Research In Motion’s PlayBook hit stores April 19 and is the first tablet computer targeted at business users. And yet, surprisingly, RIM shares fell by 10 per cent or so several weeks earlier following the combined announcement of a 32-per-cent increase in profits and the PlayBook availability. Why is this?
Somehow I am not surprised.
At its heart, marketing is all about matching products to markets. If you can’t articulate your value or define your target audience, no matter how much you spend, any success you have is going to be an accident.
Defining your value and target market is one of the most challenging aspects of bringing new products to market. And even when firms take the time to do this research, you can see them “losing the plot” during the launch. This usually takes the form of companies getting so mesmerized by a competitive product that they end up positioning against the competition instead of positioning to their target market.
This is clearly happening with the launch of RIM’s new PlayBook tablet.
RIM plans on selling 70 per cent of its PlayBooks to enterprise customers, and yet its launch has fallen into the trap of focusing on how it stacks up against a competitor, rather than on the value it brings to the target market.
As a businessperson, the first question I have about any system is what it runs. Can I run my existing applications on it, or will I have to change my whole application suite? And I’m not getting those answers from RIM at the moment.
Instead, its early positioning focuses on browser speed, Adobe Flash support and HTML5 performance, which are only marginally relevant to the main value proposition of “enterprise-readiness.”