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Tracking customer preference

It is very important for organizations to track their customer preferences, so that they can personalize their products to the preferences of the customers. Companies should know the likes and dislikes of customers to be able to anticipate their requests and provide for them accordingly. RIM has established a well organized system of customer care services, where customers can get any information and assistance they need.  The customer care services are spread all across the world, from United States, India, Asia Pacific, Brazil, Latin America, Africa and Middle East. Information remitted by the customers is used to anticipate their needs and those of the market. RIM also keeps on the toes to invent new and interesting products to maintain their customers' preferences. In addition, it carries out market surveys and researches to determine the needs of their clients and upgrade their products as per those needs.

Target market

Traditionally, blackberry was designed for business professionals, aged from 30-50 years. The phone is loaded with Microsoft office which allows business people to edit their documents from the handset. It also has wireless interconnectivity, which allows people to access internet, a feature which most suits business professionals. Blackberry also targets the high end consumers, who use the phone majorly for business and emailing. It is specially designed for people who have special attention to emailing and calendar features, due to the nature of their business. This fits the sonite market. In this market, people are knowledgeable of the new trends; they are professionals and high earners, so they will not have problems buying the phone despite the prices.

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The phone also aims to provide play features for the users, like games, and so people can now buy it not just for work but also for play. Blackberry also targets young people with a sense of style. It is fitted with a strong camera and a camcorder, which enables the young people to capture and keep their social crowd. It is also fitted with games and social network sites.  The company has recently launched software that comes with so many applications targeting or sorts of people in the vodite market. These are the people who will risk trying the new models or buying it because other people have bought it.

The 4ps of Business Integration

Product

The product is a blackberry mobile handset. It comes in a number of models.  It has a large number of applications, like games, Browsers. The different programs and features of the product like notebooks, to-do-list, calendars attracts business professionals, who depend on it to plan their time and work. The phone has websites that easily accessible, which explains why business people like the phone, sine they have to keep in constant communication. Moreover, one can be able to access emails and respond very fast like an SMS. The phone's keypad is largely and clearly displayed, making it easy for someone to see and type without difficulties. Most of the iphone has more than 40 applications, androids more than 25 but blackberry has 17 installed applications. This means that the users have access to very quality applications and they know what exactly they are looking for, this is the characteristic of the Sonite Market.

RIM is an internationally known brand that operates all around the world, in fact, RIM is one of the leading brands in smart phone market in most countries. The phone is designed to assist the users enjoy a variety of services. The phone has space enough to download games and play on the phone; it also has photo messaging where customers have options of sending and receiving photos. It also comes with the internet, which enables users to browse for horoscopes, music, movies and social sites (Koehn, 2001).

The phone also has other features which fit the target population, both in Sonite and Vonite markets. The phone is loaded with Microsoft office which allows business people to edit their documents from the handset. It also has wireless interconnectivity, which allows people to access internet, a feature which most suits business professionals. Recently, Blackberry targets the high end consumers, who use the phone majorly for business and emailing. It is specially designed for people who have special attention to emailing and calendar features.

People associate this phone with a stylish lifestyle. The features of the phone are an appealing factor to the young people who are conscious about style and fashion. It has the latest technology attachments like WAP, where users can access the internet and check mails, Tri-band which allows the phone to operate in three different networks. Due to this feature, the phone provides coverage on five different continents.  The phone also has interface connectors, which allows for advanced enhancements like stereo audio, digital identification and faster internet connectivity.

RIM also provides warranties of one year for the products bought from genuine operators. When a phone fails to function, the company provides free repairs through their agents and distributers to its customers to discourage them from shifting to other phone producers. The repairs are done free of charge, for as long as one provides proof of ownership and purchase from a genuine agents.

Price

The blackberry is meant for the high end market and business professionals. For this reason, the phone is highly priced, since these people are willing to pay much money for the quality applications of the phone. When it was first introduced in the market, there was no other smart phone, and it was therefore sold very expensively. It was a measure of prestige and class and people were willing to pay a lot of money for the phone.

Over the years, black berry is targeting other classes of people in the Vodite market. These include young people who want style and fashion. For this reason, blackberry is using penetrative price strategy so that the target market can afford to buy the phone. For instance the introduction of Blackberry 8520 in the mark has seen sales for RIM go up. This is because; the phone only goes for 140 pounds in UK. The phone is also sold at offer prices for certain durations of time in some mobile shop phones and telecommunications companies. This allows people to buy the phone at a lower price than the market prices of the phone.

The prices of the blackberry phones also depend on the model of the phone. Blackberry comes with so many models with each having a different price depending on the complexity, applications and model.

Promotions

RIM also uses different other strategies to sell its products. One of them is personal selling. In this case, RIM trains staffs in mobile phone shops on the features of the phone so that they can answers questions raised by the customers. The shops also hold demonstrations on how to use the phone. In addition, these shops have buyers guide that presents more details about the phone (Kotler, 2008).   

The other strategy RIM uses is public relations. RIM introduces promotional campaigns where users and retailers of the phone stand chances of winning presents and trips. The trick of this strategy is that no one can win without making a purchase; this improves the sales for the company. Advertisements through radios and magazines accompany the promotional strategies to make products more popular.

In addition to the above promotional strategies, RIM carries out direct marketing through the internet; people can be able to purchase the phone through their website. Through this strategy, people can download more information with regard to the features and usage of the phone.

The phone also works with different companies, which assist the company to market blackberry. An example is Microsoft office. Most people go for blackberry because of the integrated Microsoft office, which enables them to do most of their work on the phone. It is also planning to integrate Bing into the phone to enable people such the internet more easily and faster.

Place

Users can order Blackberry on the internet. It is available for purchase on RIM website. This option is much applicable and desirable to the target market of this phone, since they can view all the colours of the phone and choose their favorite ones. It also allows them to view other products like games and downloading software.

The phone is also available in several companies such as dial a phone and phones 4 U. these companies sell the phone at a cheaper price relative to other retail shops. One can also purchase the phone in retail shops such as CarPhone Warehouse. These companies buy the phones from RIM and then sell them to interested users. RIM is also using big supermarkets such as Tesco to sell the phones. This means that users have a wide range of places where they can get the phone (Viardot, 2004).

The phone is also available in the leading telecommunications companies, in the world, where business people and other clients can get it. An example is Safaricom shops in Kenya, where the phone is sold.  

In determining the distribution channel to use, RIM considers several factors. First, it’s the characteristics of the phone. Blackberry has several features that people have queries about. This prompts the company to use the internet to distribute the product, as people make orders for the phone; they are able to download extra information on the features of the phone (Holbrook, 1999).

Secondly, the company considers distributors characteristic.  When people are buying technical items like phones, they prefer buying them from places they know. In this case, RIM uses mobile phone shops where people can get answers to all queries. Staffs are usually trained on all the features of the phone.

The other factor is the target market characteristics. Blackberry targeted for business professionals and young people, both in Sonite and Vodite markets. The young people are known spending so much time on the internet. The business professionals, on the other hand, do not have the time to go shops to look for phones. They prefer doing it online while still doing their work. In this case, RIM prefers to distribute their products on the internet, where more young people and business professionals are likely to make orders for the phone (Kotler & Armstrong, 2008).

Market position

Blackberry has enjoyed a wide market share for a long time. In 2009, the phone had over 40% of market share with most people choosing blackberry as their smart phone. However, in the recent past, it is facing so much competition from iphone and Android. In the recent past, android is increasing attaining more customers, while blackberry is not attracting new customers at the same rate. However, the phone still remains the preferred phone among the business professionals.

Recommendations

One of the ways in which the strategies can be more successful is establishing new distribution channels. The company should identify more online phone shops through which people can purchase phones. In addition, the shops should be well distributed around the world so that people from different countries can be able to access the phone. Moreover, the company should consider introducing special rates for the phones bought at these shops. This is because, this is one of the most effective promotion methods and more people buy from them.

The other recommendation is for the company to keep upgrading the models already existing. For instance, RIM should incorporate more applications to the existing 17, but at the same time ensuring that they maintain quality applications that fit the target market. This is because The phone is facing stiff competition from companies like iphones (Gummesson, 2002).

The other recommendation is for the company to find new markets and expand their target group. The company should consider introducing the phone in Africa and Asia to increase sales. These are markets that have not been fully exploited, and the company can make great gains by venturing into these markets.

The other recommendation is that the company should introduce enhancements for the phone and other products. It is a fact that not everyone will be able to change their phones for new ones, every time a new phone hits the market. The company should introduce enhancements that will enable a user to upgrade the phone, through accessories like phone covers where users can change the look of the phone.

Code: Sample20

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