The Windows Phone 7… yeah I know… I forgot about it to… that was until I started reading Seeing What’s Next by Clayton M. Christensen. The book explores how understanding innovation can help people predict the future. Well, it might not help predict the right lottery numbers, but it can help predict how to determine if a product or service will be successful. Oh, I almost forgot again, back to the Windows Phone 7 (WP7). While reading Christensen, I was finally able to understand Microsoft’s somewhat odd marketing campaign for WP7. Their “Really” campaign finally started to make sense.
Christensen identifies three main signals of change for a potential customer group. There are Nonconsumers who are “not consuming any product or consuming only in inconvenient settings”, Undershot customers “who consume a product but are frustrated with its limitations”, and Overshot customers that “stop paying for further improvements in performance that historically had merited attractive price premiums” (Christensen, 5). Microsoft could have pulled a Steve Jobs and tried to target the Undershot customers by adding extra features, but instead they targeted the Nonconsumers and Overshot Customers.
At an adoption rate of only 31% in the United States, Microsoft had the potential to reach a large group of smart phone Nonconsumers.
They tried to reach this new market the “Really” campaign. They targeted an audience that was fed up with their friends, family, or others around them who were addicted to their smart phone (surfing the web while using a urinal does take a certain type of dedication… don’t worry, it’s from the campaign, I haven’t done it). Microsoft anticipated that the Nonconsumers were worried that by buying a smart phone that they could become one of the many people addicted to their phone as well, so they invented a “phone to save us from our phones”.
In addition to the Nonconsumers, Microsoft has been able to target the Overshot customers who don’t care about new features that may come with an iPhone or Android device. Their targets are people that just want to check their email, and want giant buttons to do it.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, even though the Nonconsumers and Overshot customers seemed like good target markets, they haven’t been successful. For example, as of January 2011, Microsoft had sold a total of 1.5 million WP7’s. In comparison there are over 300,000 Android devices activated daily.
There are many possible reasons that the WP7 has been unsuccessful, but there is one that may explain why people were not actually receptive to the “Really” campaign. People may complain about their friends or family using their smart phones too much, but when it comes down to it, they want to stay just as connected as everyone else. Microsoft will have a very tough battle ahead to rebrand theWP7 (but at least it’s not the Kin). Even though targeting these customer groups seemed like a good idea, their audience was not receptive. Hopefully Microsoft can rebrand the WP7 before everyone else forgets about it as well.