Posts Tagged ‘BlackBerry’

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THIS WEEK’S BLACKBERRY LESSON

October 21, 2013

One of the core marketing rules in my book is that the first company to create a product or service is usually the winner. But starting the race in first place doesn’t mean you will end the race there, unless you follow another of my rules, “Embrace change.” You can never rest on your laurels. Need proof? Take a look at BlackBerry.

The company that popularized mobile email and, at one time, controlled almost all of the business market for smartphones, lost its market to Apple and Samsung because it stopped innovating. Although they worked for the past two years to get BlackBerry back into the race, fine-tuning a new operating system and focusing the company’s development efforts on a pair of new devices, the company acknowledges those efforts have fallen flat.

It is writing off $1 billion in inventory of the new phones. How bad is business? Well, Apple reported sales in the first two days of the iPhone 5 versions of 9 million, while BlackBerry sold 3.7 million in 90 days (one quarter). Now BlackBerry has struck a preliminary deal to take the company private. A great marketing lesson here: it is extremely hard to play catch up. If you are a market leader, you owe it to yourself and your team to focus resources on keeping your lead.

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ARE YOU LOOKING AT A MARKETING FREE FALL?

February 8, 2013

If you have seen the Oscar nominated film “Flight,” you certainly know how scary a “free fall” can be. But you don’t have to step into a movie theater to see how changing markets can create dramatic free falls. Just look at Research in Motion’s BlackBerry.

Three years ago, some 2,500 employees at Land O’ Lakes Inc. used company-issued BlackBerrys. Today, it is down to 12. In 2007 corporate customers made up 71% of BlackBerry’s business. Now it’s down to 20%-25%, estimates Kris Thompson, an analyst at National Bank of Canada. Some people are still optimistic that the company’s two new phones—the first BlackBerrys in about 18 months—will help turn around nearly two years of delayed products, network outages, and falling sales. Don’t count on it.

So now here’s the question for your small business. Look at your core customer base six years ago (2007). Has it changed dramatically, and if so, what are you doing about it? Playing catch up doesn’t work real well in a Super Bowl and it doesn’t work well in marketing either.