Sunday, August 22, 2010

Marketing to Big Boys and Little Boys: Bakugan, Porsche and Alienware

Here's a typical conversation between me and my son:

Simon: Dad, I need to buy a new Bakugan.  There's a new guy out who is the most powerful.

Marc: Simon, last month you spent your allowance on what you said was the most powerful Bakugan card, that also happened to be very expensive.  Don't you see what they're doing?  It costs them very little, almost nothing, to produce a more powerful card.  Then you buy it.

Simon: But Dad, it's really cool.  And it can beat Ben's card!

On the other hand, we have the following from Walter Röhrl, a Porsche hot-shot, quoted in the FT about the latest mid six-figure price tag new car release sporting 611 horsepower: “I really cannot see the power of our future 911s rising above the level of the GT2RS...” 

What would you expect the seller of a £164,000 car to say?  How about "Yes, this is an intermediate step along a systematic process for our company to sell cars.  In fact, more cars than you can imagine, because we can make them obsolete very quickly if we're catering to the guy who must have the most horsepower and highest speed." 

You think I'm kidding?  The sentence in the FT article finishes with "although he thinks there are still performance gains to be had from shaving off even more weight from the remarkably light 1,280kg of the GT2RS."  Yes, he really said that.

It's interesting to compare the approach of Alienware PCs.  For those unaware, if you are a big boy with lots of money who plays computer games, you need one of these.  Didn't think it possible to spend $5k on a PC since the days you wanted an Apple Lisa with the 5MB hard drive??  Despair not.  An Alienware PC can set you back that much before you add on the liquid cooling!  Alienware, however, knows they're in this game.  So what do they do?  "Buyback Guarantees".  For $400, you lock in depreciation rates over two years.

I suppose if I lease a Porsche 911 GT2RS I accomplish the same thing, right?  Simon's going to have to rent a lot of Bakugan cards to his friends to pay for my car...

No comments:

Post a Comment