Friday, September 16, 2011
As a Canadian working in technology one issue that I'm quite passionate about is the innovation gap that is happening between Canada an our peers.
I watch with an almost personal fascination with the challenges being faced by Research in Motion. Being Canada's biggest global success story, their struggles act both as an interesting learning experience and a local soap opera.
As a marketer I can't help but feel there is a profound lesson to be learned by product managers and product marketers by watching what hopefully will be the rebuilding of a Canadian icon.
Now that RIM can no longer rely on the capabilities of their products to sell themselves, they seem to have fundamental issues around the marketing 4 Ps (Product, Price, Promotion, Place). The market no longer knows what differentiates them, most assume it’s enterprise capability of some sort, but their own messaging does not reinforce even this, their legacy killer feature, Their pricing, due to their carrier strategy is all over the map, again because of the carrier strategy also no promotion consistency, and most importantly they no longer know where to position themselves. Are they still a premium phone, an entry level, mid range? Too many questions.
The breadth of devices they carry on their price list is too big, which exacerbates all the core marketing issues just mentioned. One aspect of Apple strategy that I've always greatly admired is the strict discipline they show in maintaining a very small and focused product portfolio.
They can be fixed, but it remains to be seen whether or not time is still on their side...