The first iPhone debuted in June 29, 2007 under great anticipation at a cost of $499. Apple was already coming off of a marketing and tech high with the success of the iPod. The iPhone went on to sell 6.1 million units in that year and widely expand the smartphone from the BlackBerry and the Sidekick.
Now mobile phones could do more than send texts, take calls and launch basic games. It also put multifunctional high tech in the hands of the average consumer, and not just the corporate elite and their roller ball Blackberries.
In September 23, 2008, the Android HTC Dream Smartphone debuted, offering formidable competition for the iPhone. In no time, camps arose with fanboys willing to dole out insults on Android and iPhone forums across the web. What’s most notable about smartphone market entry, much like the iPod, it was the device you never knew you needed. From the point of its inception, customers have not only maintained the devices, but run to buy the latest and greatest versions every 24 months.
It’s a great cycle for marketers, manufacturers and programmers who helped introduce the public to the concept of user-friendly Operating Systems. But in May of 2019, when trade became politically dicey, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, Huawei, ZTE and other Chinese tech companies became a target. The company was subsequently banned from the US market and in a stunning nongovernmental move, Google made plans to recind usage of its Android OS. This would leave millions of Huawei customers and the tech giant in a bind. The US further determined to restrict access to semiconductors and chipset reaching out to others nations to block Chinese companies from even acquiring semiconductor machines to manufacture their own.
In this wild dystopian scenario, international smartphone producers realized American tech access and cooperation was not guaranteed and could be quickly snatched away, leaving a company searching for alternatives. While quite an initial horror, the Huawei Affair, as we will call it in this report, serves also as a vivid illustration of the opening of a market-entry point.
The Nuns at the Abby used to say, “When God closes a door, He always opens a window.” And this is exactly what happens in international, local and regional markets. When a source becomes unresponsive, it opens an opportunity for a new source. The Huawei Affair launched China into its newest market–chipset and semiconductors. Infact, it also opened a huge door for a new smartphone OS market and the development of mobile tech that didn’t need a separate OS to function.
In this way, a completely new market has been created by the Huawei Affair, that the world never knew it needed. Could smartphones that do not need third party operating systems to function be the future (Technically, it already exists with Apple’s proprietary iPhone iOS)? Who will fill the innovation gap and sieze the gigantic market entry point created by the rift? Marketers can offer some key insights for the market and communicate that insight to R&D teams to create new product lines. A strategic marketing and communications consultant like myself can be hired to mine that insight in key ideation sessions and discovery meetings.
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The headless horseman of the one-directional marketing and sales teams that only take orders to market and sell, should of necessity communicate back to production what is missing in the market. Unlike R&D teams, marketers and sales teams are often in the field and on the cutting edge; able to having critical conversations with both customers and stakeholders. This means marketers can provide a valuable insight to your product line by offering points of improvement noted by customers and points of market entry for new products and services.
The C-Suite should be listening to marketing and sales teams, not just the industry. They should be finding out what people really want, to discover new markets for profit. Find out how the world is augmenting consumer needs and tastes. The sales and marketing teams are among your greatest assets. And a strategic marketing and communications consultant can help guide your teams to market gold.