Wednesday, October 28, 2009

╠ Hypocrisy has a place in the market ╣

One man. One mission. To get a Windows 7 Whopper. Over in Japan to celebrate the release of Winodws 7, Burger King (Who we in Australia all know as Hungry Jacks) has created the Windows 7 Whopper. 7 Beef patties for the low cost of 777 yen.

I find it amusing how Hungry Jacks can get away with this, however McDonald's as the market leader is slammed heavily for being the case of obesity. As the biggest they are the easiest target. McDonald's has to adapt to the demands of the ethics spouting consumers who believe they are the evil of the world.

The thing I find even more amusing is that McDonald's facing these concerns and adapting their menu to the complaining consumers desires hasn't hurt them. If anything it has made them a stronger market leader. In normal circumstances you would think that putting limitations onto a player in a market compared to its competitors, would disadvantage it until it loses it's competitive edge.

So in this case acting ethically was the more beneficial option. Though this raises the question why if healthy is competitive, such a burger would exist as the Windows 7 Whopper.

The idea of ethical actions leading to benefits for a company is known as the Business Case for CSR. CHeck it out if you want to find more about the ethical side of corporations.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

╠ Why there is no PSPhone ╣

One thing that I find more and more as I study the depths of marketing is that a lot of decisions that I originally thought as stupid now have grounded theory behind them.

A rumour or fan desire that I've been hearing for years is the PSPhone. A PSP that multi functions as a phone.

However there is a clear point as to why this won't work. Phone's life cycles are minimal. The iPhone is probably the longest living, where one model can hold strong for an entire year. Consoles are different, they have a lot longer life cycles.

The reason Consoles work is that they have a wide library of games that they build up over the years. Reduce that time frame and games are reduced. Once you reach that point what is the point of having a PSP? You ay as well just get a handheld computer for PC games.

The only way to conquer this is through digital distribution where everything is guaranteed to be forward compatible. An example of thisdone right is the iPhone. The PSP is clearly trying to catch onto this with the PSP Go. However belief in the success of it is near rock bottom.

Some markets are mearly not meant to have crossover. Add too many things to your phone and all of a sudden you face other problems like battery life as well.

So to all my gamer readers out there, I hopethis stops you holding your breath for the PSPhone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

╠ The Paradox of choice ╣

Normally in Uni I'm faced with the same boring stuff every day, however one of my classes is a little different. There is no textbook. Therefore the learning isn't restricted, the content can alter and variate. This is valuable because if there's anything that can be said for reality, things don't stay the same for long.

Today in this class an interesting theory came up, 'The Paradox of Choice'. This theory refers to the choices we have when we go out to purchase something. I'll try to keep it simple. First of all it can be inferred that for every purchase you make, your happiness with that purchase is gauged by the performance of the product, relative to your expectations. By this method it is possible to be dissatisfied with a good product if you had ridiculously high expectations. So what's the secret to happiness? Low expectations!

Now this is where choice factors in. If you have one choice of a product your expectations won't be too high because it's not customized at all, it's basically all that's there and if you want a product in that category, you have to have that one. Now if you had two options things are a little different. You can weigh up the choices and pick the one that suits you a little better. But this comes at a cost, since you're no longer just stuck with what's there and you have a choice, your expectations are raised. This increases with every additional product choice. The more options there are, the more likely you are to find a product that suits all of your requirements better and therefore the better you feel the product has to be to reinforce that you made the right choice.

Thinking on this further I found it to apply to me a lot. Especially with technology there are so many options. Therefore the one you pick has to do everything you want and more for it to actually exceed your expectations and make you happy with your purchase.

So theoretically the best purchase you will ever make is when you walk into a store and the only thing left on the shelf is one sole product that satisfies your needs, however was there anything else you would still pick this one.

This also interestingly ties into my work where we're now told to take a brief reach into our customers mind and then stick to and try and focus on one sole product.

For any of you quite interested in this please do give the video below a look, it is quite interesting and the speaker himself is also a bit witty and humourous to boot. The point I'm referring to here is mainly referenced at around 10 mins in.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

╠ What is Brand Loyalty? ╣

Some of you may have seen the report on Mumbrella about Lasoo's iPhone application. Basically what this application does is collect catalogues together and show you all the products on sale meaning you know where to get the best price. Mumbrella predicted this as a huge change for retail, but I was skeptical.

My first thought was brand loyalty. Clearly we will prefer our retailers, we are happy to pay extra to shop at our favoured retailers. Then I realized that I myself don't even follow this pattern. I will get my favourite retailer to price match, or go elsewhere. Brand loyalty doesn't follow the textbook definition. It's not simply something that allows you to charge a premium and get away with it.

The truth about Brand Loyalty is that it reduces the amount you are willing to spend on searching. Whilst cost is often minimal to shop around, effort is still exerted and high brand loyalty leads us to have a lower limit for the degree with which we will go to research alternatives.

This is where that application hits. The effort exerted is reduced. Whilst some things can be as simple as a web search, even that requires enough effort to not be bothered for every transaction. This however is simply plug in the name and you know what everyone else has it at. Personally I don't know a retailer that I would be loyal enough to, to not actually go to that little effort when it comes to decent sized sales.

The application itself isn't that simple to use, however this vein of program is becoming more and more easy to setup and within time it's likely to be simpler and simpler. With such a high level of brand loyalty required to compete with this ease will brand loyalty become less cared for? Will price become the over arcing core element of success?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

╠ Bing It! ╣

When thinking about how to describe Bing I think the best description is that Bing is the younger brother of someone who turned crazy and went on a massive killing spree. Everyone knows he's there and will look at him, but nobody wants to play with him. Thus he becomes and outsider and all the other kids start to make fun of him.

The reason I say this is that I was recently at a Windows 7 training presented by Dell and Bing came up. Now just to set the scene, any Microsoft rep or employee using google is meant to receive a death glare. During setup I noticed the rep open google and then suddenly switch over, realizing his folly. Further more during the demonstration when showing off Windows 7 features, Google was shown as a frequently visited page. It showed Bing as weak, but to make up for it the rep answered all difficult questions with 'Bing it'. It almost seemed like an insult, but it's a good shutdown. Google it has too many syllables, Bing it sounds almost insulting.

Bing's placement in the industry itself makes it even more of a joke. Straight after this demonstration there was a Mac rep who used the same comeback. Whilst Mac itself is smart enough to not take on google for a search engine, 'Bing it' is still more of an insult than an actual proposition that it worked, despite the fact they were promoting a competitors product.

What I find as an interesting point is that will this catch on as a meme. Following on that, if it does how will Microsoft react?

Any further questions? Bing it!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

╠ Reduce functionality, increase profits ╣

One thing that I've had to face with a lot of the technology I use is the idea of 'homebrew content'. This is content created by the wider community, available for all to use. When it comes to things like the PSP it makes the console overall much more useful. Basically it goes from one group making all the stuff slowly to everyone working and you have all the good stuff quick.

Unfortunately however this content comes with content that breaches law. An example of this is the fact that one of the first homebrew applications for any device is one that allows it to play super nintendo games.

The thing that always confused me thought was how the companies fought for the removal of such exploits that allowed this. Yes there are some worse programs, for example with the PSP you can play PSP games without buying them. Whilst I know why they have to look like their trying, I always thought there was more value in feigning inferiority in regard to beating all the leet hackers out there and leaving it open.

The reason this doesn't work though is the relationships built. If someone like Sony were to leave a huge gaping hole like this in their software then game developers would not support their software. This has actually happened to a degree, in the sense that there are very few PSP unique titles.

So overall it's an interesting proposal. There is a point where profitability can be increased by reducing functionality.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

╠ Inferior yet Superior ╣

A few years ago I remember hearing rumours of a format being created that would compress a cd track retaining the quality of a CD that would be of average size 1mb. At the time I was amazed. I thought it was a marvelous invention and so proud that it was coming out of Australia.

Thinking now though, if a file format like that were to be released it would be meaningless. $100 no longer only gets you a 128mb Mp3 player.

It's amazing to think that something that would have been so effective a few years ago would be worthless nowadays. It hasn't changed, its competition hasn't changed.

Increasing the support in order to make way for this new format would be wasted money, considering the current marketplace. Despite the product is completely superior to mp3, it is simply not attractive.

Strange how the market can change. It is only in adapting to market changes that you can find true success.