One marketing lesson stood out for me in 2011.
HTC sales down 30% YoY. No surprise. HTC customers dont have same desire for future models compared to iPhone customers reuters.com/article/2011/1…
— Praveen Rajan (@praveenrajan) December 7, 2011
It was the reminder that the combination of (1) predictability and (2) desirability in a product portfolio can deliver outstanding results to beat your competitors. This is especially true in the consumer electronics business.
Apple does this really well with the iPhone and iPad. And up until recently, Samsung has started to replicate this theory with its lineup of Galaxy smartphones and tablets.
Ever since we launched the iPhone in March 2010, I have bumped into many customers that know what they want to buy, and when they want to buy it. I always thought this was plainly about the desire of owning an iPhone – but it seems to be driven by more than that.
When customers view the line-up of phones from HTC, they see a bunch of random sexy models every year. Once you buy a HTC Sensation, what do I look forward to next year? It is hard to put your finger to it. At least for now.
Making desirable products (a little) more predictable over the course of time seems to be the recipe “du jour”:
- Predictable timelines help create more anticipation: that there is a new iPhone every year, usually between August – October. Customers tend to plan ahead and build up savings just to buy the latest device. And knowing when something is going to be released makes them feel more in control of the situation.
- Predictable branding helps create free publicity for an “unborn” product: “I am waiting for the iPhone 5″. Some customers hold off their purchases in anticipation of a new model that they seem to know before Apple has even announced it. The iPhone 3GS was succeeded by the iPhone 4, and now the blogs are buzzing about the iPhone 4S successor, the iPhone 5.
We will see more of this in 2012.
The iPhone 5 and iPad 3. And let us not forget the Galaxy S3 =)