« What should you do if you are #2? | Main | Bravo to Yellow Tail »

August 2004


Olof Winberg

I think this TiVo thing looks like a classic "chasm theory" problem, i.e. the problems of making the product diffuse beyond lead-users.

Read Geoffrey Moore's book if you're interested in marketing of hi-tech products...


If you need to "see it to believe it", why not try infomercials?

There are certain products that just don't sell well, unless you can see them in action. The TV is the perfect medium for conveying these sorts of messages... and ironically for the commercial-skipping TiVo, an informercial could get the idea across effortlessly.

Combine the offer with a money-back guarantee and financing on the purchase, and they just might have a chance.

Rich Westerfield

Sorry, URL for Louderback article referenced above(the HTML didn't take for some reason)


Rich Westerfield

Seems the word TiVO owns is actually "TiVO". It has become a verb, as in "I'm going to TiVO this." Even if you're performing that action on a non-TiVO brand.

TiVO blew it not by its advertising, but by its deal-making and in-store demos. Willing consumers couldn't play with it and try out the features. And then once it became "hot", you had to go to BestBuy because they had an exclusive on the standalones. And while TiVO's deal with DirectTV is working out well, that's the only broadband/satellite service that will bother to touch them.

Unfortunately, TiVO could be dead very shortly with cable companies offering the same features. Jim Louderback explains why.


Um, what they said. I just wanted to say that chick leaning on the chair on the top of this site is hot. Anyone know if there's a link to any nasty pics of her?


Scott and Jane you have both said it exactly. TiVo has failed to articulate in one word what the device is. What is the word they own?

Once you have a TiVo, you get it, you love it and you want others to buy it. But TiVo needs to put the right words into word-of-mouth circulation.

They don't have much time left with other companies quickly copying the technology. They are the original, the leader and the generic for the category. But they need to get ahead now, before it is too late.


I agree with Scott that TiVo has done a very poor job of explaining to the general public what their devices can do. I've had a TiVo for several years now and I'm a diehard fan, but only two of my friends have purchased them despite my non-stop boosterism.

Scott Miller

What's worse is that the Tivo advertisements absolutely failed to communicate the reason to buy the device. The ads always seemed to focused on pausing live TV, which, while nice, is far from the key reason Tivo users love the product.

The fact is that it's difficult to explain in a print ad or TV commercial why Tivo is so cool -- it's almost a pointless task.

Had I been CEO of Tivo, I would have focused on PR 100% (and thus driven word-of-mouth), and made sure every influential writer in the USA got one for free. Everyone who has one loves it, and loves to brag about how it completely changes the way you watch TV, making it so much more enjoyable and productive. But in ways that are often difficult to explain.

I bought a huge amount of Tivo stock about two years ago, simply because I bought and loved the device, and saw that it was becoming the generic word for the category -- a very, very positive sign that Tivo would be the clear leader going forward. It's a pity that Tivo management has fumbled the ball in so many ways, yet Tivo has still done pretty well. There hasn't been a more loved commercial product come along in the last 10 years, as far as I can remember -- maybe the Ipod.

I strongly believe Tivo will still come out on top, but despite management's blundering rather than due to their marketing know-how.

The comments to this entry are closed.

By Al & Laura Ries

As seen on

  • www.flickr.com
    ries brown's items tagged with badge More of ries brown's stuff tagged with badge
  • www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from ries brown tagged with badge. Make your own badge here.
Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 07/2004