* Partnership with resellers. Resellers can promote the significance of push email, retain the popularity of Blackberry and draw in new users to offer solutions to their communication problems.
* Opportunity to target smaller firms and consumers
* The Arabic-speaking world has one of the highest economic and population growth rates
* Many substitutes, from competitor smart phone manufacturers to simple pens and paper
Blackberry seeks to increase the size of the market for smart phones with push e-mail capabilites in the Arabic-speaking regions, and gain a dominant share of their respective markets.
Blackberry needs to find strategies to speed up the adoption of push e-mail technology, capture the Middle East market and gain a competitive advantage over competitors. For the purposes of this case, we will focus on Southwest and Western Asian markets.
The introduction of the push email technology is emphasized in the study of the Blackberry smart phone. RIM’s pricing strategy involved selling the smart phones for a premium. It was then predicted that the phones would be half-priced within 18 months. Promotions primarily relied on the endorsement of distributors and resellers who have gone through the training program for the latest technology. In addition, Blackberry as a well-established brand, easily creates equity among its customers. RIM aims to capture the Middle East market, and specifically address the need for mobile access to information in Saudi Arabia.
In formulating alternative solutions for the Blackberry smart phone, the group decided to identify options for each element of the marketing mix. The integration of the marketing mix decisions are then implemented according to the stages of the adoption process.
Business functionality is considered a strong point for the Blackberry smart phone. RIM may choose to capitalize on this by designing more features that satisfy the needs of both consumer and business customers from the United Arab Emirates. These features may include powerful communications elements, global connectivity and personal productivity which provide customers with more ways to stay connected to both their personal and professional lives. RIM may also incorporate desirable multimedia features and services such as browsing, music and video, turn-by-turn satellite navigation, messaging and social networking.
RIM can also choose to employ an “Accessibility Team” whose main responsibility is to understand the wants and needs of customers in order to find and implement accessibility features and solutions for Blackberry smart phones and Blackberry Software. This team can also work with third party developers to create mobile applications that are accessible to customers and that support large customers and carriers.
RIM may choose to set lower prices upon introducing Blackberry to the UAE. This “market penetration pricing strategy” may help the company achieve a large, if not dominant market share. If successful, this pricing strategy may lead to large sales volumes or market shares. Furthermore, costs per unit may decline as a result of both economies of scale and experience. The potential disadvantages of this pricing strategy include the likelihood of competing suppliers imitating the strategy by also reducing their prices, thus nullifying any advantage of the reduced price. The impact of the reduced price on the image of the Blackberry can also be another disadvantage, particularly where customers associate price with quality.
Wholesale pricing and volume discounts may act as a catalyst in the adoption process of the Blackberry smart phone, particularly in large firms and businesses. These firms have the incentive to purchase Blackberry phones in bulk since wholesale allows them to obtain lower prices from suppliers. By providing volume discounts as incentive, RIM can have their products purchased and made available for sale across a wide number of consumers. A business firm can improve the efficiency of everyday operations by distributing Blackberry phones to their employees, which will provide constant connectivity to everyone in the organization.
The collaboration of RIM with Etisalat and DU in the distribution of Blackberry phones will help RIM more effectively tap the fast growing mobile communications market in the Middle East. Since these local service providers work closely with Blackberry customers, they can easily work in partnership with RIM to address dynamic customer needs. Through this tie up, software upgrades and additional applications may be developed faster in response to market opportunities. Nonetheless, RIM should make sure that it tests and authorizes all software applications developed by these service providers.
RIM may choose to advertise the Blackberry smart phones as an ultimate status symbol. With regard to aspiration groups, the Blackberry can be positioned as a necessity for the Class A lifestyle, a way to stay connected to work at all times. They can utilize a marketing strategy that is based on status appeal, asking “What does it say about your organization if you don’t have a Blackberry?”. RIM may also leverage the distribution channels by letting them handle marketing. They may also invest in the channel to provide sales training. RIM should realize that it is essential to teach retailers how to sell the product and carry out the brand message. The only boundary to using aspirational groups is the quality of the people that are referred to. For example, the brand should avoid associating itself with Barack Obama, who is a prominent Blackberry user, if the current US president is going to encourage war in the region. Many other possible endorsers are available who are more in tune with the Arabic-speaking market.
Our group recommends that Blackberry implement the following programs to address the different decisions in relation to the marketing mix, which includes the following: product, pricing, place and promotion. It is important that they build an Accessibility Team whose main task is to understand needs and wants of customer through market research. Subsequently, they can acquire knowledge on the suitable features and services that the market seeks out. For pricing decisions, they can adopt wholesale pricing and volume discounts. This will be feasible especially because they are dealing with the business market where there are large firms that buy in bulk.
This strategy will allow Blackberry to quickly penetrate the market. As a result, businesses will have an incentive to buy, increasing demand on a larger scale. Cost per unit will decline as a result of economies of scale. We also recommend that they collaborate with Etisalat and DU in their distribution activities of Blackberry phones. With their help, they can easily respond immediately to the needs of market in terms of software upgrades and additional applications. Lastly, the promotion decision will be the most critical decision they will make. They need heavy promotional campaigns emphasizing Blackberry’s benefits to our dynamic environment and, more urgently, the ease of adapting the technology.
A brand launch may be useful in increasing awareness of the brand. They can develop websites, distribute brochures, advertise to potential customers through the different media, and build information centres where people can obtain information about Blackberry. In line with these, the company must implement sales training programs and workshops so that salespeople will be well-educated about their products in order to carry out the brand message and its benefits to interested buyers. In this way, they can justify the price against its numerous advantages which no other brand provides. Moreover, they will position Blackberry as an ultimate status symbol.