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  1. #1
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    Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    Good marketing research can show what product will sell well in the marketplace. But the reality of marketing is that if you don't put your product where it can be seen and purchased, then all the research in the world won't help you.
    I believe that Olympus has finally shown us the direction that they are heading with their cameras. They have abandoned the entry market for "full sized" four-thirds and are leaving that segment with the "pro" option only. The "Pen" series is to be the "feeder" to the new OM-D series. While I believe that Oly is probably correct in the direction that their marketing research has indicated that they should follow, Olympus will never be the force that they could be if they can't get their entry level cameras into the entry level marketplace.
    To give an example, actually two, of their failure in this area i will use my daughter and her best friend. My daughter Amanda (I didn't know that she and her husband had been looking for a "decent" camera) and her husband, Scott, purchased a Canon Rebel. And her best friend purchased a Sony.
    The rational for these purchases was very simple. They were offered for good prices at Cosco and another "big box" store.
    If Olympus can't get their entry level cameras into the major retailers and big box stores , then they are missing a HUGE segment of buyers.
    The typical entry level buyer of a "good" camera is not likely to go to a "camera store", not even the large online stores like Adorama and B&H. They also are more likely to read reviews in magazines like "Consumer Reports" than "Popualr Photography".
    Walmart used to offer Olympus DSLRs in the E-xxx range but as Oly began to phase them out, they disappeared from the shelves. Actually I don't even see any P/S Olys in Walmart anymore.
    Having an outstanding product is NOT good enough if it isn't out there where the general public can see it.
    Sorry for the rant, but I have believed for a long time that Olympus's biggest problem is not in their cameras but that few people actually know how great their cameras are, and can only see them in limited locations.

    Jeff
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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    I am also concerned about the lack of marketing by Olympus. I usually walk by the camera section in any store I visit to see what is getting the floor space. Olympus point and shoot as well as DSLR cameras used to be present in the big box stores (Walmart, Best Buy, Circuit City, etc.) and the local chain and independent camera stores. These days, I rarely see an Olympus point and shoot, much less a Pen or DSLR, in any of the big boxes or chain camera stores. There is only one independent camera store in our area that carries very much Olympus gear at all.

    Unless there is a big change in Olympus's sales and marketing, I think it will be a real challenge for me to see an E-M5 in person. Not trying to be a troll or negative, I'm just a concerned Olympus enthusiast with a good bit of four thirds gear.
    Dan Lang

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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    There is an old saying in real estate that relates to business... "Location, location, location!" Meaning that you can have the greatest idea ever for a business, but if nobody can find you then you won't be successful. And the ideal situation would be if people can find you when they aren't even looking for you. This is a very important point that I believe Oympus has been neglecting for a VERY long time.

    Jeff
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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by Ians Tata View Post
    There is an old saying in real estate that relates to business... "Location, location, location!" Meaning that you can have the greatest idea ever for a business, but if nobody can find you then you won't be successful. And the ideal situation would be if people can find you when they aren't even looking for you. This is a very important point that I believe Oympus has been neglecting for a VERY long time.

    Jeff
    The Olympus Pen series is displayed and sold in Best Buy, but it does not get the prominence of Canon and Nikon. The late Circuit City stores did sell it rather prominently, but we all know what happened to them.

    An important factor is how much the stores get for product placement (i.e., how much of a discount the retailers get or outright payments from the manufacturer). Has anyone seen how much Canon/Nikon/Sony pays for these?

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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    This does seem to be a problem outside of Japan as Olympus is currently the compact system camera leader there.

    Also, Panasonic finds it extremely difficult to find success in the USA. This used to be the case in the UK, but they are now doing very well here, where a small number of big retailers dominate the market.

    Sadly, these retailers in the UK tend to stock and promote things they want to sell us rather than what is best for the customer!

    Ian
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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    This does seem to be a problem outside of Japan as Olympus is currently the compact system camera leader there.

    Also, Panasonic finds it extremely difficult to find success in the USA. This used to be the case in the UK, but they are now doing very well here, where a small number of big retailers dominate the market.

    Sadly, these retailers in the UK tend to stock and promote things they want to sell us rather than what is best for the customer!

    Ian
    One of the issues with Panasonic in the U.S. is keeping their cameras in stock :-)

    I noticed that the OM-D E-M5 was ranked #2 in popularity on Amazon earlier on Saturday in cameras.

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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    I agree about the marketing; I can't get my head around the constant change in the Pen line-up and how this is good for existing users. As Ian states Olympus are the leading brand in some domains, but in others they are almost extinct. They have also let many users down in the past with the OM brand. Now it could be the 4/3 user if the DSLR or equivalent does not allow the use of existing 4/3 lenses. I for one don't want to have to use an adapter on expensive SHG lenses to make use of a new Olympus camera body.

    Taking a leaf out of Leicas' marketing strategy, they keep the quality high, price high and exclusivity high; I imagine they are profitable. Olympus are somewhat similar, but don't have the 'want' factor that Leica do. For me they are alienating some existing users with their current direction.

    I'm luck I can and do run several systems now and will continue for a while. I'm looking forward to the OM-D and seeing it's capabilities, I'm more interested in the models that follow though. If Olympus run the same strategy with the OM-D as they have with the Pen then there will be several new models and improvements of the OM-D in the next 18 months.

    Paul

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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by WPJ View Post
    I agree about the marketing; I can't get my head around the constant change in the Pen line-up and how this is good for existing users. As Ian states Olympus are the leading brand in some domains, but in others they are almost extinct. They have also let many users down in the past with the OM brand. Now it could be the 4/3 user if the DSLR or equivalent does not allow the use of existing 4/3 lenses. I for one don't want to have to use an adapter on expensive SHG lenses to make use of a new Olympus camera body.

    Taking a leaf out of Leicas' marketing strategy, they keep the quality high, price high and exclusivity high; I imagine they are profitable. Olympus are somewhat similar, but don't have the 'want' factor that Leica do. For me they are alienating some existing users with their current direction.

    I'm luck I can and do run several systems now and will continue for a while. I'm looking forward to the OM-D and seeing it's capabilities, I'm more interested in the models that follow though. If Olympus run the same strategy with the OM-D as they have with the Pen then there will be several new models and improvements of the OM-D in the next 18 months.

    Paul
    Well, Olympus has already provided the MMF-1 adapter (replaced by the MMF-2) for using the 4/3 lenses from the introduction of the Pen cameras. I have one and it works fine given the speed hit from the difference in focusing software techniques between the 4/3 and m4/3 camera lines. They are also providing a MMF-3 weather-sealed version with the new OM-D line.

    Panasonic also provides a 4/3 to m4/3 adapter which often is slightly less expensive than the MMF-2.

    Both Olympus and Panasonic have introduced many new models of their m4/3 cameras as this market is competitive and rapidly evolving (plus there have been many other mirrorless camera lines introduced following the m4/3 lead). The competition and rapid technological advances in the field make it rather different from the gradual evolution of cameras in the 35mm SLR days.

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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    Quote Originally Posted by WPJ View Post
    I agree about the marketing; I can't get my head around the constant change in the Pen line-up and how this is good for existing users. As Ian states Olympus are the leading brand in some domains, but in others they are almost extinct. They have also let many users down in the past with the OM brand. Now it could be the 4/3 user if the DSLR or equivalent does not allow the use of existing 4/3 lenses. I for one don't want to have to use an adapter on expensive SHG lenses to make use of a new Olympus camera body.

    Taking a leaf out of Leicas' marketing strategy, they keep the quality high, price high and exclusivity high; I imagine they are profitable. Olympus are somewhat similar, but don't have the 'want' factor that Leica do. For me they are alienating some existing users with their current direction.

    I'm luck I can and do run several systems now and will continue for a while. I'm looking forward to the OM-D and seeing it's capabilities, I'm more interested in the models that follow though. If Olympus run the same strategy with the OM-D as they have with the Pen then there will be several new models and improvements of the OM-D in the next 18 months.

    Paul
    Leica's business model is completely different. They rely on tiny quantities sold at very very high prices to a very select clientel. Leica sells just a few thousand M-series rangefinder camera and lenses a year. They sell many more re-badged Panasonic Lumix cameras but the numbers remain very small, probably only tens of thousands, possibly low 100,000s per year. Olympus is a medium sized global player selling millions of cameras a year.

    It's a chicken and egg situation to some extent. The success of the brand is the responsibility of the local country agent as well as the parent company and of course the products it makes. Some of these agents are wholly-owned subsidiaries of Olympus, but many aren't. How much you can spend on marketing is dependent on how much money a) the company is earning and b) how much it expects it can earn. Many marketing campaigns (not necessarily only Olympus) fail to meet expectations.

    The other problem is the sales channel - here in the UK the channel is not very competitive. There are some small independent players and a smaller number of very big players. I personally feel that the bigger players like Dixons (Currys/PCworld/Pixmania), Comet and Argos perennially fail to stock the right mix of product, preferring to offer what they have negotiated the best deal on for themselves. It's probably similar in other countries although my experience of similar retailers in the US is much more positive.

    Interestingly, Samsung spends little on marketing its NX range here in the UK and this is reflected in its sales figures. Olympus UK spend goes up and down - Hollywood star actor Kevin Spacey was hired to launch the Pen in the UK, for example. Sony, Panasonic, Nikon, Canon and Samsung spend the most on marketing digital cameras in the UK (though Samsung spends relatively little on the NX, as previously mentioned).

    In the past Olympus has been a big spender - especially in the heyday of the OM system. Let's hope that success breeds success so marketing can be strengthened.

    Ian
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    Re: Oly Marketing... Research and Reality

    they have made couple of nice web pages and the latest is http://olympusomd.com but if there are no ads on other sites that would direct users there then it's a waste of money
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