Blackberry Playbook: Critical Evaluation
Features of target market
Product core customer value
Nature of Product
Product Life Cycle
PLC Stage of Blackberry Playbook
Sustainable Life Cycle Assessment of RIM
SWOT Analysis of Blackberry Playbook
Main product competitors
Competitors of the Product.
Type of competition
The business level strategies are analyzed to interpret the current market position of Blackberry Playbook. There are multiple competitors of the product including Apple, Amazon and Google. The large corporations have created a fierce competition in technology industry especially the tablet devices market. The increased technology advancements are influential in the business and as a result the business has to adopt fast paced strategies to cater its market. The product is also named as one of the best professional computing device as increased processor capacity and portability are among key features of the product.
The business history, market value, financial position, main products, and operations are discussed to introduce the corporation. The target customers, product values, various strategies are also critically evaluated in the relevant sections. The SWOT analysis is performed to assess the product’s strength, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. The delayed evaluation and analysis regarding the product, pricing, promotion, and distribution strategies of the business in terms of Blackberry Playbook is presented in the respective section. The sections below are focused to critically evaluate the marketing strategy and key elements of marketing function in detail.
Research IN Motion (RIM) is the real name of Blackberry Corporation. The devices manufactured by the company are categorized as PDA. The company has played a noteworthy role in altering the course of mobile phones industry. RIM was incorporated in 1984. The business was collaborating with Ericson as a strategic partner in various developments. The company launched their BlackBerry products and provided an innovative solution for communications in 1999. It is also remarked as the year of their own operations regarding products manufacturer and distributor.
The business assets, income, and long terms investments are analyzed to assess the market value of the company. It also includes assessment of property and goodwill. Revenues of the company are totaled as $18.4 billion in 2012. Blackberrygenerated net income of $1.2 billion and $2.22 per share. Total assets of the business are $13,731 as at March 2012. An increase in the assets in observed as in 2011 the assets were at $12,875(Form 40-F, 2012). The business is rebranding itself to highlight its presence in the financial markets with changes in name at NASDQ ticker as BBERY and Toronto Stock Exchange as TSX: BB. The rebranding campaign is effective since 4th Feb, 2013 (Research In Motion, 2013).
RIM is mainly dealing in smartphones, tablets, software, and hardware for mobile devices. The product line of business includes limited number of products. It is also a trend setter in mobile industry hence relishes a good standing for innovating solutions for communications. The BlackBerry products include BlackBerry Playbook Tablet, BlackBerry Smartphone, and software for businesses and accessories. The limited products line is easy to handle and lead through the technology trends (Research In Motion, 2013).
The registered headquarters of business are situated in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. It also has offices in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. The company operates globally through its corporate office in Canada and regional offices in various strategic locations in the world. The geographic areas segmentation includes Africa, Asia-Pacific, Caribbean, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, and North America. The company is operating in 150 countries. The global operations have enabled them to distribute their products as an international manufacturer and distributor (Research In Motion, 2013).
The headquarter facilities in Waterloo Canada are owned. However a number of owned and leased office facilities throughout Canada are also operational. United States offices are comprised of five large campus style offices in Dallas and Texas. The sales offices are also present in U.S.. The company caters South American market from Uruguay, Mexico, and Brazil. Asia-pacific regional offices are present in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. The company also operates through Germany and United Kingdom for its European operations (Form 40-F, 2012).
Product: Blackberry Playbook:
The product of RIM belongs to tablet family of electronic and mobile computing devices. The design, display, CPU, and Operating system features of the product are described below. The weight of the product is nearly one pound. Portability of the product is increased through 7 inches screen display. Dual core 1 GHz TI OMAP processor is used to manufacture the product. The internal storage of Blackberry Playbook has several options ranging from 16 GB up to 64 GB. The product’s operating system is Blackberry OS which is developed through continuous R&D. The developer of the system is a reliable business partner of the firm named as QNX (Research in Motion, 2013).
The customers are one of the key stakeholders in business. It is important to define a clearly identified target market prior to manufacture and market products. The company has a long standing reputation in transforming various technology trends especially in mobile and communications industry. The business reputation and confined portfolio of mobile computing devices enables the business to clearly define and segment its target markets. The section below provide a detailed understanding of the target markets, customers of business, and key features of the target market for Blackberry Playbook. The correct identification and targeting of the market is essential to generate desired number of sales.
The target market of the product can be broadly defined tablet computing devices market in terms of its overall similarity. However the major target market is defined in terms of its portability, office usage, middle to high income group customers. The customers also belong to young to middle aged students, business executives, and professionals. The playbook is also designed to enhance processing capabilities in order to target corporate users and professionals.
The product is positioned to target 25 years and more age group consumers. It is also regarded as the first professional grade tablet computing device. The interconnectivity of the device with BlackBerry smartphone also allows the product to appeal for corporate and professional users. The association with Blackberry smartphone as well as mobility is major features of the target market.
Features of target market:
The key features of the target market can be defined in terms of distinct variables. These variables include the age, education, professional, status, mobility, and geographic presence. The education of the users of the target market has a common attribute regarding their age. The product is targeted at 25 up to 60 years of consumer age groups. The travelling and mobility time is also a key feature of the target market. The individuals’ spending increased time outside their business and residential locations are key users of the device.
The users educated from high school up to professional levels are consumers of the product. The geographic location of the users is also a key feature to define. The residents and professionals situated in the suburban areas and travelers of highly populated locations require more time to travel to and from their business locations. Hence it is observed that the product is highly used by the above mentioned consumer markets commonly sharing features.
The product features and value is a key element in setting the stage for its marketing and sales projections. The business professionals heavily rely on research and developments of the products which carry a three tier product value system for their customers. The basic layer is the core value of the product. It is the essential value that a product provides to its customers and satisfies the needs of the target market. The actual value of the product is attributed towards its perception and review of the target market. The actual value it creates among its target customers. The augmented value is described in terms of third layer holding the additional features of the product that cater the requirements of its target market.
Product core customer value:
The product core customer value is presented in terms of its usage as the first professional tablet computing device. The product is target to create value for its customers of smartphone as well as business and corporate professionals. The battery timings, display, and processing speed is the core value for the product. It is targeted to fulfill mobile computing requirements of professionals.
Actual product features:
The actual value for customers is observed in terms of its applicability as a mobile computing device for providing its customers facility to utilize the services while being out of their business and residential locations. The customer needs while traveling is fulfilled through usage of Blackberry Playbook. The product also enables the professional to perform urgent business communications functions during their time outside the office.
The augmented value of the product is regarding its ability to cater the graphical and portability requirements. The screen resolution and size of the display is essentially designed to provide adequate support for business professionals. The target market of the product is also facilitated through the presence of front and rear cameras enabling the users to communicate effectively using the product.
Nature of Product:
The products are segregated in two major categories including consumer and industrial products. The product is targeted to provide value for consumers. The industrial products have a large scale usage in business manufacturing and operations. However the dual nature of the product and increased tilt towards a consumer product for business and professional users enables it to be categorized as a consumer product. The nature of the consumer products is subcategorized as convenience, shopping, specialty, or unsought products. These categories enable a business to clearly define its market segment in terms of product value for its consumers. The Blackberry Playbook is categorized as a convenience consumer product.
The products deliver certain value against the price paid by the consumers. The value preposition of a product is essentially defined in terms of a significant difference between the perceived benefits of a product and the perceived price. It is also defined in terms of the ratio for perceived benefits and perceived price. It is important to note that the products are bought with least intentions on key features. They are bought in terms of the perceived benefits by the customers. It is also one of the key features and function for assessment providing the business decision makers a thoughtful insight of the product values. The perceptions of consumers are important to realize the benefits sought by the customers. There are multiple means to define the benefits of a product and perceived value preposition of the products. The value prepositions are defined in terms of more for meaning thereby that more benefits are perceived and more prices charged for the products. Similarly it is more perceived benefits and the same price is charged as benefits. More for less value preposition is regarded as increased perceived benefits and fewer prices are charged for the product. Same for less, less for much less is also defined as per the above mentioned criteria.
The value preposition of Blackberry Playbook is regarded as more for less. The features of the product are compared to the similar category of products and it is determined that Blackberry Playbook is less costly than the comparative brands including Apple. The product benefits are perceived as higher than the compared competitors. Whereas the price charged for the product is far less than the competition. The cost of purchasing an Apple product is higher. It is often argued that a complete comparison of these products is not possible. It is true to a certain extant where iPad targets a different market and Blackberry has altogether a different product. The business needs of the customers are fulfilled through careful features of the product and price is less than the perceived value of the product. Therefore it is concluded that the product fulfills the said criterion for value preposition.
Product Life Cycle:
The product life cycle management is a technique used to asses various business areas. It is also applicable for individual products, product portfolios, and complete business. It is observed that there are four distinct stages on each business’s life as well as the products. These stages are comprised of various stages. It is also likely to note that each stage has a distinct future. The advantages of product life cycle assessment are noted as it provides a time frame required to maintain high level understanding for business executive. The products introduced in the market stay in high demand for a certain period of time. After that the high demand is either replaced with other products as well as new technology.
The stages of product are also measured to assess the revenue potential and requirements for improvements. The stages of product life cycle are Introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. All these stages are relevant in case of Blackberry Playbook as well. The product sales are nil prior of introduction of the product and gradually it is observed that sales are increased with marketing and advertising of the product features. The growth stage is attained when a certain number of products are sold on regular basis and increased demand is projected.
It is also observed that the product generates maximum amount of sales during the maturity stage. However after attaining maturity the product sales are declined and it is either replaced with new products or renewed features. The sales and profits are also directly proportionate therefore the number of products sold as well as the profitability is also affected during various stages. The figure below provides a vivid understanding of the products life cycle.
Figure: Product Life Cycle:
Source: (Pride, & Ferrell, 2006)
The Playbook falls under the category of a highly technological product. It is also observed that the changes occurring in technology has affected the life span of a product. New technologies as well as multiple featured products are replacing older versions of devices as well as software. The technology change is the major factor which requires the business to adopt increased features as well as improve the old product versions. The business loosing track of technological changes frequently face business performance challenges in technological advancements product lines. Similarly Blackberry Playbook also requires a frequent update and in order to catch up with the market trends and demands. The rival products always pose a challenge in computing industry.
PLC Stage of Blackberry Playbook:
The stage of the product is observed as maturity as maximum number of sales is observed. The changes in technology, additional features, and additional advancements are required to regain the market position. The business has established its understanding for attaining sustainable product life cycle. It is essential for organizations to recognize the concepts of sustainability. The environmental factors are considered as relevant components of sustainable life cycle assessments for product life cycle.
Figure: Sustainable Life Cycle Assessment of RIM
Source: Research in Motion
The features of the sustainable product life cycles are defined by the business in terms of five stages including the raw materials, production, distribution, product use, and end of life. The above mentioned life cycle is relevant to understand the importance of corporate social responsibility in RIM. The corporation values its environment and as a result the products developed are based on the concepts of sustainable products life cycles.
The competitors’ analysis is essential to understand the product and business position as a whole. There review of external business environment provides an insight regarding the product competitors. The competitors’ analysis provides a business the opportunity to perform their strategic position analysis. The useful techniques for such analysis are SWOT analysis. The identification of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats enables a business to assess key elements influencing its products and business. It can be performed for business, product portfolio, and individual product. The analysis is based on the review of external as well as internal environment of business. The technique also allows the business to assess key elements of success, failures, and a reassessment of its strategies to attain objectives. The SWOT analysis for Blackberry Playbook is presented below to provide an overview of the current product position.
Figure: SWOT Analysis of Blackberry Playbook
Type of Factors
Growing Product Image
Comprehensive product features:
Handsome Sales figures
Existing customers base
Broad Product Portfolio
Short Product Life Cycle
Main product competitors:
The major rivals of the product can be categorized as large organizationsdealing in tablet computing devices. The features and not exactly the same an s product however the overall similarity in the products is found. The target market of the product is mainly business and professional users. It is not exclusively tragedy by other companies than Samsung. The product rivals are defined in the table below.
Table: Competitors of the Product.
Research In Motion
Blackberry Playbook 4G
Galaxy Tab 2.0
Google Nexus 7
Amazon Kindle Fire HD
Apple iPad Mini
Apple iPad 4
Type of competition:
The composition present in the product markets is classified in numerous terms including pure competition, monopolistic competition, and pure monopoly. The technological products in tablet computing do not have a monopolistic market attribute. The technology is available for usage to various large scale organizations. The technology business has various competitors ranging from well-known brands to small scale manufacturers situated in emerging markets. The Blackberry Playbook has a pure competition in the market. The business has to compete on the grounds of product features and capabilities. The core, actual, and augmentative product features are compared with the technology products offered from competitors.
The pricing strategy of products is an essential element is setting the stage for a marketing strategy. The pricing strategy is regarded as a business level strategy. However the impacts of this strategy can be observed throughout the corporate progress. The business performance is also affected through efficient development of pricing strategy. The foundation of a product’s selling prospects is established on the basis of adopted pricing strategy. The strategy is not related to a constant factor. The large corporations and technology oriented businesses develop strategies for pricing in each stage of the product life cycle. It is essential to maintain a dynamic pricing strategy to cater the requirements of possible product movements through its life cycle (Ferrell, & Hartline, 2010). There are multiple strategies taken by various organizations for products including cost-based pricing, value-based pricing, everyday low pricing, high-low pricing or value added pricing strategies. The business should also consider numerous factors influencing the product’s pricing strategy.
Pricing Strategy of BlackBerry Playbook:
The pricing strategy for Blackberry Playbook is also developed according to the product’s life cycle approach as well as integrating competitive pricing elements. The product is priced according to market positing taking into account the rival products quality and offered price. The business and professional customers of the product can afford to pay a high price in case it satisfies their requirements. The users of Blackberry smartphone are highly likely to use the product as it provides them the required features of connectivity and data synchronization. The price is however competitive among the similar class of products. The product price is changed according to the stage of its life cycle. The launch of product has a high price and as it attains maturity the price is reduced to cater its market. It also allows the business to offer improved products within the similar category at high prices.
According to Lamb, Hair, and McDaniel (2011) it is important to understand the difference between the consumer demand of products and demand in the business market. The business demand of the product is categorized as derived, inelastic, joint, and fluctuating. The derived demand is termed as the businesses buy products in order to facilitate their production. The joint products demand is defined as it is a combination of two or more than two products used to produce business results. The fluctuating effect in consumer products is categorized as having a direct multiplier effect on business products. It is also observed that businesses dealing in consumer products take expansion and advancement decisions based on the consumer demand.
However the consumer products have a different pricing and demand structure. The demand based on elasticity is refer to as directly proportionate with the product price. The dependency on price encourages business to review its product pricing on timely basis. The inelastic demand is defined in terms of having no effect on the demand of the product (Lamb et al., 2011). The Blackberry Playbook demand is categorized as elastic. The lower price of the product can result into increased consumption of the product. The argument can also be supported in terms of seasonal and promotional deal sales of the products. It is observed that during the seasonal promotions the electronics devices consumption is increased. It is also likely that a promotional offer affects the sales prospects of tablet computing devices including Blackberry Playbook.
The distribution channels used for products are also significant contributors in generating sales. The increased distribution of products has multiple advantages. RIM operates in multiple locations throughout the globe. The business is operating in 150 countries with its strategic locations. The corporate head office of the business is situated in Canada. It operates multiple company managed business location. The distribution strategies are categorized as intensive distribution, exclusive distribution, and selective distribution. The product is distributed with multiple strategies. The business incorporates different strategies for different markets in order to maintain a smooth flow of operations. The product is sold through exclusive distributors in various markets. It is only done in order to provide a company managed backup support as well as the maintenance of the product is also resolved through application of a single channel (Lamb et al., 2011).
However in multiple markets the product is sold through intensive distribution utilizing the capabilities of various technology and retail stores. The products are sold in various markets through online retailers of technology and computing devices. It not only allows the business to increase its product reach but at the same time the users and compare their desired product to take the best possible decision.
The promotional strategies are targeted to stimulate product demand and as a result the sales are increased. It is an important component of the advertising and marketing strategy in which the business incorporates various techniques to integrate marketing and promotion of the products. The integrated approach towards marketing and promotion of products is observed as a function of the business strategy. The promotion mix of the company is also based on an integrated marketing approach using multiple channels for advertising the products. The channels used to promote their products include direct marketing, magazine and print media advertisement, online marketing, blogs, and content communities. Usage of social media is also a significant element of the promotional strategy for the business. The business also utilizes point of sales advertising including placement of promotional materials at key computing stores and markets. The online advertising has gained approval for various markets. The target market of the products is well severed through online promotional campaigns. The Add presented below is also one of the print ads used by the business to promote the product.
The appeal used in the advertisement above is targeted at business and professional communities and target market with middle to high range incomes. The advertisement used black as a symbol of prestige as well as to advertise the product name. The association of black color with business and corporate settings is also utilized to market the product. The statement “Black is always in” states the company’s mission to continue with product innovations to cater its target market.
The critical evaluation of business and marketing strategy of Blackberry Playbook provides a comprehensive review. The strategies followed by the business are reflective of their mission, objective, and business level goals. It is also validated through the innovative technology of RIM in communications. The business has launched its first professional looking, highly competitive tablet as Blackberry Playbook. The target market of the product is defined in terms of professionals and corporate users of tablet devices. The needs of the market are catered through portability, processor speed, and professional operating system. The product life cycle review provides that the product is at its growth stage. The business has also adopted a sustainable strategy for its products. It focuses on raw materials, production, usage, and maintenance of the products. The corporate social responsibility is fulfilled through extensive usage of environmentally sustainable operations. The company has a large distribution channel with operations in 150 countries around the world.
Ferrell, O.C., & Hartline, M. (2010). Marketing strategy. USA: South-Western Pub.
Form 40-F (2012). Research in Motion Limited. Retrieved on March 8, 2013 from http://us.blackberry.com/content/dam/bbCompany/Desktop/Global/PDF/Investors/Documents/2012/2012rim_ar_40F.pdf
Lamb, C.W., Hair, J.F., & McDaniel, C. (2011). Essentials of marketing.South-Western Pub.
Pride, W.M., & Ferrell, O.C. (2006). Marketing: Concepts and strategies. USA: Cengage Learning.
Research In Motion. (2013). Research In Motion is now BlackBerry. Retrieved on March, 8, 2013 From: http://us.blackberry.com/company.html
Research In Motion. (n.d.). Products sustainability. Retrieved from http://ca.blackberry.com/company/about-us/corporate-responsibility/product-sustainability.html
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