1. the_sleuth's Avatar
    When the Chief Marketing Officer is hired, this person will have several challenges to address:

    7 Marketing Lessons From RIM's Failures Mashable 7 Marketing Lessons From RIM's Failures | The top source for social and digital news

    It's not a flattering article but the dirty laundry needs to be cleaned:

    Here are seven marketing lessons from RIM’s dark and difficult journey.

    1. Make Great Products

    Consumer electronics success begins with excellent products. The BlackBerry was once perceived as the very best smartphone — or, at least, “emailing phone” — available. It was exciting, emotional and it made people feel good. RIM sold BlackBerries on the strength of word-of-mouth recommendations. BlackBerries were aspirational, and people wanted to own one because friends and colleagues were so passionate about them.

    Now, fast-forward to today.

    Consider the excitement and energy around the iPhone and all those Android handsets. RIM enjoys none of that today. Not one percent of it. In part, it’s because it stopped making good smartphones in favor of a poorly received tablet called the PlayBook.

    Successful marketing begins with having a tremendous product or service to market. Nothing happens without this.

    2. Build on Strengths Instead of Improving on Weaknesses

    I’m constantly telling clients that they should build on strengths instead of trying to improve their weak areas. For RIM, the BlackBerry was a great strength, and they all but abandoned its development and marketing for a year or longer to create the tablet. RIM did this to try to prevent the world from passing it by in the tablet space — which it did anyway. Tragically, as a result of diverting talent, attention, resources, investment and innovation from the BlackBerry to the Playbook, the consumer smartphone world has also passed RIM by.

    It doesn’t matter what business you’re in. If you focus on developing weaknesses, your strengths will atrophy due to neglect. If you want to market well, identify your strengths — products, services, techniques, approaches, relationships — and exploit them relentlessly. This technique overcomes nearly all weaknesses.

    3. Gravity Pushes Backwards

    If you’ve attained a measure of success, you must continue innovating your products, services and your marketing just to maintain your position. Because you can bet the competition is innovating aggressively, and they’ll pass you by in three seconds if you stop doing the things that brought you success. RIM not only stopped releasing new BlackBerries while focusing on its PlayBook, it basically stopped talking to its customers about them for an extended period. We’ve seen this story before with Palm and many others. Gravity pushes backwards in business. Consistent and aggressive innovation is required not only to attain success, but to maintain it.

    4. Know Precisely Who Your Customer Is

    RIM’s management famously disagreed on who their customer was. Then co-CEO Mike Lazaridis felt the customer was the corporation. Others, probably including his counterpart Jim Balsillie, wanted to aim BlackBerry products at consumers. If you don’t know exactly who your customer is, it is impossible to market. Language, messaging, platforms, branding and public relations change completely depending on the customers you target. So identify your customers as precisely as possible, and aim all of your marketing efforts at them.

    5. Executives Set the Marketing Tone

    Consider the most successful companies in consumer electronics (and two of the most successful companies in all of business): Apple and Amazon. Their chief executives set their marketing tone, and everyone follows. If you haven’t seen it yet, watch this YouTube video of Steve Jobs introducing the iPad, and listen to how everybody who followed him on stage used exactly the same words.

    This is no accident. The next day, thousands of articles used the same words to describe the amazing, remarkable and awesome iPad. Amazon’s Bezos is the same way. The best marketers have high-level executives setting the tone. They not only teach the rest of the company how to talk about their products and services, but the customers, the media, and the market itself. Obviously, RIM’s co-CEOs did not set this tone. They couldn’t even agree on who the customer was.

    6. Avoid Unforced Errors

    Most marketing problems are self-made and entirely avoidable. Consider the major developments from RIM’s recent past:

    It voluntarily stopped focusing on the BlackBerry to make a product it had no experience with.
    It could not identify its customer.
    It stopped marketing to consumers, allowing competition to roar past.
    Not convinced? Consider Netflix’s recently concluded horrible-terrible-no-good-very-bad year:

    A dramatic price increase.
    An extended period with no action to placate angry consumers.
    Spinning off something called Qwikster and then spinning it back in.
    A remarkably poor response to it all by the CEO, Reed Hastings.
    None of these things happened to these companies. They did it to themselves. Don’t try to outsmart yourself. Avoid unforced errors.

    7. Keep Talking to Your Customers

    My work with clients often involves conducting qualitative conversations with their customers to deeply understand how they feel about what the company is doing and what the company is thinking about doing. If RIM had talked to its customers like this, it would have quickly learned that they probably weren’t particularly interested in a BlackBerry tablet without built-in email, messaging or contacts!

    If you’re not talking to your customers, you’re just guessing from a conference room.

    I believe RIM has enough of a corporate and government customer base to sustain it through this most difficult period. To recover, the company must precisely identify its customer, make terrific products for it, and orient all of its marketing and messaging toward it. In the meantime, we can all learn from the mistakes that brought the BlackBerry maker to this point.
    02-11-12 08:20 AM
  2. i7guy's Avatar
    Maybe the Internet should run rim, (and every other company) with all of these open letters, blogs, and "suggestions."
    02-11-12 08:44 AM
  3. the_sleuth's Avatar
    You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself.

    - Sam Levenson
    dentynefire likes this.
    02-11-12 08:52 AM
  4. app_Developer's Avatar
    If I were the CMO, I would post this all over the campus:

    "Do not talk about, boast about, or demo anything that we can't ship in the next 8 weeks."
    02-11-12 09:19 AM
  5. BEARD GANG's Avatar
    Need a BB10 phone right about now
    02-11-12 12:02 PM
  6. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    I need a drink.

    1. The OS7 phones released a few months after the PlayBook. To suggest they shelved everything to focus on it, or say not one percent of the market is excited about these devices is silly at best.

    2. Same as above

    3. Yet again

    4. RIM has continued to focus on security, and lately been ridiculed for it. They've expanded platform support in BES, and introduced BESX.

    5. Obviously RIM's co-CEOs have stepped down.

    6. Same as 1-3.

    7. The majority of BlackBerry owners who have PlayBooks don't miss the core apps. They were present the second they bridged. Now, if you consider neglecting #4, I guess this works. It was RIM's intent to have them integrated sooner. Everyone knows that.

    This article looks to have been written by someone who hasn't checked the news since end of April. BB10 phones are coming, PB OS2.0 is due any minute, and sites can keep spewing out blogs of how RIM missed the boat for 2 years all they want. We all know it well by now. There's no new in this "news".
    i7guy, sam_b77, pmccartney and 2 others like this.
    02-11-12 03:08 PM
  7. Economist101's Avatar
    4. RIM has continued to focus on security, and lately been ridiculed for it. They've expanded platform support in BES, and introduced BESX.
    They aren't ridiculed for "focusing on security;" they're ridiculed for not moving devices. Period. It's a bottom line world.

    7. The majority of BlackBerry owners who have PlayBooks don't miss the core apps. They were present the second they bridged. Now, if you consider neglecting #4, I guess this works. It was RIM's intent to have them integrated sooner. Everyone knows that.
    The real problem is that there are 80+ million BlackBerry subscribers, yet even if every single PlayBook shipped through the end of the last quarter (850K) went to a current BB user that's still only ~1%(!) of the subscriber base. If you can't sell your current customers on the device, how can you be surprised when non-customers pass on it too?
    02-11-12 03:14 PM
  8. sam_b77's Avatar
    They aren't ridiculed for "focusing on security;" they're ridiculed for not moving devices. Period. It's a bottom line world.
    Sometimes the Bottom Line approach is the wrong approach in the long run. But the analysts and accountants wouldn't know this. They are not businessmen, just people who live off businesses.

    real problem is that there are 80+ million BlackBerry subscribers, yet even if every single PlayBook shipped through the end of the last quarter (850K) went to a current BB user that's still only ~1%(!) of the subscriber base. If you can't sell your current customers on the device, how can you be surprised when non-customers pass on it too?
    You have a point here. No arguments there. And to add to your point, a huge number of people who have BBs have them issued to them by their companies. Either they are not the techy bunch who would spend on gadgets (which all tablets would fall into) or simply don't want to spend that much from their own pocket.
    Also a large part of RIM's subscriber base which is non-corporate is outside USA and that too from a hugely diverse price spectrum ranging from Curves to Bolds. Tablets are still considered expensive in most parts of the world, so I'm not surprised that RIM has not been able to sell to their own customers.
    02-11-12 03:25 PM
  9. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    They aren't ridiculed for "focusing on security;" they're ridiculed for not moving devices. Period. It's a bottom line world.



    The real problem is that there are 80+ million BlackBerry subscribers, yet even if every single PlayBook shipped through the end of the last quarter (850K) went to a current BB user that's still only ~1%(!) of the subscriber base. If you can't sell your current customers on the device, how can you be surprised when non-customers pass on it too?
    If you focus on the article's points, you may understand mine.
    02-11-12 03:33 PM
  10. Economist101's Avatar
    Sometimes the Bottom Line approach is the wrong approach in the long run. But the analysts and accountants wouldn't know this. They are not businessmen, just people who live off businesses.
    The "bottom line approach" only works strategically for a tech hardware company if you view a business at the macro level. Yes, analysts often examine the business purely as a set of round numbers released every quarter, without necessarily examining all the relevant details.

    You have a point here. No arguments there. And to add to your point, a huge number of people who have BBs have them issued to them by their companies. Either they are not the techy bunch who would spend on gadgets (which all tablets would fall into) or simply don't want to spend that much from their own pocket.
    Also a large part of RIM's subscriber base which is non-corporate is outside USA and that too from a hugely diverse price spectrum ranging from Curves to Bolds. Tablets are still considered expensive in most parts of the world, so I'm not surprised that RIM has not been able to sell to their own customers.
    All of these points are valid. Yet, RIM has to know it's customers. When you really look at it, the PlayBook is so very different from every other device RIM builds that, arguably, if RIM's customers truly wanted a device like the PlayBook they probably wouldn't be RIM's customers in the first place.

    If you focus on the article's points, you may understand mine.
    The first thing I did was read the article.
    02-11-12 04:04 PM
  11. CrackedBarry's Avatar
    7. The majority of BlackBerry owners who have PlayBooks don't miss the core apps.
    Following that logic, Apple could have released the iPhone without a musicplayer, since "the majority of iPhone owners already have an ipod". Somehow I doubt that the iPhone could have been the success it is, had they followed that perfectly logical reasoning.

    The bottom line is, that the Playbook was released as an unfinished product. That's what matters independent of how well you can make the case that their customers didn't really need a specific feature.
    02-11-12 04:16 PM
  12. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    The first thing I did was read the article.
    4. Know Precisely Who Your Customer Is

    RIM’s management famously disagreed on who their customer was. Then co-CEO Mike Lazaridis felt the customer was the corporation. Others, probably including his counterpart Jim Balsillie, wanted to aim BlackBerry products at consumers. If you don’t know exactly who your customer is, it is impossible to market. Language, messaging, platforms, branding and public relations change completely depending on the customers you target. So identify your customers as precisely as possible, and aim all of your marketing efforts at them.
    4. RIM has continued to focus on security, and lately been ridiculed for it. They've expanded platform support in BES, and introduced BESX.
    They aren't ridiculed for "focusing on security;" they're ridiculed for not moving devices. Period. It's a bottom line world.
    What on point point was there with that point? (forgive the Wulfanese® )


    Second point well taken. Obviously from the numbers, RIM hasn't enticed it's base to purchase in healthy numbers. I can't answer except from my own perspective. I have a desktop, laptop and rooted Nook Color at my disposal. When on the go, for the last 4 years I've been perfectly capable managing my life via my cellphone. I've absolutely no need for a PlayBook, no matter what features it came with now, or ever.
    02-11-12 04:22 PM
  13. BigBadWulf's Avatar
    Following that logic, Apple could have released the iPhone without a musicplayer, since "the majority of iPhone owners already have an ipod". Somehow I doubt that the iPhone could have been the success it is, had they followed that perfectly logical reasoning.

    The bottom line is, that the Playbook was released as an unfinished product. That's what matters independent of how well you can make the case that their customers didn't really need a specific feature.
    Had the iPhone come with a bridge to the iPod, that connected it to itunes, and allowed them to be played through it, they'd have missed nothing. That's apples and oranges however. No one is carrying around a PlayBook without a cellphone.

    Edit - Ughhhhhh, I need a break. Ya'll argue RIM's past to your heart's content, while I await the future.
    sam_b77 likes this.
    02-11-12 04:26 PM
  14. _StephenBB81's Avatar
    1: the CMO would have ZERO effect on this, what a STUPID point,
    The CMO needs to address the products RIM makes, and find ways to promote what makes them great, as even the 9300 has strong points that could have been made about it.

    2: again, this has nothing to do with the CMO, I question if this writer knows what a CMO does.

    3: Well first, RIM didn't stop producing BlackBerry, which makes this point dumb, BUT I do agree that RIM's new CMO would need to continue to push forward with marketing, and training programs to not allow the consumers to become misinformed, to make sure the people selling the products have things to talk about, and to have strategies to continue to grow sales through advertising,
    RIM failed in 2010/2011 to even advertise clearly to it's core markets, nor to collect the data they needed. the CMO will need to change this practice.

    4: Company's can have multiple customers, what RIM's CMO needs to do is targeted marketing/advertising/sales showing the strengths of the product for each of those markets, from a Marketing/Advertising standpoint the CMO needs to cater to target markets.

    5: While I agree the Executives set the tone, how does this have Anything to do with what the CMO needs to do? the CMO needs to lead with charisma agreed, but when the CMO comes to RIM the former co-CEO's are just that, FORMER, Thorsten is the new face, and he is a little better thus far.

    6: I really have no clue what this point or lack of what tying to make, it has nothing worth even commenting on that wasn't already addressed.

    7: This is the only thing the CMO could take away from this, the CMO would need to actually record how advertising is being consumed, and make sure they are pushing with the advertisements that are popular, they are making targeted advertisements, and survey requests to get customer feedback, from the guy buying 1 Phone every 3 years on contract, to the guy buying 10,000 phones for his company
    02-12-12 07:39 AM
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