On the A5 autobahn this morning , I happened to see a camouflaged version of a soon to be released Mercedes. Looks like the new E class.
I’d never seen a car covered to avoid spy photos on the road before.
Later, as I sat in the stau near Darmstadt, I thought about parallels between the software industry and the automotive industry.
We hear a lot about how the software industry needs to become more industrial, and learn how to build and reuse components, but what struck me this morning was how cleverly the automotive industry manages the flow of information about new products.
Mercedes Benz and others are masters at building excitement in new products, and showcasing futuristic innovations, but what is really impressive is how they do it such away as not to damage current product sales.
When I look at how software marketeers manage the launch of new products, they ought to hang out with some automotive marketing types.
1. How to market future innovations without freezing the current pipeline.
2. Pricing transparency and financing
3. Market segmentation. BMW’s Mini and One series have an overlapping target market. BMW are cool with that. Buyers of the 5 series might be tempted to go for a well specced 3 series instead. This too is fine. A multi-product line has overlaps, and you can’t wish these away by trying to create artificial segmentations.
4. Managing upgrades. Car makers manage to get most of us onto the next release with ease.
5. Position a brand – competing beyond function and feature.
6. Naming convention consistency. Porsche 911 anyone?