ForbesOnTech — Segment-specific evangelism

ForbesOnTech: Bifurcating the Convertible PC World and Marketing– the New HP Way

“I’m waiting for other notebook makers to realize that the biggest potential buyers for their convertible computers are students and that students really want computers that can be used for academic and entertainment purposes. When that happens, watch out, because this category is going to really take off.”

Jim Forbes has been an advocate of evangelists focusing on specific segments — he’s a fan of the fact that HP has a tablet-advocate focused squarely on academia.  I agree, evangelism is a great way to gain market intelligence and feed it back into the organization as well as a focused way to get the message out.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “ForbesOnTech — Segment-specific evangelism”

  1. Didn’t Jim Forbes also at one time say “IBM will never stay with SNA” when every other PC2 editorial believer was swearing “SNA was IBM’s blueprint for the fture, along with token ring”
    I crack myself up sometmies.
    So many gophers, and so few really big firecrackers. What’s an agriculturalist to do?


  2. David,

    I think Jim makes several very good points. Though I do not think it is a question of HP or any other computer maker not recognizing who their biggest potential buyers are. I think the issue is communicating with that buying segment in places where they congregate both online and offline as well as talk to them in a way that will resonate with them. It is a question of marketing tactics that actually reach and have an impact with the audience that they are trying to connect with, it is truly engaging with your customer base. And specifically in the PC market today, there is no-one, in my humble opinion, who is truly reaching out and communicating effectively with their customers.

  3. Cord (enjoyed our discussion earlier this week)
    Jim and I have had several discussions of the old evangelism model — as pioneered by Guy Kawasaki at apple — as a precursor to today’s blog monitoring and social network participation by companies’ seeking customer insights. Getting a person out into the target markets, mixing it up, passing out cards, listening to advice and requests was, and still is, probably one of the more effective business intelligence tactics going.

    It surprises me the extent to which the PC industry, and indeed most industries, have not communicated with customers.

  4. David,

    I enjoyed our conversation as well and look forward to meeting you in person in the near future. I could not agree with you more how companies from across all industries do not communicate with their customers. And when they do, it is all just one way communication, they talk, but very rarely listen.. One of the most interesting areas that we have been focusing on with some of our clients is truly opening up a 2 way conversation between company and customer. I hope you are feeling better. Talk to you soon.

  5. A coupla things here:
    1. Guy was “An” evangelist, he wasn’t “the” or “the first” Mac evangelist. Guy was brought in by an Apple ebangelist manager–Mike Boitch- who went on to head Radius. What guy did that was important was proactivly listen and reinforce the buyer’s decision. To see him work an audience of authentic software copying pirates like the members of the berkley Macintosh User Group (BMUG) was a thing of beuty. HE could have been selling patent medicines. Other attempt by Guy at evangelizing havenm’t fared as well. the best example of this is the aplpe database software vendor ACIUS.
    What guy has been very good at it firing people up and convincing them that Elmer Gantry was a true believer.
    2. What HP is doing incredibly well, is evagelizing wityhin a subsegment. They make no apologies for what they are doing and they are gaining a lot of traction. What I admire about HP is its ability to seed hardware, offer educational grants, and attract other companies to the sgment.
    But wait, there’s more: HP has people at Educational IT and other types of conferences. Those people are actively involved in those meetings; and they are not just talking heads on a couch.
    Moreover,HP’s people are proactively listening, soliciting comments, making sure there is good follow-through and then appears to be disseminating that information throughout their organizations. the value of this feedback loop is inestimable, in my eyes.
    3. I have an interesting angle on this. I tried to do some of the same things at Demo where I used some of the procedures i learned as a partcipant on the Mobile Advisory Council.
    4. Evangelism is most of all a multi-path commnuications channel. If it used to whore a company or one single product, it’s bound to fail and can alienate an audience.
    5. Evanglism has to have the support of executive management ( which needs to be part of th feedback loop-one of the lessons of Apple Computer)

    Finally: I spent most of Thursday at a large law school here in Southern California, quietly watching how notebooks–not just tablets– were being used in and outside of the classroom. The three big takeaways frommy day in the field watching eaglets is that: Ad hoc workgroups pop up faster than gophers in my orchard; Information sharing and winnowing is incredibly common. i’ve never seen better or faster annotation of subject matter in my life– pulling information store locally or externally; usability and reliability are very important. the students get some knid of freaked if they sense even the slightest system degradation or performance slow down; look and feel may be in the process of being superceded by “touch,feel and see” in the convertible notebook segment. the “heft” of the electronic pen seems to be very important here.Also, digitizer resolution may become the next big thing–particularly for science and technical professionals;Communications options are criticak–the Mac PowerBook is slamed on many campuses because of its WiFI implementation and because of no-built-in modem.
    I’m waiting for better blog monitoring tools– a point Dave makes. i’d love to see what sundry communications intelligence intercept people think about this technology and what they are working on to winnow the stream.

    Night from my mountain top in rural Escondido

    Jim “Johnny convertible seed” Forbes
    Were I working for a convertible notebook maker today, I’d be seeding systems at Yale Law, Harvard law, and most med schools, as well as at agencies like the NIHY, UsGeodetic Survey, Army Corps of Engineers and sundry government agencies as well as state universities.

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