Welcome!

Web 2.0 Authors: Dana Gardner, David H Deans, Cynthia Dunlop, Esmeralda Swartz, Jack Newton

Related Topics: Web 2.0, Wireless, SOA & WOA, CRM

Web 2.0: Article

Applying the Marketing Center of Excellence (MCOE)

A case for the MCOE: The HP TouchPad "Fail"

The HP TouchPad was launched July 1, 2011, and was discontinued August 18, 2011. The Marketing Center of Excellence (MCOE) may provide a framework for understanding (and preventing) the sorts of “black swan” marketing failure that HP experienced with its TouchPad launch. I think the key value provided by a MCOE for reducing the risk of a “black swan fail” is its enablement of a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to marketing at enterprise level.

Leslie Ament, SVP at Hypatia Research Group, asked a great question that points towards the complexity underlying the situation, and the potential value of a MCOE: “Is this a failure of 1) product features, 2) timing of launch, 3) targeting of market segment and/or 4) demand generation, branding, and execution of campaigns?” In the framework of a MCOE, the operator here would be an “and,” rather than an “or.”

Hypothesis: Events and Issues
These events may have lead to HP’s decision to discontinue the TouchPad:

A number of poor reviews. 
Per Sean Portnoy at ZDNet, “The bottom line was the TouchPad was released with several crucial flaws that led to mediocre reviews…" Mediocre would be an understatement; here’s a small sample:

Walt Mossberg wrote, “[The HP TouchPad] suffers from poor battery life, a paucity of apps and other deficits.”

Said David Pogue, “In this 1.0 incarnation, the TouchPad doesn’t come close to being as complete or mature as the iPad or the best Android tablets; you’d be shortchanging yourself by buying one right now…”

Matt Buchanan on Gizmodo opens his review, “I am so goddamned tired of the iPad. Which is why I was so excited for the TouchPad. And that's why I feel so completely crushed right now.”

And from Eliane Fiolet on Ubergizmo: “Overall, the results speak for themselves: the touchpad is the slowest tablet that we have tried in 2011. … The HP TouchPad did not stand up to expectations, so much that it died before getting a chance to be improved.”

Underwhelming consumer demand at launch compared to projections. 
The poor reviews may have contributed to the serious gap between potential customer interest and inventory forecasting. Best Buy sold “less than 10 percent of the units in inventory” according to the “OuchPad” article in All Things D. Other retailers reported similar issues with inventory, per International Business Times.

Reading through an aggregated analysis of the HP TouchPad fail on The Week, some high-level themes emerge:
Poor price-to-performance compared to a market leader. The most serious concerns noted in reviews were slow performance; at a $599 launch list price, people just didn’t choose the TouchPad over the iPad unless they were “A.B.A.” (However, when HP dropped the price to $99 to clear out inventory, retailers sold out.)

Channel issues. As reported by Matt Rosoff in Business Insider SAI, "Best Buy doesn't want all that unsold inventory taking up shelf space, and is asking HP to take them back. Todd Bradley or another HP exec is reportedly going to fly to Minneapolis to try and persuade Best Buy otherwise." While no other channel issues surfaced in my research, Best Buy can’t have been the only retailer pushing back.

Launch issues. HP had a daunting task—to cut through WebOS being lumped into Android “me-too-ness” while grabbing market share from Apple’s iPad. Rather than launch later, which would have put its new product in the run-up to the 2011 holiday shopping season, HP chose to launch on the July 4 weekend.

Despite the July 4th timing, Google Trends shows an incredibly steep climb in search volume for “HP TouchPad”; there was a lot of buzz and interest. Unfortunately, the climb quickly dropped off into a cliff that seems to represent an abrupt collapse in interest and demand.

Using the MCOE evolutionary model to respond to Leslie Ament’s question, what Marketing Communities of Practice would have been involved?
The issues noted by reviewers related to performance would be R&D and Product Management’s domain. The price-to-performance issues would be Product Marketing (possibly compounded by issues on margins and the cost of Bill of Materials involving Product Management). Channel issues would rest with Product Marketing. If there were problems caused by the timing of the launch or pre-sales Demand Generation/AR/PR, they are not reflected in the spike of interest shown by Google Trends. (It’s hard to say what the actual comparative search volumes were in Google - at this moment, “HP TouchPad” shows about 75-100 searches per day, and “Apple iPad” shows roughly 900 per day.)

If we make the assumption (and I know it’s a whopper) that a company like HP would at least be at Levels 2 to 3 on the MCOE Maturity Model across the horizontal domains of People, Processes, Technology, and Data, how could a failure of this magnitude occur?

Using the MCOE framework may help clarify where things broke down:

People. Even if each disciplinary area was focused on “best practices,” were there shared goals to drive and support cross-disciplinary work by the Communities of Practice? Were there breakdowns in communication like this one, but among disciplinary areas? How was conflict (for example, possible conflict between the Hardware team and the WebOS team) managed?

Processes. How were risks (for example, press/reviews) identified and weighted among and by the Communities of Practice? Was some form of cost/benefit analysis applied to risk, so executive management could be advised?

Technology. What inventory and sales forecasting systems were used, how accessible were they to the Communities of Practice, and could they provision for fast (near real-time) corrections?

Data. Were there issues with the data used in planning/reporting that affected accuracy?

In my opinion, the biggest risk to an organization from enterprise-scale marketing comes from silos that inhibit business agility and useful communication.The key value provided by a MCOE - not just for reducing the risk of a “black swan fail,” but also for enabling innovation, effectiveness, and efficiency—is its enablement of a holistic, cross-disciplinary approach to marketing in the enterprise.

More Stories By Lori Witzel

Lori Witzel has provided marketing leadership for software and technology services organizations. Her new approaches to strategy and execution, with a focus on demand generation and operational excellence across all marketing disciplines has created positive response, results and success.

By applying lessons learned from the business analysis and software engineering communities, marketing operational excellence can be transformed, yielding a faster Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI).

@ThingsExpo Stories
P2P RTC will impact the landscape of communications, shifting from traditional telephony style communications models to OTT (Over-The-Top) cloud assisted & PaaS (Platform as a Service) communication services. The P2P shift will impact many areas of our lives, from mobile communication, human interactive web services, RTC and telephony infrastructure, user federation, security and privacy implications, business costs, and scalability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robin Raymond, Chief Architect at Hookflash, will walk through the shifting landscape of traditional telephone and voice services ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Chief Architect for the Internet of Things and Intelligent Systems at Red Hat, described how to revolutioniz...
Bit6 today issued a challenge to the technology community implementing Web Real Time Communication (WebRTC). To leap beyond WebRTC’s significant limitations and fully leverage its underlying value to accelerate innovation, application developers need to consider the entire communications ecosystem.
The definition of IoT is not new, in fact it’s been around for over a decade. What has changed is the public's awareness that the technology we use on a daily basis has caught up on the vision of an always on, always connected world. If you look into the details of what comprises the IoT, you’ll see that it includes everything from cloud computing, Big Data analytics, “Things,” Web communication, applications, network, storage, etc. It is essentially including everything connected online from hardware to software, or as we like to say, it’s an Internet of many different things. The difference ...
Cloud Expo 2014 TV commercials will feature @ThingsExpo, which was launched in June, 2014 at New York City's Javits Center as the largest 'Internet of Things' event in the world.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
"There is a natural synchronization between the business models, the IoT is there to support ,” explained Brendan O'Brien, Co-founder and Chief Architect of Aria Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at the 15th International Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...

ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --  IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...

An entirely new security model is needed for the Internet of Things, or is it? Can we save some old and tested controls for this new and different environment? In his session at @ThingsExpo, New York's at the Javits Center, Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, reviewed hands-on lessons with IoT devices and reveal a new risk balance you might not expect. Davi Ottenheimer, EMC Senior Director of Trust, has more than nineteen years' experience managing global security operations and assessments, including a decade of leading incident response and digital forensics. He is co-author of t...
Technology is enabling a new approach to collecting and using data. This approach, commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" (IoT), enables businesses to use real-time data from all sorts of things including machines, devices and sensors to make better decisions, improve customer service, and lower the risk in the creation of new revenue opportunities. In his General Session at Internet of @ThingsExpo, Dave Wagstaff, Vice President and Chief Architect at BSQUARE Corporation, discuss the real benefits to focus on, how to understand the requirements of a successful solution, the flow of ...
The security devil is always in the details of the attack: the ones you've endured, the ones you prepare yourself to fend off, and the ones that, you fear, will catch you completely unaware and defenseless. The Internet of Things (IoT) is nothing if not an endless proliferation of details. It's the vision of a world in which continuous Internet connectivity and addressability is embedded into a growing range of human artifacts, into the natural world, and even into our smartphones, appliances, and physical persons. In the IoT vision, every new "thing" - sensor, actuator, data source, data con...
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Focused on this fast-growing market’s needs, Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation (Nasdaq: VTSS), a leading provider of IC solutions to advance "Ethernet Everywhere" in Carrier, Enterprise and Internet of Things (IoT) networks, introduced its IStaX™ software (VSC6815SDK), a robust protocol stack to simplify deployment and management of Industrial-IoT network applications such as Industrial Ethernet switching, surveillance, video distribution, LCD signage, intelligent sensors, and metering equipment. Leveraging technologies proven in the Carrier and Enterprise markets, IStaX is designed to work ac...
C-Labs LLC, a leading provider of remote and mobile access for the Internet of Things (IoT), announced the appointment of John Traynor to the position of chief operating officer. Previously a strategic advisor to the firm, Mr. Traynor will now oversee sales, marketing, finance, and operations. Mr. Traynor is based out of the C-Labs office in Redmond, Washington. He reports to Chris Muench, Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Traynor brings valuable business leadership and technology industry expertise to C-Labs. With over 30 years' experience in the high-tech sector, John Traynor has held numerous...
The 3rd International @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devices - computers, smartphones, tablets, and sensors - connected to the Internet by 2020. This number will continue to grow at a rapid pace for the next several decades.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Almost everyone sees the potential of Internet of Things but how can businesses truly unlock that potential. The key will be in the ability to discover business insight in the midst of an ocean of Big Data generated from billions of embedded devices via Systems of Discover. Businesses will also need to ensure that they can sustain that insight by leveraging the cloud for global reach, scale and elasticity.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
IoT is still a vague buzzword for many people. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Kavis, Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Partners, discussed the business value of IoT that goes far beyond the general public's perception that IoT is all about wearables and home consumer services. He also discussed how IoT is perceived by investors and how venture capitalist access this space. Other topics discussed were barriers to success, what is new, what is old, and what the future may hold. Mike Kavis is Vice President & Principal Cloud Architect at Cloud Technology Pa...