Observations, deductions and feelings fueled by tequila, tea and tobacco

More from the 4 Ps

In V-A on May 21, 2007 at 04:00

[Originally written as a post script here]

* Recently I’d written about the 4th P not being optimally utilised by marketers. I saw another sample where even the 1st P – the product – had been only partly looked at. While at the Vijay Sales outlet pondering over which iPod to buy, I found a nice display of cordless headphones. A black coloured soft and sleek base station and good padded headphones to wear around the house/office. It could be conveniently connected to TV/laptop/CD player or used independently as an FM radio. It was a good package and at 700 rupees, priced well too.

Infact we almost bought two sets of them before we found one small problem – the base set ran primarily on batteries but there were no complimentary batteries included. It had a socket for an AC adapter but it was a non-standard size and the adapter was not a part of the package. Actually, the shop attendant directly warned us we may not be able to find an adapter for it so rare is this size in the market. Ofcourse, we promptly replaced those two boxes back on the shelf and headed for checkout.

It left me wondering. Why would any company take such a half hearted approach to product design? They developed a great looking product with all the right features and not toooo many. They price it well and work out the distribution part well by placing it at the highest visibility spot in the most frequented electronics store. And as I noticed today, its been promoted on a few channels on TV too. Yet they leave the whole product package half baked by ignoring a key, though easily overlooked, element.

Would the iPod, even with all of Steve Jobs’ marketing acumen, have been such a success had Apple told you ‘we only manufacture the pods, go get the chargers from market’. And then chosen the charger type least available in open market! Ofcourse, even after putting all of those in, they had to ensure that there was an efficient and well stocked iTunes s/w-cum-store to purchase and manage content for that pod.

Are we – the Indian marketers – slow learners? Do we leave too much of marketing related stuff to operations/product teams? Or are we so pressed for time (to bring in the money, given the quarter end deadlines on stock market) that we forget the viewpoint of those very people who’ll give us their time and money?

Back on iPod, I like Apple’s strategy. They’ve decided they don’t want to make money from the songs. Not yet. Steve Jobs pushing for selling non-DRM version of songs on iTunes is thus clear – Apple makes most of its money from the hardware, selling the songs almost at cost. DRM free songs would mean more people having access to songs sold resulting in more iPod sales. It also helps understand Apple’s reluctance on making iTunes compatible with players other than its own iPods – why subsidise other people’s players through your website.

However, now that the iTunes store, by itself has gained a size big enough to become a big money earner in its own right, why do they still keep themselves barricaded? Soon they might need to decide between setting up iTunes for competition from plays supported by almost everyone else in the industry (A.K.A. rhapsody) or take a little hit on the hardware side and kill the competition in e-tailing right in the bud. Ofcourse that would also solve its issues with the anti trust regulators across the globe.

What do you say? What will happen, if anything at all.

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  1. […] writes of himself and his roving thoughts « More from the 4 Ps the weekend post May 21st, 2007 This should be compulsory – the weekend post – for it […]

  2. future competitors — nokia(as they try to move to software) and apple ?… how about a post on this ?

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