Saturday, 17 November 2007

Nintendo, Wii have a Problem

Good marketers plan for both internal and external factors. But even the best laid plans can be affected by uncontrollable aspects of the micro and macro environment.

Currently it is not possible to purchase the Nintendo Wii in England. That is unless you wish to pay a premium price from the canny eBay and Amazon resellers that have bulk bought in advance.

A Nintendo spokeswoman said
"The demand has been greater than Nintendo could ever have antcipated". This is somewhat of an understatement, in fact it is estmated that throughout 2007, there will be a shortfall of approximately 3m units. With a recommended retail price of £180, Nintendo is potentially missing out out on a cool £540m!

Why is it that there are always demand shortages in the games console market? Sony and Microsoft have previously experienced similar problems with new products.

As a marketer, my biggest frustration is unnecessary complications at the point of purchase. The hard work has been done. The prospect has been progressed through the buying cycle. Consumers like the product, but they cannot buy it. They like the price, but they cannot pay it. They are attracted by the promotions , but they cannot take advantage of them. For it is the place element of this marketing mix that is underperforming.

What happens to marketing promoting the Wii at this time? Is there any point in marketing a product that cannot be purchased? Should the marketing team be celebrating the effectiveness of their marketing activity
or focussing on mitigating the negativity surrounding the shortfall. Perhaps they should turn their innovative minds to overcoming the weaknesses in the production cycle.

Whatever they turn ther attentions to, it is clear that measures must be taken in to ensure that the business can capitalize on it's successes in the future.

Planning for uncontrollable factors is hard and there are many examples of companies that have got it wrong to spectacular effect. The important thing is to learn from these mistakes and build a mechanism for mitigating the effects.

In this instance the Nintendo website doesn't have as much as a press statement. For those that are still hoping to get a Wii for Christmas, Wii-Consoles.co.uk will provide stock updates every 60 seconds.

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