I cannot help but wonder how well the BlackBerry Pearl would be doing if Research in Motion and T-Mobile marketed it at the same level as, let’s say, Verizon does the Motorola Q or the LG Chocolate? Don’t get me wrong, the Pearl is doing exceptionally well. Have you seen RIM’s stock price lately? It’s doing so well that one could argue that additional marketing may be moot.
I have to ask the question, however, because, from what I’ve noticed, at least here in the U.S., the BlackBerry Pearl doesn’t appear to be advertised all that much.
Now, don’t get me wrong, the BlackBerry Pearl is being talked about all over the internet and the buzz behind it… Well… Let me refer you to RIMs stock price again. I am just saying that I have yet to see a T-Mobile commercial with Catherine Zeta-Jones hocking a BlackBerry Pearl, nor any print ads in the Fast Company, Business 2.0, or Wired magazines sitting on my desk where Research in Motion is telling us how the BlackBerry is not just for work anymore.
Was the launch of the BlackBerry Pearl on T-Mobile the proverbial “dipping of the toe” for RIM into the consumer market soon to be followed up by a full marketing blitz on other carriers? Will we see launch parties like we did back when the BlackBerry 8700c came out where RIM just gives a BlackBerry Pearl to every B-list celebrity that the Paparazzi seem to love to photograph, while carrying their BlackBerrys of course.
I guess the only thing that we know for sure is that time will definitely tell…
I don’t pretend to understand much about marketing. But sometimes there’s a sense with some of these big marketing campaigns that they’re trying too hard. When I see them, I think “if your product was really any good, you wouldn’t have to market it so hard.” So I’m guessing that by spending a lot on a huge marketing campaign, you may actually kill the buzz you’re trying to create.
I wouldn’t rule out a big marketing push.
I think often, the marketing guru’s want to make sure that a product is available, and working before they unleash the big marketing guns.
Considering some of the initial tech issues, along with a paranoid concern about product availability by some carriers, it would make people a bit nervous about spending TOO much on marketing at launch time.
I also wonder if the lack of “Exclusivity” on the pearl may make T-Mobile (and cingular) hesitant to put a lot of marketing effort into it. T-Mobile doesn’t want to spend money making the Pearl popular, if they know it will help Cingular (who will also sell the pearl) and visa versa. Some of the other handsets (The LG chocoloate, etc) i think the carrier has an EXCLUSIVE deal (even if it’s often a limited exclusive deal). I doubt RIM would EVER agree to such a deal, at least not if they weren’t paid well for it.
That is a really good point.
Selling RIM BB’s retail, without carrier locks, unbranded is the way to sell smartphones. This exclusive sh*t needs to end, or at least become a four letter word when it comes to talking about smartphones. RIM having direct sales, and a few factory stores wouldn’t hurt either.
yargson makes some great points.
I agree that it appears that a lot of the marketing campaign is yet to come. First, to allow for any initial launch bugs and distribution problems to be worked out. Second, to unleash the marketing campaign around the Holiday season.
I’ve also speculated that a much increased marketing push will come when Cingular releases the Pearl, as Cingular has more marketing resources than T-Mo.
yargson’s other point about exclusivity is also interesting and an excellent observation. While I do believe that any given carrier is more motivated to advertise if they have the exclusive, I don’t believe a lack of exclusivity would shut down all marketing on a product, esp. a hot product. I’ve seen Cingular agressively market the RAZR long after their exclusivity ended on that product. Verizon marketed the RAZR once it came to their network, even though of course other carriers already had it. A company will market a hot product if they believe it will increase sales, regardless if the competition also carries that product. Every week I see Best Buy and Circuit City ads tout products that are sold at many other stores.
Also, if exclusivity is all that matters, then T-Mo should be marketing the heck out of the Pearl now, before Cingular gets it. They only have so long of a window.
We also know that in the RIM conference call on their quarterly results, they promised that a lot of marketing for the Pearl would be coming. I actually saw a web ad for the Pearl on a page on Yahoo the other day, and here’s a great story on a marketing campaign for the Pearl that hit Times Square:
So I do believe that it’s simply a case of RIM waiting until holiday season was closer, and after getting a chance to gauge reaction from their initial launch, and make any adjustments.
If t-mobile pushed the Blackberry Pearl as aggressively as they sell that piece of crap Sidekick 3 (I had one for 4 months before switching to the Pearl)… I’m sure it would be a huge success by now. I think I sell the Pearl better than T-Mo does