Wednesday, January 10, 2007

iPhone Marketing Issues

The introduction of Apple's iPhone brings up a number of marketing issues.
  • Focus. Apple is marketing the iPhone by stating that it "combines three products". Is it a phone? Is it a digital media player? Or is it a device for accessing the Internet? A lack of focus often leads to product failure.
  • Naming. Cisco is suing Apple over the name "iPhone". More importantly, the name is generic. Generic names usually make the worst brand names.
  • Differentiation. Apple tried to "think different" in designing the phone. Did they succeed? The phone includes a "visual voice mail" feature in which you can view a list of your pending voice mails and select which one to hear. I don't know of any other phone with this feature. Most of the other hyped features (including touchscreen dialing) seem to be available in other phones.
  • Brand extension. Apple changed its name from Apple Computer to Apple, Inc. The iPod is not a personal computer, yet it has been a huge success for the company. The iPhone is another deviation from the notion of Apple as a traditional computer company. For what does "Apple" stand in the mind of the consumer?
  • Pricing. Apple chose not to compete with other phones on price. Competing on price is typically an indication of incompetence in marketing or a lack of differentiation. A high price, on the other hand, sometimes is perceived as an indication of greater value.
It will be interesting to see how these factors play out.

UPDATE: While no mobile phones have the feature, the concept of visual voice mail is not new.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

You wrote:
> Pricing. Apple chose not to compete with other phones on price. Competing on price is typically an indication of incompetence in marketing or a lack of differentiation.

Well said! Not many marketers (and zero sales people) seem to have the nerve to charge more when, as you point out, more expensive products are generally perceived to be better.