Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Competitive Marketing Analysis, Proactive Marketing and Well-Thought Out Business Strategic Planning Could Have Saved Kindle from the iPad

Whoever saw the iPad launch recently will appreciate the critical role of Apple’s marketing and strategic planning. In fact, Steve Jobs of Apple delivered a presentation so informal it seemed there was no marketing involved at all. He came onstage with jeans, and spoke with a carefree, matter-of-fact attitude. And frankly, that’s what was so effective about it.

So let’s see what was really going on behind the scenes with the proper marketing and business strategic planning for the iPad. First off, Apple performed a thorough competitive marketing analysis of the e-reader/netbook arena and concluded that there was room for something different. They also identified a need to adjust their positioning strategy and update their strategic marketing plan from the “Think Different” slogan. Apple just can’t push “Think Different” anymore, now that the company is becoming mainstream and is the No. 1 provider for mobile computing.

For the iPad in particular, Apple focused on identifying the requirements of their target market with a thorough competitive marketing analysis and market research, developing a device that answers the dreams of a modern on-the-go business people. They branded the product consistently with their other products (iPod, iMac, iPad), and gave it the same look and feel, and much of the same functionality. In the presentation, you’ll see Steve Jobs demoing photo libraries which appear haphazardly arranged. This apparently random selection is anything but random, and also part of an ingenious overarching marketing work that was prepared well before the launch of the iPad. The Web browsing demo and the Ipad gaming capabilities are directly linked to deals with leading partners, book publishers, newspaper publishers, and leading mobile/gaming applications that were negotiated in advance. Such partnerships are, after all, part of good business strsategic planning to block the competition.

But the question is, while Apple was working hard and enjoying the fruits of its competitive marketing analysis with a potent product launch, where was Amazon? Nowhere. Amazon was not on guard to block Apple from a tremendously successful launch. Though Amazon now has 60% of the ereader market share and had an established relationships with all those publishers and many more, they were not wise enough to leverage these relationships as part of their own strategic marketing plan before the launch of the iPad. Moreover, they butted heads with some of the publishers, resulting in a cold relationship.

Now that the ground is falling out from underneath Amazon, they have announced that they bought a touch-screen company, clearly looking to update the Kindle with the same touch functionality as the iPad. They are also looking to tempt publishers with a higher commission percentage. If this competitive marketing analysis had been performed last year and they would have been prepared for the Apple launch, imagine how much damage might have been avoided for Amazon!

As today’s market evolves faster than ever, you don’t want to be left behind. Don’t risk losing market share! Conduct competitive marketing analysis well ahead of time, and you’ll be sure of an effective product launch and market penetration, and you’ll be well equipped with the proper strategic marketing plan.