Jason Dea's Pages

Thursday, April 5, 2012

To upgrade or not to upgrade... the question for RIM


Reading the avalanche of bad news coming out of Waterloo these past few weeks, there seems to be one small positive that most pundits agree on.  When RIM releases their new Blackberry 10 devices later this year, it will be a make or break moment for what was once Canada’s most valuable company.

I actually think there is a subtle nuance in that sentiment that some are overlooking.  RIM needs to actually get most if not all of their current 75 million users to actually upgrade to the new devices and platform as soon as possible.

That’s the precariously same situation that every technology company finds themselves in every few years.  In the case of Microsoft, usually every 3 years, Apple every year, and RIM will face later this year.  How can you ensure the smoothest and fastest possible upgrade cycle?

Existing customers on one hand love familiarity.  In my own day to day, I’ve been a loyal RIM user for many years, so the quirks that come with their devices are something that I’ve grown accustomed to.  You could almost say that are quirks that I’ve come to expect and as such have accepted as part of my daily routine.  On the other hand, those same quirks are what make me consider competing devices as a replacement.  In fact on some days those quirks even have me contemplating paying for my OWN better device, in lieu of my “free” company provided blackberry.

As with most technologies, I have no doubt that Blackberry 10 will be an improvement on their current operating system. 

So how can they get those better, faster RIM devices in the hands of their most loyal users as soon as possible?

As with many things in life I suspect the secret lies in going back to the basics.  For RIM that means focusing on the five Ps of marketing, and tuning them for their core audience.  The 75 million people globally who they’ve already captured as customers.  Products, Price, Placement, Promotion and Packaging that will appeal to all those people that at some point already bought into the RIM value proposition.
How easy that will be remains to be seen however, not to mention how soon they need to begin executing on this…