Magazine article Marketing

Tapping into Tablets

Magazine article Marketing

Tapping into Tablets

Article excerpt

How can competing brands tempt consumers away from the Apple iPad, asks Jennifer Whitehead.

With Samsung, BlackBerry, Lenovo and Acer among the electronics brands planning to take on Apple's iPad in the tablet market in the latter half of the year, experts are predicting a marketing war in the sector.

Products mooted for launch are Samsung's Galaxy Tab, BlackBerry's BlackPad and LePad from Lenovo. The imminent arrival of rival products has prompted Francisco Jeronimo, research manager for European consumer wireless and mobile communications at IDC, to predict that tablets will be the 'big hit of Christmas 2010'.

Apple sold more than 3m iPads in the three months after launch, proving that early adopters would, indeed, be eager to snap them up. However, rivals planning to enter the market will do so without the 'first mover' advantage. The question is, then, how to tackle Apple.

Brand recognition

In some respects, marketing directors facing this task must feel that the world is an unfair place. They need considerable savvy and deep pockets to gain brand recognition. For Apple, the mere hint of a product launch sparks enormous press coverage and results in legions of the its fans camping outside its stores to ensure they are among the first to get their hands on the latest gadget. For less sexy brands, things are less straightforward.

One approach is to take a leaf out of Microsoft's book and tackle Apple head on. The technology giant has run a series of high-profile campaigns for its PCs aimed at undermining Apple. Nonetheless it is a high-risk strategy, which has the potential to backfire. Apple did, in fact, respond to the ads with a successful 'Get a Mac' campaign.

Another brand that has attempted to take a bite out of Apple is Samsung, with its Galaxy S touchscreen smartphone. It looks similar to the iPhone 3G but runs on Google's Android platform, which many consider to be superior to iPhone's operating system.

There are plenty of apps available for the Samsung device and it has been positively reviewed. However, perception seems to be key - many consumers looking for a smartphone have to be given a reason for choosing a handset that isn't an iPhone.

So along with a big marketing spend and celebrity-heavy launch strategy, Samsung slipped in a couple of tactical ads taking a pop at the reported reception problems of the iPhone 4. …

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