Skip to main content

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.


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.

Popular posts from this blog

What Product Managers Can Learn from the Apple iPod

The Story When Apple unveiled its iPod digital music player back in October 2001, I dismissed it as a  parity product . I already owned the Cowon iAUDIO CW100 MP3 player, loaded with my favorite tunes. There was Apple, generating great hype over the iPod as if it were a breakthrough product. The idea of a portable digital music player was nothing new. The first mass-produced MP3 players came out in 1998. In late 2001, the concept may have been new to a lot of Apple customers, but it wasn't new to me. I proudly showed my MP3 player to friends when they gushed about the iPod. Thus Apple's iPod was not an innovative product in and of itself. Years later, however, I realized the significance of ecosystem of which the iPod was a part. Apple had released iTunes (with technology purchased from  SoundJam MP ) and created the iTunes Store for finding and downloading music. Unlike Napster , it was a safe and legal way of distributing and acquiring music. The prior way of playing

Why Spreadsheets Suck for Prioritizing

The Goal As a company executive, you want confidence that your product team (which includes all the people, from all departments, responsible for product success) has a sound basis for deciding which items are on the product roadmap. You also want confidence the team is prioritizing the items in a smart way. What Should We Prioritize? The items the team prioritizes could be features, user stories, epics, market problems, themes, or experiments. Melissa Perri  makes an excellent case for a " problem roadmap ", and, in general, I recommend focusing on the latter types of items. However, the topic of what types of items you should prioritize - and in what situations - is interesting and important but beyond the scope of this blog entry. A Sad but Familiar Story If there is significant controversy about priorities, then almost inevitably, a product manager or other member of the team decides to put together The Spreadsheet. I've done it. Some of the mos

Interaction Design: the Neglected Skill

Your product development organization has a big, gaping hole in it. (Be prepared to feel defensive as you continue reading.) One of the most important roles in product development is the role of interaction designer. An interaction designer designs how the users will interact with the product and conceptualize the tasks they perform. He decides whether, for example, the user interface will be command driven, object oriented (clicking on objects then specifying what to do with them), or wizard based. The interaction designer decides the individual steps in the use cases. Every company has one or more people that play the interaction designer role. Usually, those people have little or no expertise in interaction design. Sadly, they typically don't even realize how unqualified they are. Let's see who typically plays the role at companies. Engineer . An engineer is an expert on building what is designed. Yes, an engineer may know how to design the internal structure of the hardware