Only one product can truly be best of class. There is no challenge marketing that product. It is number 1 by whatever metric is used to determine that it is best of class. But being best of class does not mean a product is automatically the best-seller. The best product frequently loses in the marketplace to products with a different appeal.
Marketing is all about accentuating the strengths of your product and getting that message to the most receptive audience. In some ways, it doesn’t matter if your product is ranked first or last on some arbitrary list. Even if you are on top today, you could be at the bottom tomorrow. What you need is a consistent way to position your product to the people willing to buy it. Here are a few tips we can glean from the experts in the smartphone market:
Cell Phones for Seniors
It can be a challenge to find great cell phones for seniors. There are plenty of features that matter to seniors such as:
- Large, easy to read numbers
- Compatible with hearing aids
- Live, human assistant
People who grew up memorizing and dialing numbers don’t need an app to get the job done. They just need a large, backlit keyboard. It is not just about features. It is also about benefits.
The key benefit for seniors is that they can stay in touch with the people they care about without feeling inadequate in the face of excessive technology. Smartphones don’t necessarily make seniors feel smart. And they don’t want a lesson from the kids on how to make a phone call. The right cell phone should be liberating. Cell phones for seniors is a master class in marketing.
The Selfie Generation
What seniors don’t seem to be interested in is taking selfies. The very presence of a front-facing camera would likely turn many of them off. But there is a generation of smartphone users who value the selfie camera as the number 1 feature.
Asus caters directly to that crowd by offering a line of Zenfones designated the Selfie and Selfie Pro. For a generation of people who live out their lives on social media, the front-facing camera is the only feature of a smartphone that matters.
They don’t need the most popular phone or the fastest and most powerful phone. They don’t need the phone that can run the most apps or even the one that boasts the best security. They need the phone that puts its marketing muscle into the one feature that matters to them.
The Underdog Smartphone
The iPhone took the smartphone world by storm. Everything else became the not-iPhone. But for marketing purposes, that wasn’t a bad thing. There are a lot of people like Windows Journalist Mary Jo Foley who have an almost religious hatred of all things Apple. After it was clear what the iPhone would become, there was fierce competition to be the not-iPhone.
That crown was taken by Android: a platform that maintains far greater market share than Apple in the smartphone industry. To get there, Android had to defeat Windows Phone, Palm’s WebOS, Nokia, and RIM. Once Android became the official not-iPhone, the rest were fighting for a number 3 spot that simply didn’t exist.
But for a long while, each of them gatherers a loyal user base who wanted to support the underdog in the fight. Andy Rubin is making a comeback with the Essential Phone to recapture a bit of that underdog glory. There is no reason to believe he will not enjoy some measure of success.
Smartphone makers have learned that they do not have to offer an iPhone to be successful in the marketplace. Those who sell phones for seniors have learned how to reach their niche with the features and benefits that matter to them. Other companies have learned to focus on the one feature that differentiates them from the pack. Still others have learned the value of positioning themselves as the David to another’s Goliath.
These same strategies that work so well in the smartphone industry will do wonders for your industry, too.