Posted by Wes Fu ● Thu, Jul 05, 2012 @ 11:15 AM

A Bigger Slice Please? Tablets, Synergy, & Customer Anthropology

Google has been a huge player in the market for many years and has made it clear they want a bigger slice of the pie.  The question is... How will they get it? What is the strategic plan?  How can they ensure success?  Google is heading in a new direction, shifting gears into hardware products and daring into the tablet market, a market already dominated by products such as the iPad and Kindle Fire.  Google needs to begin thinking about how they are going to position their tablet, what role their tablet plays in the rest of Google’s offerings, and its impact on Google’s future.Customer Antropology Ethnographic

Let us start by taking a closer look at their product, the new Nexus 7.  The Nexus 7 is offered at a relatively low price, very comparable with the Amazon Kindle Fire.  Their software is updated to the new Android 4.1 Jellybean, but its features are fairly similar to the other tablets.  The Nexus 7 also comes with a seven inch screen, which is the same screen size as the Kindle Fire smaller than the iPad, yet the iPad is still in control.  Google’s abundance of similarity to its competitors makes it difficult for their customer’s to see a clear cut path to putting in their dollar vote, maybe something that Google can change.

Although their positioning is less apparent, Google’s new approach does cater to the public and Google’s core businesses.  The Nexus 7 project will encourage the usage of Google’s web search, mapping, and its cloud email and document tools, as users of their tablet will have easy access to these integrated platforms.  Google’s tap into its synergies makes the Google experience more advanced and will assist Google in grabbing a part of the market and keeping it, playing a critical role in Google’s success.  

As these new changes unfold, so will Google’s future, a topic which may need to be revisited many times.  This is the time where Google needs to figure out where they are at, how long will their tablet be live in the market, will this be Google taking their biggest hit or will they knock the competition down, and how this will ultimately accelerate their core business.  In Google’s journey to the minds of their customers, they will need dissect and process data to figure out where the customer wants and needs lie.

Google will now have to think about who their new customers are, because their internet search, email/docs, and mapping service users are very different than the tablet users. One way for Google to understand the fundamentals of customer consumption around the device would be to conduct ethnographic market research studies, observing customer behaviors relative to the device in the context of their natural habitats and daily lives. (For more information on methodology see Customer Anthropology Lab) Studies such as secret shopping and focus groups could also help identify gaps in the marketplace that Google can fill.

Google has been a reputable company for years, but tablet success doesn’t come easy.  Their positioning must be strong and clear, their knowledge for their customer must grow and they will need to take a deeper look into the company’s future.  They will need to step up to plate and overcome these obstacles and think about how this will affect them.  We believe that although Google isn’t at the front of the race, they have what it takes to win.  What do you think?  Please leave your comments below.

Topics: Customer Insights, Voice of the Customer, Competitive Intelligence, Enthrographic Studies, Positioning, Secret Shopping, Customer Anthroplogy, Marketing Strategy

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