In the last decade, technological advances have become a necessity rather than a luxury for today’s American consumers and businesses. As a society we are always in demand of something new, something faster, something that will change our lives even if it means paying a little extra for the service. When turning on the television, commercials rule the airwaves using various techniques to coerce us into buying their product or at least implant a little annoying seed that unconsciously has us repeating the commercial slogan. An example of this would be the Optimum Triple Play Package advertisement, which uses corny rap and rock songs that are catchy, and I confess, are imbedded in my memory due to it’s continuous broadcasting during football games and practically all of television. Verizon and Apple use a compare and contrast technique, which subtly imply that they have a better product than their competing companies as seen from the “Can you Hear Me Now”, and the “Mac vs. P.C” commercials. These companies have been the pioneers of 21st century advertisement, and I’d bet money that most people have seen their commercials and/or own their product or service. With such marketing maneuvers it is no surprise that these companies are leading the industry with their respective product.
So with that said, has anyone ever heard of WiMAX or Clearwire? At first glance, it sounds like a bootleg version of Wi-Fi and water bottle brand, but it’s not, it’s an up and coming technology and company that will change the way the public connects to the internet. Want proof? Well how about 3.2 billion dollars of proof? Google, Time Warner Cable, and Intel have agreed to produce that amount in support of the Sprint’s Clearwire Company and the WiMAX product with hopes that it will unlock its 4G potential and make its mark on today’s market. WiMAX has the potential to cover entire cities with connections and works just like a portable modem, meaning you can be anywhere in the city and have access to the internet. WiMAX mean’s no restrictions; you can reconnect with society anywhere you go, it means you can say goodbye to hunting for coffee shops that have free internet access, or even paying 2.99 for three hours use of internet at Barnes and Nobles. WiMAX offers an option of a faster Internet with a stronger connection, so why in the world isn’t it as popular as DSL or Cable yet?
Since 2008 and the company’s domestic debut in Baltimore and Portland, WiMAX seems to have garnered little popularity and isn’t accomplishing the company’s promise to connect 140 million people to it’s services. There can only be one reason for this; no one knows about it! With all the high-tech jargon such as 3g and 4g connections, consumers get lost in what the company is really trying to do, eliminate the location restriction of Wi-Fi, as well as the speed restriction 3g, and wrap the world with Internet connection. Though the 3.2 billion in investment is perhaps, creating a better functioning product, the company isn’t using enough commerce to do battle in the commercial advertisement industry. In order to actually see a Clearwire commercial a consumer will most likely have to go to YouTube and actually search for the product, and no offense to the American public, but we are lazy! American’s don’t want to have to search for technologies; we want technologies to have to come to us. As any macroeconomist knows when the consumer isn’t in demand of the product it won’t sell, and as any marketing major knows when there is no knowledge of the product there is no demand. In order for Clearwire to advance in the technology-based market, it needs to expand its advertising and marketing reach and inform, inform, inform!
WiMAX is a product that if endorsed and advertised correctly should sell very well in the consumer-based technology market. Most people believe that internet connection isn’t necessarily needed everywhere and ask why should I pay a high price for just internet, when I can get cable, internet access, and a telephone service for only 40$ more? With the consumer weighing the options between an individual internet service and a package deal that is dollar-wise a better buy, WiMAX’s advertising team has to do more than a commercial where a giant glass of overflowing beer is the symbol of the wide range, go anywhere internet access that WiMAX provides; because honestly that commercial makes me want beer more than I do internet access. WiMAX’s theme has to be connection, just like Verizon’s is. Why not show people laying out in central park with their laptops using Internet sites such as Facebook or streaming video on Youtube? Why not show women in bikini’s tanning and enjoying the beach and the sun while shopping for clothes on their laptop and downloading a song or a movie. Or even an imitation of Verizon’s famous commercials but instead of a man in the woods on the phone, the commercial would use a man in the woods carrying a laptop and having a videoconference with someone; “can you see me now?” These are forms of commercial advertising that will not only describe what Clearwire’s WiMAX is trying to sell, which is high-speed go-anywhere Internet connection, but will also cause the consumer to visualize his or herself using the product and hopefully spark a demand for it.
As an outsider looking into this industry and its marketing plan, I am generally unimpressed; not with the technology but by how it’s brought to my (the consumer’s) attention. With 3.2 billion dollars to disperse among the company, it’s leaders should put a little more focus on advertising, because in the end, it is what will make or break this company. Since WiMAX and Clearwire generally debuted in a down market, the company must do everything it can to inform its target consumers so that it can continue to grow instead of meeting it’s demise just like many starting companies in this decade’s recession.