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The Big Picture: A Case Study of Blackberry

Introduction

Originally a tiny electronics consultant firm, Blackberry, was a critical stepping stone to smartphones’ current age. Blackberry is a symbol of how quickly high-tech fortunes can change. Slow to respond to the iPhone and Samsung, this once top innovator is rapidly losing market share and income. This company needs an appropriate pivot to meet future clients’ demands. Blackberry was a company that once had $11B/y in revenue (Muthukumar et al., 2017). They continue to contract services in the smartphone industry but remain resilient in the future.

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Analysis of Blackberry’s 5Cs

Company

Blackberry uses much money in Research and Development (R&D) across its various products. The company spends significantly on product innovation, design, marketing strategies, process optimization, and building an IT support network for promotion and distribution strategies. The financial position of Blackberry is strong, and the company can spend significantly on marketing and launching new products (Eisner et al., 2018). The company has a robust supply chain that can absorb the challenges of managing success. Blackberry has a firm brand name among clients, which can help in expanding to other segments.

Customers

The organization should go for a more extensive fragment or a profoundly beneficial specialty section dependent on the client portion examination. The promoting directors at Blackberry need to settle on customers’ most wanted highlights and how Blackberry can situate itself to convey those basic highlights. In addition, the department should also increase the customer purchase basket share with Blackberry recommending products (Eisner et al., 2018). The market size for Blackberry is expected to grow at a steady pace. The brand awareness among the target segment and the wider population is high. The company can leverage it to build its sub-brands for niche segments within the target market and adjacent segments.

Competition Factors

The critical marketing strategy would be to thwart Blackberry’s competitive pressures from established firms such as Apple, among other potential entrants. The company should make decisions regarding the positioning of the brand to target clients. In addition, it will be necessary to understand the marketing strategies of competitors. Based on the risk’s exposure framework, Blackberry should thoroughly analyze the demand risks and technology innovation risks (Muthukumar et al., 2017). Strategic positioning would be the most critical marketing decision for Blackberry managers to choose one that is different from competitors and relevant to clients. The intensity of rivalry is high, meaning that profitability is low, and hence Blackberry should spend higher resources on marketing. The product line depth is also high, necessitating Blackberry to spend too much on individual brands. Following the threat of new entrants, there is a need for Blackberry to strengthen its marketing efforts.

Collaborative Factors

The main question posed to Blackberry is on how it can localize based on local preferences. Decisions to localize the production would be one way to reduce the wide supply chain risk in the international market. With too many suppliers, it becomes expensive for Blackberry to manage them. Operating in global markets can expose the company to the theft of patents, intellectual property, and copyrights (Muthukumar et al., 2017). Marketing decisions taken should evaluate the risks associated with these tenets. If the collaborators have high bargaining power than Blackberry, it will not sustain higher margins.

Context Factors

Context analysis involves analyzing macro-environment factors, including political, economic, social, technological, environmental, and legal conditions in the Blackberry market. The two risks of exposure in context analysis will involve international risks, technology, and innovation. Over the last five years, there has been an increase in Geopolitical risks such as Brexit and the US-China trade wars, and the yellow vests movement in France (Baig et al., 2020). These geopolitical risks have minimized the entrance of Blackberry in the regions affected, further thwarting entrance moves.

Market Segment, Target, and Position of Blackberry

Blackberry provides a market segmentation based on psychographic, demographic, and geographic. In view of the psychographic division, the organization has isolated its clients into singular purchasers, corporate and government clients. Singular purchasers’ worth fundamental cell phone highlights, including a camera, music players, organizing, and other comparative highlights. Corporations and government, on the other hand, prefer customized software to those valued by individual customers. Financial services groups such as Street wall investment banks are Blackberry’s corporate clients (Big et al., 2019). Blackberry has demographic segmentation that is poised towards the age of buyers.

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Young customers aged between 18 and 24 who have low income will likely go for cheaper smartphones. Energetic shoppers between ages 25 and 44 have higher extra cash, and subsequently, they can bear the cost of expensive gadgets with more highlights and ability. In contrast, older consumers who are over 65 years or referred to as Baby boomers are likely to spend more on smartphones based on their level of education and disinterest in Information Technology (IT) (Bhasin & Levit, 2019). Blackberry focuses on high-end markets, including North America and Western Europe, while making efforts to enter other developing markets. Blackberry targets specific needs based on strategic locations on the global market.

Some of the company’s preferences include densely populated regions with the base market such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan, among other developed countries. Blackberry introduces new features and capabilities to mainly target youthful consumers to increase sales and profitability (Bhasin & Levit, 2019). The trends in the smartphone industry highlight potential growth capacities growing towards young adults. Most of them are usually highly educated, leading a high-end lifestyle. As a result, they look for devices capable of performing complex IT functions.

Recommendation

Based on Blackberry’s analysis, there is a need to find a sustainable solution to the slow market growth. As noted, the company was once at the top of the techno market. Still, it has been experiencing intense competition from giant companies in the tech field, including Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, among other companies in the tech sector. First, it will be essential to draw objectives to guide the marketing of its products.

Objectives

The following specific objectives shall guide this study:

  1. To increase market share in the smartphone market
  2. To put the company back to its authoritative position in the smartphone tech sector
  3. To examine the root cause of Blackberry’s decline in popularity
  4. To study the buying patterns of Blackberry products

To critically understand the company’s scenario and achieve the set objectives, it will be significant to use a marketing mix to capture all the tenets of the company’s product attributes. Such a marketing strategy would be the 4P’s marketing mix and guerrilla marketing. These marketing strategies would then induce the necessary recommendation for the company to pursue the said objectives.

4Ps Marketing Mix

The 4 Ps of a marketing plan comprises product, price, place, and promotion. These elements must be united to effectively foster and promote a brand’s unique value and help it stand in the stiff competition. Jerome McCarthy proposed the 4Ps marketing strategy in his 1960 book, “Basic Marketing: A Managerial Approach.” The elements have since then provided a standard approach for marketing programs over the last several decades. This section seeks to explore the 4P’s marketing strategy for Blackberry.

Product

Blackberry offers a wide variety of Blackberry playbooks, Blackberry messenger, Blackberry 10, QNX, and Blackberry enterprise server. Blackberry smartphones are, however, the most common product of the company. Their devices gained fame following the excellent e-mail on-the-go feature comprising of security that unmatched competitors. Some of the most popular smartphones include Blackberry Leap and Blackberry Classic. The company operates its smartphones under Blackberry 10 operating system (OS) (Baig et al., 2020). The company’s latest enterprise server is the Blackberry Enterprise server version 5, which offers and provides middleware software based on a wireless platform supplied by Blackberry Limited.

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Place

Blackberry positions its stores in strategic locations globally, including North America, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Indonesia, Mexico, and Thailand. In 2007, the company opened a store in Michigan, United States. The company operates its stores at airports in several areas, including United States, Atlanta, Newark, Boston, and Houston. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most of them have closed down following airline transport cessation. In 2015, the company invaded the German market and opened a store (Bhasin & Levit,2019). The company had attracted 85 million subscribers by 2013 when it was atop of smartphone tech. With the coming of ios and android platforms, the company lost most of its followers (Bhasin & Levit,2019). The company has less than 25 million followers globally.

Price

The pricing technique mattes a lot in the marketing of a product. While a premium pricing strategy can create loyalty among clients, a low pricing strategy can penetrate a market or for promotion. Blackberry smartphones became gained more demand following their e-mail access go feature. The company strategizes on enterprise sales and enabling corporate to thrust the brand among its employees. Blackberry products use a low pricing technique making its products affordable to middle-class professionals. The company realized that the premium pricing of its products had hampered fast growth. Later, the company strategically placed phones on every price ranging from Rs.4 to Rs. 200 with varied attributes to meet market demands, thereby cutting across broader segments (Bhasin & Levit,2019). Some products are even sold at a throwaway price in e-commerce across regions like India.

Promotion

The company is making attempts to recapture the lost ground that has been dominated by giant companies such as Apple and Huawei. The company is focusing on regaining its lost glory in the smartphone segment. The company is focusing on its external client based in different regions globally. In the business region, smartphones like Blackberry are perfect for communications as they have unique features like centralized messages, which blink with red light for notifications. The passport smartphone is targeting professionals across the healthcare sector (Bhasin & Levit,2019). Blackberry is leveraging excellent smartphone security features by branding them as perfect for industries such as banking, healthcare, or insurance services.

Guerilla Marketing

To drive the sales, the company should do a vigorous campaign based on Guerilla marketing. For instance, the Blackberry RIM has not gained adequate popularity over the years since it was launched. Guerilla marketing campaigns take consumers by surprise by making a bold and memorable statement. The guerilla marketing campaign will help regain its lost glory (Yuniarto et al., 2020). The movements should be focused on regions where there is intense competition to gain a competitive advantage. For instance, setting big screens in busy streets of the United States will take crowds by surprise. The company can also focus on the Asian markets and Africa since it has not effectively penetrated the markets.

Recommendation

From the analysis of the two marketing strategies, there are evident steps that the company needs to take. It will be important if the company ventures markets such as Africa and Asia, dominated by Chinese low-end phones. Since clients in such regions have lost a taste for ordinary phones in the market, Blackberry would be the suitable choice for many across the banking sector, insurance sector, and accounting sector (Eisner et al., 2018). The company should, however, set varied pricing strategies for geographic segmentation. For instance, in developed nations, it can engage premium pricing technique, while in developing countries, it can use promotional pricing strategy.

Conclusion

Blackberry Inc. has experienced stiff competition from giant tech industries following the innovation of Android and IOS platforms. The company targets clients across all age groups by designing products that match the needs of specific groups. For instance, it manufactures products to suit individuals, businesses, and organizations. The products are fitted with features that match the requirements of healthcare, insurance, and accounting services. The company segmentation is based on geographic, psychographic, and demographic factors.

References

Baig, M. W., Qamar, S., Fatima, T., Khan, A. M., & Ahmed, M. (2020). The impact of the marketing mix and customer value on customer loyalty. MPRA. Web.

Bhasin, H. (2019). Marketing mix of Blackberry – Blackberry marketing mix. Web.

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Eisner, A., Nazir, S., Korn, H., & Baugher, C. D. (2018). Blackberry limited: Is there a path to recovery? Global Journal of Business Pedagogy, 2(1), 12-30.

Muthukumar, R., Ramakrishnan, L., & Krishnamacharyulu, C. S. G. (2017). Turnaround of Blackberry. Journal of Management Cases,19(4), 40-72. Web.

Yuniarto, T., Adi, P. H., Setyanto, R. P., & Kaukab, M. E. (2020). Guerilla marketing in the Context of Industry 4. 0. Solid-State Technol, 63(6), 689-701.

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