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Old 09-13-2005, 12:04 PM   #1
Colin Dunstan
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How Palm failed Marketing 101

Who doesn't remember the basic lesson from Marketing 101, the four Ps - which I don't even need to enumerate? It seems at one point - the promotion of products - Palm must have been sleeping in class. A PalmAddict reader submitted some interesting thoughts on how Palm company missed the chance to convince us of the superiority of their handheld devices.

I just think its sad that a company (Microsoft) with unstable, not well thought out products (Windows Mobile & Windows Smartphone) uses their money to do some decent advertising and that a company like Palm just sits there. I'm forced to think about Linux. Microsoft didn't give a crap about linux until people started to here about linux from advertising through companies like RedHat, Dell, IBM, Suse, Novell, etc. Now Microsoft is scrambling around with their Get The Facts (aka: smear the little guy) campaign so as to not lose market share. Palm could be like linux. They could have Microsoft running scared and trying not to lose market share in the smartphone industry. Instead, it seems like Palm is just sitting around making new devices and focusing on their branding. Some advertising would go a long, long way.

An honest editorial, make sure you don't miss the rest over at PalmAddicts.
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Old 09-13-2005, 12:31 PM   #2
Bob Russell
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Good stuff.

Sammy recently talked about how Palm may also want to take a page or two out of Apple's playbook in terms of a better product release with more media coverage and an event with some developers and other guests. Sure, it wouldn't attract as much attention, but they certainly have a product that is far past what the awareness level demonstrates.

Almost anyone who is a Palm fanatic can come up with ways to inexpensively market Palm. So why don't we see it? I think there are two main reasons for this...
1) Palm is lean and small and people feel like they don't have time. They have to stay focused on the basics and they think some of this marketing business is "extraneous". Especially when it comes to the hobbyist market. What they don't realize is that the online presence of hobbyists and sites like PA and MobileRead are influencers of the community and the press and the analysts. It does matter, and sets the thinking relative to the devices to a large degree. But the difference is that analysts are harder to influence with information. The online community will spread the message and becomes part of Palm's marketing machine. If they choose to get connected, that is.
2) The focus for their efforts is going to be where they see revenue sources. They see carriers and corporate sales as much more important and the message is very different to those sorts of customers than to the hobbyists. But, if you think about it, you also need to influence the opinions of those corporate users, not just the corporate buyers. Again, I think the support network includes online sites. Why not do some blogs to talk about what the Palm devices can do? Why not come up with a simple message that let's people know that they can use a Palm to make all their desires come true. Well, at least with regard to video, mp3s, audiobooks, ebooks, email, etc etc. Those things are driving sales. Why not drive the sales toward pdas? Find out what people want, and make it clear that you can do it, and even partner with developers to make sure that it can be done easily. Right now it's still too technical to make some of it work. Unfortunately, to a great degree the ball is in the Access' court now. They have the PalmOS platform. Let's see what they make of it.

So, yes, I think their missing a bit in Marketing. But not as much as it seems because they are after a different market. To their shame, they don't seem to consider the user base and hobbyists and online community to be very important. I'm sure Microsoft doesn't mind.
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Old 09-13-2005, 12:34 PM   #3
Antoine of MMM
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That was a realyl good article. All I have to say is that I agree.
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Old 09-13-2005, 09:46 PM   #4
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Marketing wasn't palms main problem. How many palm's had wifi and excellent bluetooth support built in? How many Palms multitask at 624 mhz? (though to be fair my x50v doesnt either since I have it throttled back)

The Treo 650 is IMO the only really great Palm device out there, and even it has it problems. Bluetooth is a little buggy, then there was the memory problem, and it needs a hard reset alot more than my X50v (which Ive never hard reset).
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Old 09-14-2005, 03:39 AM   #5
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The original article fails to address the huge budget needed for such advertising campaigns. Microsoft can, of course, afford to "outmarket" just about everyone. As it is, Palm Inc. is doing pretty well. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

IMO, they should focus on stability first. The last few high-end Palm devices have had serious problems at their release. Granted, the issues do get fixed eventually, but the damage has already been done.

There's a well-known marketing rule that says if a customer has a bad experience, he'll tell 9 other people, and if he has a good experience he'll tell 2 others. I can't recall if those are the exact ratios, but the gist of it should be clear. An unsatisfied customer will damage your reputation much more than a satisfied customer will boost your credibility.

Aside from stability, they should offer more value-for-money for their high-end models. That means Hires+, WiFi, Bluetooth, replaceable battery, all rolled into one model. Oh, and bring back the cradle. The PDA deserves pride of place on your desktop. Without a cradle, it just looks like an expensive toy.
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