Lenovo Must Dodge the Usual Marketing Missteps

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2011-07-21 Print this article Print

5. Enterprise, enterprise, enterprise

The corporate world has largely been left out of the discussion on tablets. Save for the RIM BlackBerry PlayBook and the Cisco Cius, today's tablets are designed with consumers in mind. But as a trusted enterprise PC maker, Lenovo has the unique opportunity to capitalize on the business space with its ThinkPad. If it does a good job at it, the company might be able to cement its position at the top of the enterprise market. For Lenovo, promoting its ThinkPad tablet to the enterprise might be its most important strategy decision.

6. Slim them down

One of the biggest issues with Lenovo's tablets is their size. According to the company, its K1 tablet is 0.5 inches thick and weighs about 1.7 pounds. The company's ThinkPad starts at 1.65 pounds. That's not a good thing. Apple's iPad, for example, comes in at just 0.34 inches thick and weighs 1.33 pounds. Lenovo's devices simply seem bulky and overweight-two features consumers and enterprise users don't like. Although the device designs are final, Lenovo needs to make a solid case for why customers should buy its bulkier options.

7. The digitizer pen is a home run

Lost amid the discussion on Lenovo's tablets has been the company's decision to offer an optional digitizer pen with the ThinkPad. The pen offers far more functionality for enterprise users that don't want to rely so heavily upon their fingers to get work done. For consumers, a digitizer pen might actually be a liability. But for the corporate world, it's an advantage. Lenovo should rely upon that advantage as much as possible as it starts promoting its devices.

8. Market them effectively

One of the biggest issues in the Android tablet market has been the general inability by vendors to promote their products effectively. Commercials promoting tablets haven't compelled customers to buy a device, online ads have been oddly devised, and the companies seemingly don't know who they're targeting and why. Lenovo simply can't fall into that trap. If the company's tablets become successful, it will be because the firm knows how to properly market its products.

9. Focus on the extras

One of the nice things about Lenovo's tablets is that they're chock full of extras. The ThinkPad tablet, for example, includes an SD card slot, microUSB and USB 2.0 ports, and mini-HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) output. The K1 has a MicroSD card reader and a mini HDMI connector, as well. Those are nice additions to have, and they are conspicuously missing from competing devices. Lenovo needs to place those extras at center stage.

10. Target the Apple haters

It's a rather odd thing in the tablet space, but so far, no company has been willing to directly target Apple haters in the consumer market. In fact, most firms are trying to appeal to all consumers. The only problem is, Apple is selling boatloads of iPads, and even people that don't swear allegiance to the company are buying its tablets. However, there are still millions around the globe that can't stand Apple and the very thought of buying its tablets sickens them. That's the market Lenovo should capitalize on. After all, in that space, the company doesn't need to compete against the most dangerous alternative in the industry.

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Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.

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