In this paper I will analyze the marketing plan of Research In Motion (RIM), which is one of the most recognizable players within the smartphone industry due to its BlackBerry brand, which captured the world’s attention. From the analysis, we can extract the current position of the company and how it should proceed through its future. 2. Marketing Plan 2. 1. Marketing Plan Objectives 2. 1. 1. Brand Definition and Current Position BlackBerry is the first handset which has the capability of allowing users to send emails from it. The technology was spawned and presented to the world by a Canadian company named Research In Motion (RIM).
The innovation was considered a huge milestone in the history of cell-phones and the market loved it. It was first launched to the public in 1998. This high end handheld gadget quickly became a new trend within the community, especially business communities. Executives, consultants on Wall Street are loving the presence of this new trend. Even though business society is the main generator of this BlackBerry trend, the trend is not actually constrained within that realm. BlackBerry also made social connections easier and more exciting. The brand ‘BlackBerry’ is still in the air today.
It has been around for a decade in competition with many other high-end gadgets and it is quite able to maintain its superiority within the market. In 2005 alone, the brand has been sold 2 million handsets and the company. RIM is now handling half of its wireless business emails. The largest rate of growth for the product is actually in the European regions, but both US and Europe’s markets provided great support for the growth of RIM and the brand BlackBerry itself, by buying and subscribing for millions of BlackBerry and its features each year. Reports revealed that the first quarter of 2008 saw that BlackBerry has taken 44.
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5% of the US market, which is an incredible increase from 25. 1% in the previous quarter. However, several articles and market trend reports, reveals that there are doubts regarding the future position of the brand. Considering the comeback of many competitors, including Nokia’s iPhone, PALM and Motorola, some people are betting that BlackBerry will soon be outmarketed by one of its competitors, just as BlackBerry outsold iPhone. There are many factors that influence the sales of these high end handheld devices, but the two factors that are currently most influential are: innovations and market recognition.
In this paper we will discuss how to increase brand market recognition and sales by developing brand marketing program (Regan, 2006). 2. 1. 2. Objectives Despite its current achievements in its markets, the brand BlackBerry and the company Research In Motion is not on an endless street of success. As mentioned previously, competitors are striving hard to maintain competitiveness against the brand. Microsoft, Apple, Palm and other string brands are targeting the same target markets as BlackBerry, aiming customer that want more than just e-mail phone.
Thus, it is important for RIM to stay ahead of the market trend by developing its features. Therefore, the marketing strategy should be aimed at helping RIM maintain superiority in the market. In the US and Europe market, the brand is already well recognized for having millions of loyal customers. Outside these regions however, there are still minimum recognition regarding the features of the product. In most places outside US and Europe, the product is considered too expensive because there is a weak understanding toward the system and its workings.
In order to secure cash inflow and the future development of the brand, it is important for the company to expand their market reach into markets that are less familiar with the product. In addition, the company must also have a strategy to retain the satisfaction level of its current customers. 2. 1. 3. Methods Innovation is the most powerful strategy for the brand because it was also the cause of how the brand obtains its leadership position today. The market was previously led by i-Phone, but as the market for i-Phone dimmed, BlackBerry took the leadership position according to sales.
BlackBerry should not rely on its current feature because other companies can steal the leadership position by developing a brand new feature. Other methods however, is to develop a promotional program for the product. This program works better in foreign markets rather than aggressive advertising that usually chosen by marketers. 2. 2. Role of Advertising and Promotion Advertising and promotion is an important tool to reach high levels of marketability. By means of advertising and promotion, products can change from unknown in one market into the dominant brand. This is what happened with BlackBerry in United States since from 1998 to 2009.
The product has grown from an unknown device into the new gadget that America has falling in love with. Those are all generated by the hard work of advertising and promotional department in RIM, for example, by delivering a consumer marketing campaign. Therefore, the brand would need another series of marketing plan in order to maintain BlackBerry’s success in the market. 2. 3. Competitive Analysis The largest competitor for BlackBerry is the iPhone. In June 2008, BlackBerry have outsold i-Phone by far, strengthening the opinion that i-Phone is already a thing of the past due to BlackBerry’s marketing campaign.
Nevertheless, Apple has designed a new breed of iPhones, called i-Phone 2. 0, which is expected to bring positive effect’s on Apple’s sales number. Experts and observers are still developing forecasts about how BlackBerry will maintain its current leadership facing i-Phone. It would be a real test to RIM and BlackBerry. In reality, brand name alone cannot guarantee customer satisfaction. Any cellular company and cellular provider must have the capability of ensuring that the product is satisfying in nature. Without this ability, the brand name will never last the year.
According to available articles, it is revealed that BlackBerry has its advantages, but also has its problems. Some of which will be described within this sub-chapter. People believe that BlackBerry devices are reliable because they are the first in the industry that come up with the idea of a mobile phone who can sell emails. This feature however, is no longer a distinct feature today as many other brands have similar offer. Some claim, that other brands might have just done it better than BlackBerry itself. For example, the Windows Mobile Smartphone is considered a hard rival of BlackBerry’s because of its reliability.
Another aspect that is considered the strength of BlackBerry is its safety. Today however, security is no longer RIM’s own strength. Microsoft has the same security features in Exchange ActiveSync and their Windows Mobile (Meissner, 2008). The world of devices has also expanded with Apple’s i-Phone, Google’s Android / Open Handset Alliance devices, S60 and Windows Mobile. Most of these brands are reputable brands having a competitive feature of their own. For example, the I-Phone is doing extremely well in the consumer market, especially with the presence of Exchange ActiveSync.
Windows mobile devices also has better support for 3rd party applications compare to BlackBerry devices and their e-mail implementation. Using the Windows mobile will allow users to access Internet Explorer mobile which is better that BlackBerry wed browser. BlackBerry on the other hand, has its powers in the enterprise market, but it is also indirectly helped Microsoft to implement its Exchange Active Sync solution (Murphy, 2005). In addition, concerning the competitive analysis, there are several points of comparison between RIM’s BlackBerry and its one challenger, Apple’s iPhone:
• BlackBerry still lead in email application over the mobile phone Strong focus on developing the corporate applications, email, has put BlackBerry ahead from iPhone for consumers who send a lot of emails everyday. Some of these consumers simply think that the BlackBerry is ‘quite enough’ to fulfill their communication. • BlackBerry is faster The simpler features, which developed on Java applications, it is easier and faster for the BlackBerry’s customers to pick and choose which folders to sync. • iPhone has better screen and typing device
Some of the consumers find the QWERTY keyboard on the BlackBerry to be good, but the iPhone typing pad is better. Even, the challenging model of BlackBerry Storm, which also uses the touch screen, is not comparable with iPhone. • iPhone is ahead in providing multiple features. Consumers enjoy iPhone’s web browsing device, iPhone’s calendar’s list view, etc, which makes it ahead over BlackBerry in some points • BlackBerry has a longer battery life The push mail application has provided another advantage for BlackBerry as the battery lifetime is longer than iPhone. (Nadkarni, 2007; Murphy, 2005) 2. 4.
Environmental Influences The brand is naturally affected by many aspects of the society, including social aspects, economical aspects, political aspects, etc. However, the noteworthy aspect which is influencing the smartphone market is actually the credit crunch which has been going on for several years in the United States. As reported in an article, US economic slowdown has generated a decrease in IT spending for most companies in the country. This could have a notable effect on the effectiveness of BlackBerry’s marketing dollar, considering that the BlackBerry market is flooded with cheaper substitutions (Carton, 2007).
3. Promotional Program Situation 3. 1. Internal Analysis The company is known for its innovation capability due to the production of BlackBerry. Nevertheless, experts are still waiting whether the company is going to turn out as another one time wonder hit or will it continue its pace into the world of innovation. The company is also known for its aggressive marketing campaign which is stated to ‘allow too much money on the business for it to go bad’. These two characteristics, innovation and aggressive marketing campaign are the pillars that determined RIM’s success in the future.
3. 1. 1. Existing Promotional Strategy BlackBerry is the first handheld device that allows users to send emails instantly. This is the core of RIM’s marketing campaign which purpose is to lead customers toward buying the most trustworthy device due to RIM’s experience. Despite the legal turmoil, RIM are not slowing down its investment in its CRM strategies. Furthermore, being a knack in the communication technology itself, managing the marketing campaign is considered to be much easier for the company. 3. 1. 2. Corporation’s Future Capabilities
BlackBerry has traveled around the globe through as far as Indonesia in South East Asia and may be further. Nevertheless, its marketing campaign is not yet reaching a lot of people in new regions, apart from people which are living in the highest level of the region’s social strata. I believe that RIM can achieve much more success once its sets its mind into developing its presence in these newer markets. To attract not only the highest class, but also middle level workers which are already financially capable for the device and also the trend-sensitive people within the society.
3. 2. External Analysis The company faced a number of legal problems due to its patent ownership issue, as well as its relationship with other communication providers. Experts indicated that such a legal proceeding will take too much time and resources that it would have some level of impact on corporate marketing plans. In reality however, the company does not mention any obstacles in terms of its marketing strategy implementation. Other issues that should be considered might be copycats, substitutions, competition and trend development (Pritchard, 2006).
3. 2. 1. Consumer Behavior Articles revealed that the people of America are falling in love with the handheld device that can send emails. The same could more and less be said for Europe and the rest of the world. This is caused by several motivations, which are social in nature and professional ones. In other words, people could be buying the device because of social motivations like recognition, popularity, trend, and also for professional reasons like connecting with business partners, managing projects from remote locations, etc.
In both situations, market analysts indicated that BlackBerry’s brand name as the first handset that allows people to email added by its attractive designs, will maintain RIM’s name in the top of the sales chart for a several years. 3. 2. 2. Market Segmentation RIM targeted several target markets, but the market segment that is proven to deliver a significant contribution to RIM’s revenues is the business segment. BlackBerry is mostly sued by professionals who are in need of the features offered by the device.
Nevertheless, lately it has also been identified that RIM has significant threats developing within that particular segment. Business people are needing more features that simply sending and receiving emails. They sometimes want to check inventories and run several types of applications within the device. Market surveys reported that other brands, like Microsoft for example, has been developing more features like those, in a faster pace than RIM. Thus, it is suggested that RIM re align its segmentation strategy to include this threat and how the company will overcome it. 3. 2. 3. Market Positioning
In terms of market positioning on the other hand, RIM has been facing some problem with its current position in the market. In spite of its success and market recognition, the company is facing heavy competition and legal threats from various parties. Stock analysis indicated that some are starting to cash-in their investment from RIM due to these issues and on the contrary, stock prices for Microsoft enhanced after the announcement of a legal issue. If the company needs to maintain is superiority within that position, than it must realigned its positioning strategy to include plans that will address the issues promptly.
3. 3. Budget Determination The budget of promotion for BlackBerry is determined by the portion of the company’s revenue in which in 1008 fiscal year, the company booked total revenue at $6. 01. Assuming the budget of promotion sit at 2% of total revenue, therefore, the 2009 promotion budget would be $150 million (MNM Media, 2008). The proposed promotional budget of BlackBerry is set 2% since there are no exact amounts of advertising budget as percentage of sales revenue.
By assuming that in 2009, retail activities becomes main concerns of Research in Motion (RIM), as mentioned by Jim Balsillie (CEO of RIM), therefore the amount is considerably acceptable (MNM Media, 2008). Table 1 Budget of Promotion for RIM’s BlackBerry No. Items Budget 1 Revenue of Research in Motion in 2008 fiscal year US$6. 01 billions 2 Budget for marketing efforts per annum (of gross sales) 2% Total US$ 150millions Source: MNM Media, 2008 4. Develop Integrated marketing Communications Placing advertisings in several media such as television and online media is part of initiatives of integrated marketing communication.
The word “integrated” refers to a company’s program to deliver the promotional messages in similar tone so that in every media the promotion still conveys the same message to ensure the effectiveness of promotion initiatives. In order to provide effective promotion, Research in Motion should pay take into account the consumers’ culture and behavior since they become influential elements in marketing communications (Pennington 2005). 3. 2 Advertising Basically, advertising composes of several activities including print, online, radio, and TV.
In order to have an effective advertising strategy, Research in Motion can deliver promotional messages that are valued the most by the target market. The success of BlackBerry cannot be separated from their capability to address the market demands for powerful smartphones. One key success factor of BlackBerry is the capability to offer features that corporate user needs the most, electronic mail (e-mail). Coupled with other data communication features, BlackBerry becomes mobile phones that support the data transfer like internet browsing, facsimile, and electronic browsing conveniently.
Figure 1 BlackBerry Three Models (Pearl, 8800 series, Curve) Source: http://na. BlackBerry. com/eng/devices/ The advertising that Research in Motion does for their BlackBerry handset had better mention the advantages of BlackBerry over the other smartphone and PDA handhelds. Basically, these applications are supported by some handhelds or PDAs (personal digital assistants). However, lack of network support towards various mobile phones brands to deal with data communication causes slow adoption of data communications over mobile phones.
Fortunately, a Canadian-based company, Research in Motion (RIM) develops not only handhelds (Figure 1) that are designed to handle multi tasks like e-mails and other business uses but also advance corporate system that support the use of emails as if users connect to desktop PCs (personal computers). The unmatched benefits of BlackBerry handhelds has generated the distinctive value proposition for BlackBerry as the leading smart phone for business users and professionals since the java-based applications that BlackBerry created support many business applications including enterprise system.
This particular benefit should be exposed into the public so they are aware of the advantages of using BlackBerry than other type of mobile phones. Some benefits that can be exposed in the advertising are: ? Provides 10 email accounts, which is created over Web Client Access. ? Every client who becomes BlackBerry subscribers will have email account with mailbox capacity of 10 Mb in addition to their personal emails (corporate email or free web-based email like Yahoo! or Gmail from Google) ? Support POP3 / IMAP functions.
Due to their use of GPRS-based system, BlackBerry services are known to bring the concept Always On, Always Connected® ? Truly push mail solutions for business uses with advanced security and end-to-end solution ? International roaming capability Below is example of advertising design for BlackBerry that highlights the handhelds benefits of providing fashionable model, equipped with GPS navigation etc. Figure 1 Advertising of BlackBerry Curve Source: http://blackberrysync. com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/sprint-curve8330-ad-red. jpg
Another design for BlackBerry advertising is shown in the Figure 2 where the ship model represent the feature of Blackberry that provide a freedom for users to navigate Figure 2 BlackBerry ship-model advertising Source: http://blackberrycool. com/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/bbship. jpg 3. 3 Public Relations By definition, public relations (PR) are any activities that aim at managing communications between a company and its key public in order to generate appropriate image about the company. However, in IMC concept, PR also moves towards marketing.
The idea of relationship marketing is a new form of public relation activity that has marketing nuances. Public relation is therefore related to any efforts to broadcast the corporate and product image in the public. Figure 3 shows an example of public relations of BlackBerry new model launching by conducting fashion show. It is somewhat similar to Mercedes Benz fashion week in which the high class fashion is considered to represent the high class and quality of Mercedes Benz. Figure 3 BlackBerry and fashion Show 3. 4 Sales promotion
Basically, sales promotions are non-personal promotional activities that intend to have direct impact on sales of a product. Some activities that are in the sales promotion category include media and non-media marketing communication, increase consumers demand, and improve product availability. Some issues in the developments of BlackBerry design can be considered and placed in any sales promotion as tagline, which derived from the value propositions that are considered to be the determining factor of BlackBerry’s success, which mainly due to the strong focus on email application.
Many business analysts on the internet believe that the strongest factor that determines BlackBerry’s success is its confident focus on a single, compelling value proposition, which is the electronic mail (e-mail). Instead of developing the general PDA phone that provide general benefits, RIM avoid committing such wasting time efforts by focus on developing e-mail related applications since they understand the need of corporate users is email. RIM realizes that the product, even with its –comparatively- few features, has certain ‘chemistry’ with corporate users, to whom emails are very much important.
The value proposition of BlackBerry perfectly fills the niche exists within the corporate users and adding up more features does not guarantee a stronger chemistry (Nadkarni, 2007). Works Cited Apple Inc. “Revolutionary Phone. ” 2008. 25 March 2009 <http://www. apple. com/iphone/features/index. html#phone> Carton, Paul. “Weaker Growth in Corporate IT Spending: BlackBerry and iPhone Gain Market Share. ” Seeking Alpha. Cohen, Joyce.
“Armed With Right Cellphone, Anyone Can Be a Journalist. ” 2005. New York Times, pg. C. 3 Roughly Drafter Magazine. “iPhone Grabs 27% of US Smartphone Market. ” 2007. 24 March 2009 <www. roughlydrafted. com/2007/11/ 21/iphone-grabs-27-of-us-smartphone-market/> Johnson, Rick. “Value propositions and Competitive Advantage’. 2008. Hotel Industry News. 25 March 2009 <www. hotelnewsresource. com/article31750. html> Mace, Michael. “The Myth of the Smartphone Market. ” 2006. 26 March 2009 <www. marshall. usc. edu/assets/006/5567. pdf> MNM Media. “RIM Posts $6 billion revenue for fiscal 2008. ” 2008.
24 March 2009 <http://www. electronista. com/articles/08/04/02/rim. posts. large. profits/> Murphy, Victoria. “Out Front, BlackBerry Jam. ” 2005. Forbes. Nadkarni, Shirish. “How RIM Nailed its Value Proposition with BlackBerry. ” 2007. MochaTalk. 24 March 2009. <blog. livemocha. com/2007/04/01/ how-rim-nailed-its-value-proposition-with-BlackBerry/> Pritchard, Stephen. “The Trouble’s Not Over for BlackBerry. ” 2006. Independent. Regan, Keith. “Search for BlackBerry Alternatives May Accelerate Nest Technology. ” 2006. Seeking Alpha.
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