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Friday, November 28, 2003

Marketing to the Poor 

Offer your feedback and comments at Rogi's Kitchen Table.

well, people market to the poor, all the time: rent-to-own furniture, predatory lending and "check cashing" and "credit counselling," death insurance, lotteries, discount stores, etc. There's more advertising for alcohol, tobacco and lottery tickets in low-income neighborhoods than elsewhere, too.

Exploiting the poor is an old tradition in capitalism.

There are cheap clothes, cheap cell phones and other electronics, cheap cars, generic foods and drugs, cheap shoes: made by Chinese prisoners and third-world sweatshops. Wal*mart, the world's largest retailer, is FOUNDED on these.

I just heard a "tutorial on tv buying" on NPR's Morning Edition today. According to them, only about 2% of the "big box" stores' sales is in HDTV and plasma tvs. So, 98% of television sales are not high-end products. Parenthetically, Wal*mart was advertising a small, color tv with built-in DVD player for less than $130 for today's after Thanksgiving early sale. I'm reasonably sure it wasn't manufactured in the USA, nor by union workers.

So, the price of the appliance doesn't seem to be a major issue.

MSNTV is an enhancement to computer use, too, as shown by the popularity of the MSN One Plan, which allows multiple MSNTV units to be used in conjunction with computer use in a single household.

MSNTV could be marketed that way. Electronics stores sell all kinds of things besides the hardware for computer use: software, add ons, etc. Having an MSNTV box near the hard drives would be extra sales, not less money.

People could buy them for their kids! They've got surf control and password protections, they allow for up to six users, etc. And Grandma could have an account, too, without having to learn software.

Nope, I really don't think it's the price of the appliance; X Box is selling just fine, thank you, and its guts are WebTV.

The fault is in the marketing, not in the hardware.

posted by Rogi  # 11/28/2003 10:52:00 AM
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