Friday, 30 March 2012

Blackberry says goodbye to consumers and welcome back to businesses

Blackberry’s manufacturer Research in Motion Ltd (RIM) made $125million loss in the first quarter of 2012 as consumers abandon Blackberry in favour of Apple’s iPhone and smart phones running Google’s Android system. Following the loss media reports have been suggesting that RIM will leave the consumer market and refocus on the business market. RIM however are refuting such claims, RIM’S Patrick Spence managing director of global sales and regional marketing has asserted  “Whilst we announced plans to re-focus our efforts on our core strengths, and on our enterprise customer base, we were very explicit that we will continue to build on our strengths to go after targeted consumer segments".
Whether Blackberry will abandon the consumer market completely or scale back its involvement, a change in segmentation strategy seems imminent. RIM’s CEO Thorsten Heins said “We plan to refocus on the enterprise business and capitalise on our leading position in this segment”..…”We believe that BlackBerry cannot succeed if we tried to be everybody's darling and all things to all people” . As Heins acknowledges, it’s not possible to sell your product to everyone. Firms need to decide who they will like to aim their products at. This involves dividing the market into segments based on what the firm feels is appropriate for example age, gender, social class, consumers, businesses, professionals, 

Whilst RIM is reassessing its segmentation strategy, Nokia is preparing to crack the US market on the 8th of April with the launch of its Lumia 900 handset. As Nokia's Lumia range uses a Windows operating system, it brings even more competition into the smart phone market. Undeniably people like smart phones, who is going to get a large slice of this lucrative market? And who is going to be left with the crumbs?

Friday, 16 March 2012

No money transfers in and out of Iran - How does this affect International Marketing?

SWIFT the organisation in charge of transferring money between banks in different countries, has announced that from Saturday 17 March it will not be making money transfers to and from banks in Iran. SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) said that the ban reflects international sanctions imposed on Iran. As the majority of international bank transfers are undertaken by SWIFT this is going to make business difficult for anybody (outside Iran) who wants to sell to or buy from companies based in Iran. This is because payment for goods would normally be through an interbank transfer. How does this affect international marketing?

The answer depends on who is involved and what is being traded. For example many countries have said that in line with UN sanctions they will not buy oil from Iran. China and India still want to buy oil from Iran and as Iran is willing to accept payment in gold, they may be able to do so. Although countries may be able to transact in gold, payment in gold is not a practical solution for businesses, especially if they are based outside Iran.

SWIFT's ban demonstrates the importance of carrying out a full PEST analysis ( before starting international marketing activities. The international marketing environment needs to be carefully examined to minimse wasted resources.Obviously not all events can be predicted but if you can deal with the ones you are aware of you'll have a good start.