Company: Eastman Kodak Company
Contact: Aprille Byam, Research Analyst, Consumer Digital Group
Location: Rochester, NY
Industry: Consumer Electronics B2B, B2C
Annual revenue: $10,301,000,000
Number of employees: 26900
When it chose to enter the saturated inkjet market 20 years late, Eastman Kodak had a few surprises up its sleeve: half-priced ink cartridges and prints that retain their bright colors more than 600 times longer than competitor brands. Still, in a world where more-tantalizing gadgets such as ultra-thin laptops and digital cameras often take center stage, the company found it also needed a little ingenuity on the marketing side if it was to merit the attention it needed to gain market share.
Proven advertising techniques were set in motion and a special promotion with NBC's Celebrity Apprentice was launched; nevertheless, questions remained about how effective those were in luring the target market. So company Research Analyst Aprille Byam quickly set out to get a better feel for market perceptions and behavior, hoping she might also generate excitement around the new technology.
Aspiring to bridge the gap between quantitative and qualitative research, she worked with online panel management provider Vision Critical in 2007 to create Print Rave, a fusion of Web-based panel and online community, that allowed the company to both directly communicate with users and moderate member-to-member interactions.
That combination allowed Eastman Kodak to delve into the hard questions and keep users engaged so that it could gather the insight needed to forge ahead in the inkjet space.
When Eastman Kodak broke onto the consumer inkjet scene in February 2007, leading competitor Hewlett-Packard had already secured a strong reputation for reliable products, a loyal customer base, and a 33% global market share. To acquire its own piece of the pie, Eastman Kodak needed to build excitement around a product that, although innovative in its own right, lacked the sex-appeal to automatically turn heads and generate buzz.
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