Marketing and Support for the development of “Raku-Raku Phone”
“Raku-Raku Phone (easy, easy phone)” has been one of the best selling products produced by NTT DoCoMo, the largest cell phone carrier in Japan. The total number of units sold is over 17,000,000 and it still makes the top ranks in the chart for the monthly best selling mobile phones.
However, until early 2006, there were only three models of the “Raku-Raku Phone”. The company posed a couple of questions to me: 1) Are these three models enough or not? 2) If not, how many more models shall we develop? And in what kind of designs should be?
To answer these questions, I participated in developing and marketing their new models.
We thoroughly researched the mobile phone market for older adults although we all had thought that we already had understood this market. As a result, we concluded that this market was not a mass market of similar individuals at all despite our general perception. Instead, this market was an aggregate of micro markets.
Based on our research, we developed new models and put them onto the market from 2007, such as the “Raku-Raku Phone Basic” with more stylish design, and the “Raku-Raku Phone Premium” with many functions such as watching TV function, electric money, pedometer, etc. These new models contributed to a rapid growth of the overall market.
Quite a few new project managers in Japanese companies underrate the niche market, saying it doesn’t pay off considering the required time and effort. I do not agree to this perspective. It may look like a niche market at first; however, if you can grab many of them, the aggregate will become a “Big Niche Market”.