The Zobisch Group was the first to introduce a digital pocket watch that integrated the functions of an MP3 player, smartphone, and tablet. Consumers ignored this invention for a couple of years but then, seemingly overnight, the digital pocket watch became the latest "must have" technological gadget. We know that the latest and greatest will soon replace the pocket watch. What specific plans of action should the Zobisch Group adopt in order to positively influence consumer behavior in order to prolong the life of its product?
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Consumer electronics has long been an intensely competitive business category. The introduction and evolution of personal computers, smart phones, and MP3 players, increasingly provided in single, compact packages, took that competitiveness to new levels. The example, of the corporation formerly known as Research In Motion (RIM) and its most prominent product, the Blackberry mobile phone, illustrated the fragility of the market for individual brands and the absolute requirement to understand the market and adapt to changing consumer tastes and the introduction of new technologies. Additionally, the preference of many consumers for a particular operating system – in effect, the loyalty of Apple customers to that particular company’s technology – does not necessarily translate to horizontal transference of key technologies. It remains a Microsoft world. A company, for example, Zobisch Group, seeking to remain competitive with its multifunctional pocket watch cannot assume – nor, presumably, would it – that its existing model will remain in demand in the face of competing companies offering similar products or more technologically-advanced options and would, as such companies always are, be compelled to continue to invest in research into next-generation technologies.
A company offering single-function watches, wrist or pocket, can remain focused on reliability and diversity of designs. Rolex, for example, continues to design and manufacture high-quality, high-cost watches that presume to offer no service other than providing the time of day. It competes with other high-end watch manufacturers, but there is no anticipation of its watches ever performing any other function than providing the time. Today’s smart phones, tablets, laptops, etc., are, by design, multifunctional, and each of those functions is constantly being refined, and new innovations are constantly being incorporated into designs. The competitiveness of the market for these products is sufficiently intense that a failure to continually innovate and market will inevitably prove fatal.
The Zobisch Group can choose to try to remain competitive with its existing design, but unless its competitors do likewise, it will invariably lose market share and, eventually, go out of business. The nature of the smart phone and hand-held computer industries are such that companies are constantly investing in research and development in an effort at discovering the next great idea in order to move to the head of the line. Zobisch’s pocket watch simply will not remain competitive absent continued efforts at improving it, and utilizing a marketing campaign aimed at increasing market share. The marketing strategy for Zobisch Group would focus on setting itself apart from its competitors and attempting to demonstrate its reliability and the uniqueness of its design. It would attempt to keep its brand in the public eye through creative advertising, and argue -- persuasively or not -- that its pocket watch is the best product for the money. If that watch was commercially successful, it can be assumed that its competitors copied it and/or improved upon its design. Zobisch Group has to continuously improve its product, and communicate to the public its continued relevance and superiority. Otherwise, it is history.
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