visible infrared LEDs. In other words, it can do night-vision recording for up to 15 feet. Users can set up audio and video sensor notifications for any time their device is triggered and have it automatically begin recording. The cool part? It can upload the footage to a private YouTube account for later viewing. Slick, right?
Priced at $150, the Smart Cam will be available in March.Samsung’s craftsmanship and skill is visible throughout this camera. It seems like they’re is finally back in the news for uniqueness – if you know what I mean.
Dr Talib – Engineer, MBA, PHD and a scholar
It was pleasure to hear Mr. Talib at a recent conference. His simplicity and honesty is noteworthy. The analogy he draws from everyday life to explain some of the markets events is noteworthy. Critic of Obama administration and MBA he also hates economists. Claims that he can mock MBA since he is one of them ! Few points from his book are mentioned below :
8 things that sucks about ipad
Big, Ugly Bezel
Have you seen the bezel on this thing?! It’s huge! I know you don’t want to accidentally input a command when your thumb is holding it, but come on.
This is a backbreaker. If this is supposed to be a replacement for netbooks, how can it possibly not have multitasking? Are you saying I can’t listen to Pandora while writing a document? I can’t have my Twitter app open at the same time as my browser? I can’t have AIM open at the same time as my email? Are you kidding me? This alone guarantees that I will not buy this product.
No front facing camera is one thing. But no back facing camera either? Why the hell not? I can’t imagine what the downside was for including at least one camera. Could this thing not handle video iChat?
So much for Apple revolutionizing tablet inputs; this is the same big, ugly touchscreen keyboard we’ve seen on other tablets, and unless you’re lying on the couch with your knees propping it up, it’ll be awkward to use.
No HDMI Out
Want to watch those nice HD videos you downloaded from iTunes on your TV? Too damned bad! If you were truly loyal, you’d just buy an AppleTV already.
The Name iPad
Get ready for Maxi pad jokes, and lots of ’em!
No Flash is annoying but not a dealbreaker on the iPhone and iPod Touch. On something that’s supposed to be closer to a netbook or laptop? It will leave huge, gaping holes in websites. I hope you don’t care about streaming video! God knows not many casual internet users do. Oh wait, nevermind, they all do.
Adapters, Adapters, Adapters
So much for those smooth lines. If you want to plug anything into this, such as a digital camera, you need all sorts of ugly adapters. You need an adapter for USB for god’s sake.
Update: Why stop at 8? Here are more things we are discovering that suck about the iPad.
It’s Not Widescreen
Widescreen movies look lousy on this thing thanks to its 4:3 screen, according to Blam, who checked out some of Star Trek on one. It’s like owning a 4:3 TV all over again!
Doesn’t Support T-Mobile 3G
Sure, it’s “unlocked.” But it won’t work on T-Mobile, and it uses microSIMs that literally no one else uses.
A Closed App Ecosystem
The iPad only runs apps from the App Store. The same App Store that is notorious for banning apps for no real reason, such as Google Voice. Sure, netbooks might not have touchscreens, but you can install whatever software you’d like on them. Want to run a different browser on your iPad? Too bad!
AND THE GOOD PART
iPad initial surprises
In person, the first and biggest surprise of the slim new tablet-sized device is that it works vertically. Most fan art conceptualized the device to be used in landscape mode. While it works in both, most of the time (some apps favor one or the other; Keynote is landscape-only, for example), the vertical orientation is what you use in the dock. It’s also the primary way Apple pictures it on its site, just like the iPhone and iPod touch.
This begins to make sense only when you use it. Suddenly, the preconceived idea of a tablet being a laptop without a keyboard evaporates and you find yourself looking at iPad as if it is a digital pad of paper. We don’t typically use spiral-bound notebooks sideways.
The next surprise is that this isn’t just an iPod touch with a big screen. The apps Apple bundles, as well as some early third party apps that a select few developers produced over the last couple weeks, are all redesigned to take full advantage of the screen in new ways and with increased sophistication and depth; they don’t just spread out to consume more space.
Calendar, Notes, Mail, Photos, and other apps are all enhanced with what feels like an injection of elements of the desktop Mac experience into the familiar iPhone interface (below). Rather than the iPhone’s menu-per-page convention, apps like Settings present multiple tiers of menu levels at once. Mail shows you both your inbox in an iPhone-like view as well as a message preview, all on the same screen.
Things that aren’t practical on the iPhone due to its small size are natural and almost magical on the iPad. The Photos app incorporates elements of iPhoto, adding finger-based navigation through albums, as well as Faces and Places organization. Apple’s iWork suite is now three cheap $10 apps that each provide most — if not all — of the features of their desktop counterparts, but are fully controlled via intuitive multitouch gestures.
Make a mistake and you can use the Undo button. Toolbars and search features are reminiscent of Mac apps, while popup menus look like iPhone screens. If you’re familiar with either, you also know how to work the iPad.
At the same time, the iPad also runs pretty much all of the 140,000 iPhone apps available. It can run them natively at the same size they’d be on the iPhone, or double them to present the same app across most of the screen. Some apps, such as Facebook, look a little pixelated and stretched on the iPad’s big new 1024×768 screen, but existing games looked awesome. In fact, I had to ask several reps if the iPad was doing any re-rendering; even with pixel doubling, iPhone games looked great and played smoothly.
Developers will be able to create customized versions of their existing apps to work with the iPad, and Apple demonstrated what some of these might look like. With more screen real estate, the things developers can do with games and other apps is simply mind blowing.
There are a few things some observers expected that didn’t turn up in the final design. The most obvious is a lack of support for any providers other than AT&T in the US or GSM/UMTS providers overseas. There’s no CDMA version for Verizon Wireless, and it doesn’t support T-Mobile’s 3G frequencies (although it apparently could be activated on T-Mobile’s slow GSM network, but that might not be cost effective).
The new machine uses microSIM cards and is only sold completely unlocked, with no contact subsidies and complete home activation. There’s also a WiFi-only version that starts the price at just $499, much less than anyone imagined.
There are no cameras, killing any hopes that it would be used as a video conferencing device. However, most people don’t like to be on camera, which is why we never had a clamoring market for videophones despite having had the technology for decades. And while its very handy to snap pics with your smartphone, it makes less sense to expect to take pictures with a tablet-sized device.
There’s no provision for running multiple third party apps at once, outside of the bundled Apple apps that can work in the background, such as iPod. That, some have speculated, may be a feature of iPhone 4.0 this summer. The iPad was shown running iPhone 3.2 software.
There’s currently no demonstrated way to attach the iPad to a Mac to use it as a multitouch input device, although this may be possible with third party software; if nothing else, developers could use network commands to relay touch gestures to a desktop app.
More hardware surprises
There are two docks designed for the iPad: one is a simple stand to allow recharging while playing videos or touching the screen at a near vertical position for $29, and a second dock option offers an integrated physical keyboard for $69.
The keys are nearly identical to Apple’s other keyboards, although it adds a home button, a search button, a lock button, and a key to bring up the virtual keyboard on screen so you can type any foreign or special characters (or say, bring up a number pad or the Chinese touch input) without hitting some special chord sequence of keys. It will also be possible to use the iPad with an external Bluetooth keyboard, according to Apple reps in the hands-on area. Hopefully that feature will also make it into the iPhone and iPod touch.
With its HD-resolution display and Keynote, the iPad begs for video output. You can use the existing iPhone video output cables to deliver component or composite video, but you can also now use an iPad-specific cable to attach it to a VGA projector (or other display) at its native 1024×768 resolution. And while your presentation progresses, you can not only control it, but also highlight using a virtual laser pointer you move with your finger. You can also paint on the screen John Madden style to emphasize things as you speak. This will sell iPads to every conference room in America.
In addition to the VGA dongle (sold separately), there’s also a USB and SD card reader adapter package for $29 that makes it easy to upload photos from your digital camera, although there wasn’t any demonstration of the devices in use.
A special neoprene-like case protects the iPad like a standard book cover, but also reverses into a triangle to convert the tablet into either a freestanding TV orientation, or lays down to become a full screen mini-laptop. The case is soft but makes the device seem ruggedized, although you probably still won’t want to drop it.
There’s a mic and a headphone jack (it’s not clear if it also supports mic-integrated headphones), so there’s at least the potential for VoIP applications over WiFi. There wasn’t a bundled version of the Voice Memos app on the prototype models, nor a version of the iPhone’s Voice Command, but there’s no reason either couldn’t be added by Apple by the time it ships.
The iPad is even designed to do something when it’s doing nothing. With the device at its unlock screen, there’s a button to start a slideshow configured to your preferences within Settings (below). This turns the thing into a nice animated slideshow picture frame of your selected photo album as it recharges.
The iPad seems like a gigantic leap and a small step at once. It isn’t a ballsy leap of faith by Apply by any means; it is an enhancement to its existing blockbuster SDK and App Store, not an entirely new platform like the Newton Message Pad once attempted to be.
It already runs all manner of iPhone apps, while also creating a vacuum that developers will rush to fill with new custom apps. It also syncs with Mac files for iWork, iTunes, and anything in Mail.
It isn’t a single purpose device like the Amazon Kindle or Android Nook; while it serves as a capable e-reader, it is far more functional even at that, supporting embedded color graphics and video within book titles, something e-ink displays simply can’t manage.
Despite that, it still has a tremendous battery life and looks great, leaving users no reason to buy a dedicated e-reader instead. It also offers fast, flicker-free page turning (or animatedly slow, if you like it that way), immediate navigation, and a choice of font styles and sizes.
Unlike stylus-based tablets like Microsoft’s Pocket PC or Tablet PC devices, the iPad is fully hands-on with no pen to lose. There’s no incorporation of handwritten recognition anywhere visible, just a dynamic keyboard that changes to suit the task at hand (something that is particularly prominent in Apple’s Numbers spreadsheet app, where you might bring up a number pad or a full keyboard or some other specialized input system).
It’s also unbelievably fast and smooth, making even the iPhone 3GS look a little slow. I witnessed the iPad cold boot within about fifteen seconds. However, you don’t need to wait for it to boot because it remains on in standby for days (Jobs said a month on a single charge).
Apple has no reason to advertise its internal specs (since it isn’t currently trying to market its processor to other makers), but the fact that the company is building its own custom System on a Chip called the “A4″ suggests a similar fate for this year’s iPhone and iPod touch (will they use the A2?). Apple’s custom new ARM CPU core and I/O and video chip appears to be extremely fast and highly customized for the needs of the iPad in terms of efficiency.
A tough act to follow
Apple isn’t hiding the fact that there are advantages in developing your own battery technology and processor savvy and touchscreen expertise. The unstated fact is that no other company has the resources to match what Apple created. As Jobs pointed out, his company is now the largest mobile device maker in the world in terms of revenues. But the iPad isn’t just about hardware. Even if somebody duplicated it, they’s still need a software ecosystem.
Apple has not only demonstrated that it can think up and create phenomenal apps of its own, but has also demonstrated impressive stuff from a few iPhone developers who only had a few weeks to whip something up. Once Apple’s army of iPhone developers hit their stride, the array of apps available for the iPhone will look rudimentary in comparison. The iPad truly supports real desktop style apps with even more sophisticated multitouch input that the iPhone.
Even with all their hardware partners, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile haven’t been able to attract the same kind of attention from developers or software buying users. Apple’s new iPad is unique on many levels, and demonstrates a formidable new challenger in a the formerly lackluster tablet computer market. For competitors to match it, they’ll need to catch up not just in hardware but also in media distribution, in developer tools, in customer base, and in raw component technology, and all at a tremendously aggressive price.
It appears iPad launches Apple as far ahead of its peers as the iPhone did at its unveiling. It remains to be seen if the market will respond and buy up this $500 tablet revolution as quickly as it snapped up the similarly priced iPhone and iPod touch.
Many of us want to be boss of ourselves – we want to be entrepreneur..why not by all means. I have met many entrepreneurs as well as worked with few. Some made me feel that I could do better and some made me feel that entrepreneur is a great person. I often think whether they were born great /smart or it was one move that made them better. My research is still on but being on both sides ie being an entrepreneur and an employee , I have realised the following
- We become slaves of our ambitions – we like the fixed money that comes every month. We all like luxury and we raise the level of lifestyle in line with our incomes..after all many of us worked hard in schools and colleges to enjoy the same. We get into what we call in hindi – ninainweh ka pher ( meaning the circle of 99). First you reach the first 99 and when you are first 99 you want to reach the next 99 and so on……reasons greed and in sophisticated terms ambition
- We do not want to take risk – the diff between entrepreneur and employee is that he took that first risk and people like us join his gang in supporting him in making and building the dream. We like the security whether or not it is there..we like to belive that we have a secure job !
- Education and business has no relation – in fact sometime I feel that education comes in between the way of starting a business. We want to start big and achieve big…no harm in idea it should be that way…but many of the successful business started small. Everything grows overtime when nurtured properly. I have learned that all ideas can be made big if one has a vision
- It is never late – it is never late in life to follow your heart and start a business on your own. if you are not afraid of failure – GO FOR IT. Success will come
So what is needed
- Courage and belief in oneself – one definitely needs courage and confidence that yes I can do it.
- Reconciling with uncertainty – this is one of the most important part of an business…one need to fall in love with uncertainty. We all are afraid of darkness but try acting blind for a while you will start using all your senses more efficiently and effectively the moment you are able to overcome the fear of darkness. The same is with uncertaintly..if you are able to overcome the same you will be able to think more clearly in terms of how to run and grow your business
- Think nothing is small – no business is small ..many business have modest beginning it depends on what you are doing and your ability to make it big
- Do it again and again – it may not be the first idea which makes it big…but keep trying all your ideas and one will click which will make it big
Recently I was in India and I was amazed to see some of the smaller ideas which were catching on – a simple idea of providing shoe cleaning service concept was running successfully. Young Kid who started it realised that there are no shoe cleaning services when his shoes were dirty so he decided to start this service where by he will collect your shoes from your home clean them, repair them, change shoe laces etc for a small fee of rs 150 less than 3usd and deliver them back shining. This boy had courage to follow his heart and if I am rt he runs more than 10 locations and is expanding…he is an entrepreneur. I am sure that one day he will make it big with this or some other idea
Luck favors who belive in themselves and are ready to take risks. This is probably many a times you come across business man who would leave you thinking that I could do better…
I remembered a joke which is probably apt to end this article for now
Once upon a time there was man who was very religious and believed in god. He would offer prayers and visit all religious places without fail. He used to ask only one thing to god – god please help me winning a lottery
Many years passed and this person kept his faith in god and offered daily prayers asking only one thing. After many many years god gets pleased with him and decides to bless him with his wish.
Still many years pass and same routine goes on…he keep praying. Now god gets frustrated with him and comes down and tell him Son you are asking me only one wish for so many years and I also want to grant you but there is one problem. So the person asks god – please tell me my dear god.
You knw what god says – at least go and buy a lottery ticket !!
More to follow…happy reading. Comments are welcome