Mobile Manufacturing, Inc.
Michelle Dietrich, president of Mobile Manufacturing, Inc. (MM), stared out of her third-floor window at the traffic below her San Jose, California office and said to herself, “This new product has to be right. If we can’t gain back a significant share of the mobile phone market with this product, MM is not going to be here next year.”
Michelle’s company made its debut in the mobile phone industry in 2002 when it invented the first mobile phone that could access the Internet. At the time, this gave MM a huge advantage over its major rivals.
Mobile Manufacturing, Inc.’s first successful product and initial public offering (IPO) in 2003 raised enough capital to help the firm develop new products, but since then, the technology giants have caught up with them. Although MM had some success with other products, it has not been able to match its initial success and distinguish itself from its rivals. MM—though it was the darling of the technology world in the early 2000s—was struggling to attract first-class employees and new investors; it was floundering in the market.
After several failed attempts at new products, Michelle hired Elena Steokovich, the top cell phone designer and engineer in Europe, to help design a new product. Elena knew her stuff when it came to phone product design, and she had worked with Michelle on MM’s first product. After stints with big-name competitors, she agreed to return to MM to help Michelle restart the product innovation engine.
“I know that just designing a good phone will not be enough,” thought Michelle. “Perhaps the most important question is: How do I know if anyone will buy our phone? Certainly market research will help us identify potential customers so that we can target them effectively, and careful analysis of the research findings will lead us to a good marketing plan. Yes, the marketing plan is the key. I need to know that the next phone we develop will meet the needs and wants of those who crave the latest and greatest technology in their mobile phones.” MM needed to get back a market share if it was to survive in a fiercely competitive environment.
Michelle also knew the mobile phone and technology markets had changed drastically in other ways since MM first entered the market. There were new domestic and foreign companies competing, increased market demand driving prices down, and innovative products being introduced every year. Although some consumers were happy to try out the latest and greatest products, a large number of customers were suffering from feature fatigue, a term used to describe the tiring of the bells and whistles. The customers with feature fatigue just wanted to make phone calls to their family and their friends.
To help ensure that MM has the right marketing plan for its new mobile product, Michelle has hired you as her marketing consultant for this project. As the marketing consultant, you will be responsible for planning, organizing, and implementing the marketing plan for MM’s new product.
The board has called a meeting to see how the new product for MM is coming along. Michelle calls you about the meeting.
“I like your ideas for branding the product,” she says. “I think the board wants an overview now of the whole process we are using for developing the new product. Can you do that?”
“Thanks for the comments about the branding strategy,” you say. “I tried to be creative with my approach. I’d be glad to show the board the process we are using to develop the new product.”
“Great,” she says. “Why don’t you do what you did last time? The 10–15 slides that you presented worked well in the 30-minute time slot.”
“In the past I’ve done similar presentations and have a format that really works. The board has been very receptive to the flow of the information and I think it will work for us for this presentation too,” she adds. “I’ll instant message the information to you after our meeting. The flow might work for you also.”
“Great,” you respond. “I’ll get started on this first thing in the morning.”
When you get back to your office, the instant message from Michelle is on your screen. It reads:
These are the areas we need to cover in the presentation.
Concept development and testing
Marketing strategy development
Be sure to include the information from our discussions on branding as part of the marketing strategy development phase of the process.