Vindicated: Sanjay Jha Admits Marketing Was Wrong For Xoom And Atrix

Posted on Jun 6 2011 - 2:31am by Kyle

I own a Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi, I bought it the day they came out. Why did I buy the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi, well because Andy Rubin carried it on stage at All Things Digital D: Mobile and as an Android enthusiast I wanted it. Did I make a bad decision, I don’t think so, it’s a little heavy but aside from that I use it every day, multiple times a day.

So fast forward to present day and we know that Motorola was underwhelmed by the success of the Motorola Xoom and the Motorola Xoom Wi-Fi at launch.  It was reported that they shipped (not sold) 250,000 or so of these devices. Though, it’s important to note that they expected to sell 800,000 Motorola Xooms in the 1st quarter of 2011, let’s say that again, it was reported (here in fact) that Motorola expected to sell 800,000 Motorola Xooms in the first quarter.

More after the break

Well what happened?

One of the things that I’ve been known for over the past three years is the way that I often times consider the average consumer, moreso than the evangelists, enthusiasts and developers out there.  Sometimes it comes off less than appealing to the enthusiast.  After all it’s the average consumer, not us, that’s going to make or break a device.

Well the marketing that’s what. Sure we as geeky tech enthusiasts think the 1984 style ads were cool, or the fact that you could go to any movie last August and see big gigantic robot men with Motorola Droid Xs, but back to the Xoom… All that dark sci-fi crap didn’t do one thing for the message of the device.  In fact I was at a Best Buy having a discussion with our local Best Buy Mobile manager Phil who told me that people actually came into Best Buy asking for the laptop that transformed into a tablet. Not just one either, multiple people have thought that the Xoom somehow folded out from laptop to tablet just from the commercial.

During his keynote at the Bank of America/Merill Lynch Technology event, Motorola Mobility CEO, Sanjay Jha said

“With Atrix and Xoom we can do a better job of communicating our message.  It’s not about spending more money but how to make the dollars go further.”

earlier in the address Jha also said one of the things they could work on is “Marketing and that we communicate our message and that our brand property is understood”

And when speaking about what Motorola needs to do to be successful Jha said “…Being able to market and communicate the story behind the devices right…”

You decide, does the multi million dollar Super Bowl commercial communicate their message right?

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  • http://twitter.com/TriadX1 TriadX1

    Maybe a good starting point would be to simply do something with in-store displays. At Best Buy, it was dumped in a little back corner on a display that looked like something for a $10 kid’s toy, with a couple of paper stand-ups.  I don’t condone copying anything from Apple, but I think they could learn a little about marketing from them.  Apple sell because of the marketing.  Maybe it is about time someone else figures this out.

  • Anonymous

    No the advertising sucked and the pricing sucked. Whenever the advertised it it was always about specs. Specs specs, specs. They NEVER actually said what the device DOES! Sure WE know what a 1 Ghz dual-core Snapdragon processor is but my parents don’t. What they should have done was taken more time explaining how a dual-core processor improves the customer’s experience using the device. How games look and function better, how web pages load faster, and, most importantly, how you can have multiple apps open and running without the tablet getting sluggish.

    Next up was visibility. I went to Best Buy and the XOOM was nowhere near the iPad or any of the other tablets. It was on the other side of the store, hidden within
    And lastly, the $800? That immediately made me turn my head

  • http://twitter.com/palfrei Peter Palfrei

    I don’t think advertising was the issue but trying to catch up with Apple. Motorola wasn’t original with this product. You could claim that this applies to Android for phones if compared to iOS but it is not the same thing because phones are necessary whereas tablets are luxury products. People with iPhones grabbed iPads because they knew the platform, relied on it and consider it a prime product however people with Android phones went after the iPad too for the  very same reasons and let’s face it, Android is not a prime OS: it is not fun, it is not pretty and we can’t control a flying quadcopter with it even though you may not care about the last, the average consumer does.

    Was pricing a problem? Yes, but only compared to the iPad because it is cheaper. Had it cost 800 USD too people would have bought it over the Xoom anyway because it is a prime a product from a prime company.

    I remember that 6 years ago everyone wanted BlackBerries because execs used them and in corporate worlds execs are cool and rule but they were one of the first to ditch BBs and promote the competition by embracing it even though it was not as secure but it didn’t matter, they looked cool and everyone wanted to be like them hence iOS success over BBOS.

    Motorola had already lost the battle even before it started nevertheless they decided to fight. There’s no vindication because consumers got damaged too as developers are less and less likely to invest their time and resources into coding for an unpopular tablet platform.

    I like Android because of its widgets but the lack of awesome programs and its weird software engineering is driving me away however, in the end, it was my fault for having chosen a platform developed by a search company instead of one developed by a software and hardware manufacturer like WebOS from HPalm for instance, which several claim to be even better than iOS.

    I know this is an Android site but this is my opinion and I am entitled have and express it, specially considering that I invested money on the Android platform like all of us here. Besides, we never know who may be reading and, perhaps, something good could come out from any of our comments.

  • http://twitter.com/terminal7 terminal seven

    never got any xoom adds here in the uk !! great marketing !!  - oh and no 3.1 update yet, great support !!

  • http://twitter.com/palfrei Peter Palfrei

    It seems that Motorola is so busy trying to catch up with Apple in the USA that they forgot they have customers in other countries, quite a lot of them actually.

  • http://indserial.com Ind Serial

    Motorola and other handset manufacturers have historically relied on the
    marketing talent (and cash) at wireless companies. They will not be so
    lucky with their tablet products.

    Apple’s marketing prowess has
    been honed by marketing not only computers, but also CE devices (hello
    iPod) for years. Marketing and retail are soft advantages that other
    tablet manufacturers are going to have a hard time matching. Your
    examples of Motorola’s early failures speak volumes to this challenge.