ThoughtPiece: Why Do Carriers Botch New Product Releases?

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Finally, with BlackBerrys there are the marketing errors, or rather, what seems like the lack of enough aggressive marketing to consumers. When the Pearl was released, many, including information source extraordinaire, Boy Genius, remarked on the lack of adequate marketing. Consider the release of the 8300 “Curve” series; most who’ve seen the unit are pronouncing it to be the best BlackBerry to date. Yet the coolest BlackBerry yet is being released with very little fanfare. Why? Apparently RIM believes the phone is good enough to sell itself, and there is some validity to that theory. I can’t help but feel, though, that opportunities are being lost due to a lack of marketing support.

Now for a little perspective. Any rollout of a new product is a complex, large scale endeavor; it’s easy to criticize. We technophiles who read websites like this one pay far more attention to new product launches than the average consumer and so notice errors more readily. In short, we’re a hard group to please.

It really sucks, for the record. The other day I noticed a new flavor of Coke at the grocery store. I didn’t even know it was coming out, I wasn’t asking store personnel about it before it hit the shelves, and I don’t know if it got to all stores at the same time in ample quantities. My only reaction was, wow, that seems pretty cool; let me try that new flavor. I’m willing to bet that most cell phone consumers approach the device market in the same way.

So on the one hand, carriers make all types of errors in product releases and can do better. Carriers make a lot of money on smartphones like the BlackBerry and should make every effort to capitalize on product launches with a smooth rollout. But I’m not a one handed columnist; the situation also is not that bad. Even stumbling and bumbling along the way, carriers and vendors manage to deliver some amazing products to the market, even if we do have to wait a few extra days or weeks to get what we want. Now if AT&T can only get us that 8300 by Memorial Day weekend…