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05-03-2009, 05:54 PM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nubi Quote
It may well be that they just have to spend some money in advertising. I mean big time, in your face all the time kind of advertising campaign. Visibility is what I think is needed.
I'm pretty convinced that this is what vaulted Toyota to #1 position in the automotive world. When I first saw their name all over the place at NASCAR events and heavily advertising on all American and Canadian networks, I sarcastically commented to myself, 'Good luck with that! Have fun trying to convert Big-3 owners (GM, Ford, Chrysler) to buy a Japanese "rice-burner"!!' Even though I loved my Toyota at the time to death, I still didn't think Toyota would dent the North American market much at all.

But Toyota persisted and went totally out, non-stop, and didn't give up. They introduced an 'American tough' pickup truck and played on their fantastic reliability record, among other things. And now, a decade or so later, Toyotas are seen all over the place wherever I go. Toyota's stock price in a recession has jumped in the past three months while the Big-3 have floundered. Whenever people want "quality", they include Toyota at or near the top of their list. There's a reason why the Big-3 are now in a life-or-death struggle, and Big-3 quality issues combined with aggressive Toyota marketing (which also played successfully on the Big-3 quality issues) I believe are the main reasons.

If Pentax/Hoya goes head-to-head with the Big-2 of the camera world with a "big time" campaign suggested by Nubi, and is relentless and has long-term vision, there is no reason to suggest that Pentax can't be #3 in a decade or so as well (perhaps even higher)? Any Pentax exec who would laugh or scoff at such a statement has the same lack of vision and loser mindset that plagued Apple before Steve Jobs re-took the reigns in the mid-1990s. In fact, one of Jobs' first brilliant moves was firing all those on his staff who thought the iMac and iPod weren't possible to design; he wanted 'possibility thinkers' and no more losers, and the rest is history.

As others have implied, Pentax seems to lack the creativity and the effort, and I believe these are under-lied by a simple lack of desire. Perhaps they don't think it'll be worth it, and perhaps that's why the average consumer still puts five or six brands before even considering Pentax at this time.

05-03-2009, 06:16 PM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by vinzer Quote
The E-3, E-30, and A700 have good AF and FPS but still isn't bought by the masses. Why? It's all about marketing, and this is what this thread is about. You can try and minimize the impact of marketing all you want, but what you're only doing is closing your eyes, covering your ears, and say "lalalalalala" over and over again.
I dont believe in just one reason... A700 has good AF but not enough good to make people change the brand which worked for his reputation not for 2 years but for 20 years...
'marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing' - i dont know whose song is worse.
05-03-2009, 06:21 PM   #33
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In the end, I don't think that most consumers who buy Canikon buy their stupid cameras because of this features or that. I am sure some of them check into things, but across the board, the most features are close enough for most, being not as demanding as serious photographers. So they buy their gear because of the name recognition, frequency of others having them, and how much you see and hear about them in the course of daily life. If you can simply see and touch more Pentax than Canon and Nikon camera, that is half of the battle.
05-03-2009, 06:25 PM   #34
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Consider where these companies started, where they failed, and the transformative response that led them to success - and how they just kept adding to and building on the new theme
  • Honda -> Honda 50 - Vespa-ish motorcycle for the hip 60's
    • Civic - 1968 powered by a Honda 250cc (disastrously underpowered) motorcycle engine
    • Accord 1973 really cool hatchback concept
    • Quality, resale value, durability, intelligent design
  • Toyota-> Toyota Corolla 4-passenger, high-mileage (disastrously underpowered) hatchback for a family's "second" car (1971, right before the gasoline crisis)
    • Land Cruiser - Highly durable all-terrain vehicle marketed globally; established reputation for quality; marketed quality aggressively and transformed their passenger vehicles
    • Price, Consumer Reports recomomendations
  • Apple -> AppleII - Apple was going to be the computer for schools (and build on the K1000 "first touch" idea). IBM slayed them. Macintosh and the GUI was transformative operationally and in design.
    • Useability, not IBM (Pentax is NOT CANON)
  • Subaru -> Small, boxy durable mini-wagons, always all-wheel drive, but never a large seller - too quirky
    • Outback was their first truly popular vehicle outside Maine and Colorado. The ski thing came from their existing market. They converted former Volvo and CRV owners because they actually had something different under the hood. Volvo stretched 1958 technology for 35 years, but they didn't have a second story after safety.
    • Recently Subaru has become more mainstream, with better design, better marketing and a reputation for lasting forever - literally, 250,000 miles is common.
Pentax is probably where Volvo was in 1988 - stretching an old story too thin. Hopefully they come up with something a bit more lasting than the XCountry (Volvo's take on the Outback, but 50% more money and not as good a car).

Pentax needs to focus on NOT CANON and leave Nikon alone. Nikon is associated with super-quality. Canon is just fashion. Kill Canon.

There IS a path available, to wit - I own (or have owned):
  • Toyota Land Cruiser (in college)
  • Volvo 240 Wagon (young children in 80's
  • Subaru Outback - 3rd one
  • Honda Accord
  • Many, many Apple laptops and 1 MacPro
I'm interested in interesting, useful, high-value technology.

05-03-2009, 07:43 PM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
[*]Subaru -> Small, boxy durable mini-wagons, always all-wheel drive, but never a large seller - too quirky.
Pound-for-pound the most profitable automaker in Japan.

They sell the most cars through the least dealers at the highest margins.

If you are niche, this is how it is done. Whether you agree with their product and its qualities or not, they convince enough people that their brand is the right brand. And they have a solid enough investment in core technologies that differentiate them from the market that they have been able to maintain sales. I suspect they are due for a wake-up, but with the cash in the bank they have, there is flexibility.

I drive a Mazda, so no shameless plugs here. I have no need or desire for a Subaru—just admire the company and I think Pentax has the right analogy in compraison.
05-03-2009, 08:20 PM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aristophanes Quote
Pound-for-pound the most profitable automaker in Japan.

They sell the most cars through the least dealers at the highest margins.

If you are niche, this is how it is done. Whether you agree with their product and its qualities or not, they convince enough people that their brand is the right brand. And they have a solid enough investment in core technologies that differentiate them from the market that they have been able to maintain sales. I suspect they are due for a wake-up, but with the cash in the bank they have, there is flexibility.

I drive a Mazda, so no shameless plugs here. I have no need or desire for a Subaru—just admire the company and I think Pentax has the right analogy in compraison.
Subaru was the only automaker in the world to make an operating profit last year.

What can Pentax learn from Subaru?
05-03-2009, 08:34 PM   #37
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Yes all of you guys are so right in many ways, but I do wonder if we try too hard to make Pentax what it really isn't or shouldn't be because we love it so much. What seems great for us avid Pentax users may not be such a good thing for the company as a whole. What was so great in the old days may not be what the company needs now. I am not even sure if the DSLR segment is the meat of Pentax's main source of revenue.
05-03-2009, 09:58 PM   #38
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Subaru was the only automaker in the world to make an operating profit last year.

What can Pentax learn from Subaru?


To make an operating profit.

05-03-2009, 10:24 PM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by jsherman999 Quote
To make an operating profit.
Yes - I figured why clutter the reply with Volkswagen/Porsche doings and (possibly) the Chinese.
05-03-2009, 10:54 PM   #40
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nubi Quote
In the end, I don't think that most consumers who buy Canikon buy their stupid cameras because of this features or that. I am sure some of them check into things, but across the board, the most features are close enough for most, being not as demanding as serious photographers. So they buy their gear because of the name recognition, frequency of others having them, and how much you see and hear about them in the course of daily life. If you can simply see and touch more Pentax than Canon and Nikon camera, that is half of the battle.
On the other hand, Canikon cameras are not that "stupid"... I have even heard that some "serious photographers" use them with success....

Canikon users could be considered as a blind herd buying their cameras only for brand recognition or peer pressure if they were buying sub-par products compared to Pentax ones, but it isn't the case. They buy decent gear that work pretty well: so why wouldn't they?

Pentax not only have to make their products available to the general public and advertise it, they also have to find a good reason why people would prefer them to Canikon ones and advertise that.
05-04-2009, 04:14 AM   #41
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I think that pentax should go after the active lifestyle market which is quite in fashion at present..

Here's 2 adds:

I prefer the "you can't" one
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05-04-2009, 05:25 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by monochrome Quote
Marketing includes getting cameras into the hands of visible professional photographers. If Pentax is serious about pro shooters, the 645D is the key.

I saw an article in St. Louis Magazine about our emerging loft district, and the people who are moving there. One was a nice young woman fashion photographer. She had a 67 in her hands in every working shot in the spread.
Agreed. I wonder if Pentax made enough of those 645Ds to pass around to pros, though. Maybe they're trying to make Japan a test bed if the 645D will get a warm reception or not.

QuoteOriginally posted by filorp Quote
I dont believe in just one reason... A700 has good AF but not enough good to make people change the brand which worked for his reputation not for 2 years but for 20 years...
'marketing, marketing, marketing, marketing' - i dont know whose song is worse.
Sure, you don't believe in just one reason, but you make it as if it's solely AF that's hindering Pentax from joining the bigger brands. So basically you contradicted yourself.

Marketing is an easier fix than technological advancements. If it's so easy to make fast AF algorithms and hardware on a tighter budget and much smaller R&D team compared to your Canon and Nikon stars as you make it to be, every manufacturer would have had blazing fast AF from the get-go. And it's not as if Pentax can never lock on focus like you make it to be. It's certainly a detriment to sports and action shooters, but perfectly usable for other types of photography.

To wit, the iPod is a good product (I so love the clickwheel concept), but it also has it's flaws. I certainly don't appreciate having to convert music and videos again and again from more common file formats to Apple's proprietary ones (I'm pretty sure given a choice, people would just rather drag and drop files directly onto the device). The cool factor given to it by snazzy ads put them over the top, though.

QuoteOriginally posted by lol101 Quote
On the other hand, Canikon cameras are not that "stupid"... I have even heard that some "serious photographers" use them with success....

Canikon users could be considered as a blind herd buying their cameras only for brand recognition or peer pressure if they were buying sub-par products compared to Pentax ones, but it isn't the case. They buy decent gear that work pretty well: so why wouldn't they?

Pentax not only have to make their products available to the general public and advertise it, they also have to find a good reason why people would prefer them to Canikon ones and advertise that.
I agree. There's nothing grotesquely wrong with choosing a Canon or Nikon. I do know that they are perfectly capable of excellent outputs, even the lower-end models. With all mid-to-lower-level DSLRs perfectly capable of getting great results, it really boils down to minutiae in specifications and advertising, of which Canon and Nikon does a good job.
05-04-2009, 05:45 AM   #43
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what you say is right - and its an obvious - if pentax is supposed to stey where is now - but we talking about what he needs to become greater and greater - to have the worse AF in the market its not enough to become better And the AF is just example of the Pentax weakness (propably the biggest) - one from couple... marketing won't improve it... Sofox IX does.

Last edited by filorp; 05-04-2009 at 05:57 AM.
05-04-2009, 07:05 AM   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by filorp Quote
what you say is right - and its an obvious - if pentax is supposed to stey where is now - but we talking about what he needs to become greater and greater - to have the worse AF in the market its not enough to become better And the AF is just example of the Pentax weakness (propably the biggest) - one from couple... marketing won't improve it... Sofox IX does.
The thing is, I bet if you took a survey of DSLR buyers as a whole, fewer than 5% would identify Pentax as having weak AF. I really don't think that's a widespread perception outside some small online communities. Among the majority of DSLR buyers - those who would spend from $400-$1500 on a first camera +lens purchase, it's Pentax' lack of name recognition, promotion, and possibly availability more than anything else that prevents a larger segment from going that way.

AF speed just doesn't register as a factor with this group. Even look at dpreview.com reviews. They never say very much about AF speed. It's a bęte noire on these forums whose relative importance is magnified beyond all reason. I personally hope Pentax' AF performance improves. Why wouldn't I? But I know from personal experience using a D700 that there isn't nearly the night-and-day difference some people seem to think there is.
05-04-2009, 07:38 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by dopeytree Quote
I think that pentax should go after the active lifestyle market which is quite in fashion at present..

Here's 2 adds:

I prefer the "you can't" one
these are typical ineffective agency ads. a page full of words about photography, none of which make you want to go and take pictures. nor do they do anything to express the quality of Pentax cameras and lenses with those tiny pictures of the equipment. they're just like these forums actually, words and memories only a Pentax user would care about. in fact these ads are aimed squarely at us, the current Pentax user.

ads shouldn't be used to reassure or assuage the fears of current users. they should promote the brand to new users and express the qualities of a brand instantly, not stroke the egos of the current user (and the agency's).

no canonikon user would stop at this ad, much less read through all of it, since there's nothing about that tiny photo that would raise any interest at all compared to the impressive equipment they have already. the pictures don't even show how small these cameras are as they don't relate to anything floating in that sea of words.

how do you express weathersealing and build quality without relying on (more than a handful of words)? why do even actual photographers not know what the Limited lens is, how many there are, or why they're great?

i better see a close up of the K-7, in USE, all beaded up with rain, with a photographer's hands wrapped around it using the controls effortlessly, eyes focused on the subject. show the size, show the ergonomics, show the quality, show it's specialty... in CONTEXT. make everyone stop on that ad when they see this thing and wonder "why doesn't my camera have that (X)???"

(X = size? weathersealing? control? toughness? character? FEELING?)
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