TiVo is just a DVR – How Direct TV and Others Packaged A Product for Success
Studying the way Direct TV packaged and positioned TiVo for success in a competitive market can indicate principles for successful marketing for small or home businesses. This article looks at TiVo’s success and discusses the marketing principles that made it work.
TiVo, the poster child of technological advancement for companies like Direct TV, is really nothing more than a middle-aged woman in a designer dress – with plastic surgery. The technology behind TiVo is really just a tweaked DVR, or digital video recorder. Other companies have it; but no other company has built as successful marketing package around their product as has Direct TV with TiVo.
What is TiVo, um, I mean a Digital Video Recorder?
Digital Video Recorders capture video in a way similar to old video recorders, but they do it digitally. Watchers can “pause and rewind live TV” because the speed and response time of DVRs, like TiVo, provide for a virtually seamless transition from live TV to recorded material. Based on user settings, up to 80 hours of television can be recorded. This can include your favorite show each week, or you can record everything you watch to make sure you don’t miss anything. Remember, every DVR can do this, not just TiVo.
The difference is the way Direct TV has partnered with TiVo and positioned it for success in the highly competitive market of satellite television and accessories. The true success of TiVo’s marketing strategy lies in the fact that many people believe it is a unique product.
With product lines in competitive markets, positioning and packaging is king. Direct TV touts TiVo in nearly every major marketing campaign they put together. They offer discount TiVo technologies to new customers who are willing to commit to a one-year contract. My guess is that if you have ever heard of Direct TV and seen any advertisement they have produced, you have been exposed to the TiVo name and features.
Have You Ever Heard of Texas?
The three strap sandals that have come in and out of fashion over the last few decades are now known almost universally as “Tevas.” Chalk up a point for the company Teva that created and marketed their sandals extremely successfully. When was the last time you had jello (actually a name brand of gelatin dessert), or used a Kleenex (trademarked name for a tissue)? Do you ask for a “Coke” no matter what flavor of soda it is? The list goes on and on, including the most recent tendency to refer to all DVR technology as “TiVo.”
What are you going to do about it?
If you own a small business or operate one out of your home, you might not be running your own unique product line. But if you do, what are you going to package it and position it for success? Consider doing the following:
• Name your product or service. It may sound silly, like naming your car “Betsy” or “Lechuga,” but a name is an essential part of successful repackaging. This is what TiVo did when they renamed their DVR technology. Rather than call it a car wash, try something like “Dirty Mike’s 15-Point SuperClean.” Maybe five years from now people will say they need a “superclean” instead of saying they need a “carwash.” Keep reading below for legal considerations.
• Before you start using a new slogan or title, double check to make sure another company does not already own the trademark or copyright. The last thing you want to do (or pay for) when you own a small business is a lengthy legal process over something you could have avoided had you done the research.
• Get legal protection for your products, names, and slogans. At the same time you are doing your research, register your trademarks, copyrights, and where appropriate your patents. Registering your intellectual property with the government will go a long way when it comes time to stop others from infringing on your company name or intellectual rights.