ThoughtPiece: Why Do Carriers Botch New Product Releases?

Is it just me, or does it seem that every time a cell phone carrier releases a new device it comes off as something out of an old 3 Stooges movie?

There are the errors in execution. The release of a new product, especially a BlackBerry with a relatively high price point that will bring in the much coveted data revenue, should be a pretty big deal with any carrier. Yet company representatives are usually poorly informed about what should be a major business event and often different reps give out conflicting information to anxious consumers. Initial inventory to the stores often falls short of demand, and is unevenly distributed across the market footprint.

Then there are the errors in the plan of release itself. Take Verizon’s recent release of the BlackBerry 8830. Verizon had to make the release more complicated for consumers and actually have 2 separate release dates: one for corporate clients and one for consumers in the retail channels. The predictable happened: consumers wanted the unit at the earlier corporate release date and many came away frustrated and confused. Note to Verizon and all carriers: please keep it simple and make it one release date for all; you already make the world of cell phones too complicated as it is. If you want to give preference to your corporate clients, then just allocate enough units to that sales channel. Maybe allow your business reps to quietly offer the unit to preferred customers early before the formal launch if you want to make them feel special.

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