Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Evolution of a Sample Marketing Plan: Sonic

When I wrote the first edition of my Marketing Plan Handbook for Prentice Hall back in 2003, I created a sample marketing plan focused on the fictional product "Sonic Personal Digital Assistant."

At the time, PDAs were hot, and it was fun to create a plan for a new product to compete with Palm, Handspring, and other handheld digital assistants that were taking the market by storm. I used actual market statistics as background for the sample plan, learning (among other things) that growth in wireless-enabled PDAs was far outstripping growth in non-wireless PDAs. Clearly, wireless was the future.

PDAs didn't double as phones in those days, and few were GPS-enabled. So as the upgrade to my fictional product, the Sonic PDA, I planned a cell phone/GPS/PDA with a color display and commands via voice recognition system. Also I added built-in MP3 play/storage functionality, a wardrobe of colorful cases for the fashion-savvy, and celebrity voices serving as the voice of the Sonic. In later editions, I dropped the PDA part and focused the sample marketing plan on a smart phone with so many bells and whistles that it could be a one-man band.

As I look ahead to the sample marketing plan for my 5th edition, that future has become reality: the iPhone's Siri is a mainstream voice command system, even more sophisticated than the one I had envisioned years ago. Phones are routinely multifunction, with way more features and options that the fully-loaded PDA model I thought up 8 years ago. Virtual keyboards, which I included in my sample plan for a Sonic smart phone, are now widely available. I included streaming video and video recording capabilities in a later marketing plan, and now those are also readily available in the real world.

So goodbye, Sonic Superphone, it's been fun but you're so yesterday. I'll be creating an entirely new marketing plan for a new fictional product. Watch for it in the 5th edition.

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