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A ‘Segway’ to Profits

Apple recently rolled out a new product line of table PCs named the iPad. In recent history, there hasn’t been a product that has sparked as much controversy as this product. It’s not offensive, it doesn’t break any laws, and it hasn’t been monopolized in the marketplace by Apple, at least not yet anyway. So what is the controversy? People haven’t recognized the need for this product. A company as massive as Apple wouldn’t produce such a product that wouldn’t sell, would they? So what is their plan? How will they succeed? These are the questions we are faced with in producing a marketing strategy for the Segway HT. The Segway HT is a lot more than just a cool, innovative invention. With the proper marketing strategy, it will become a staple mode of transportation in the 21st century. Our job as a marketing team is to show the world the unmet need that they have and how it can be addressed with the Segway HT.

A Disappointing Start
The initial projections of the Segway HT, which was recently introduced to the market, indicate that it has not hit sales targets. There are a number of factors contributing to the non-success of the Segway HT thus far. While it is impossible to address them all, we have narrowed it down to a few of the major reasons why we believe the projections have come up short.

Dean Kamen, whose company designed the Segway HT, has been one of the most prolific and successful inventors. At one point, if he had a hand in any invention, it usually turned to gold. His resume includes an electronic lighting show control, a drug infusion machine, a climate control system, a highly functional wheelchair, and much more. Most of his products were created and designed for institutional use. The Segway HT at its inception was designed for consumer use. Despite targeting a completely different market, the expectations for the consumer-focused Segway HT were that it would succeed just as his inventions for institutional use did. Below are some of the benefits the Segway HT offers: • Energy efficient

• Environmentally Friendly
• It rides on all terrains
• Cost of purchase and operation is much cheaper as compared to car – Segway HT costs $0.12 for 10 miles, as compared to about $1.35 for a car • Provides intermediate option between walking and driving • Takes less space and easier to use than any other human transport tool. It is more maneuverable than a bicycle in crowds • It allows you to be a little higher than the crowd for better visibility

With so many benefits, it would be hard to imagine lackluster projections. In addressing Rogers’ five factors we found that the marketing strategy for the Segway HT failed to address its complexity, observability, and trialability. The complexity of the product is a pressing issue- there has been much confusion about how difficult the product will be to use. Consumers are unaware of the advanced technology behind the product and how intuitive it would be. The ease of use feature is an important aspect of the product, and stressing how user-friendly it is will be one of the main selling points.

Another issue pertains to its observability to the viewing public. The price could steer consumers in another direction, thus affecting its sales. There is a very high correlation between the amount sold and the observability to the public. Bad sales projections will only lead to more dismay regarding observability. We believe that it is essential for a product as innovative as this to be viewed functioning, in public, before there is any chance of success. The observability leads into the issue of lack of trialability for the Segway HT. It is also necessary for the product be tried and measured by its end-users in order to succeed with any marketing strategy.

After creating a PESTNC summary table, found in Appendix A, three inhibitors presented themselves. First, the...
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