THE MARKETING 100: TOSHIBA INFINIA: RON SMITH

By Published on .

Most Popular
Toshiba, long the leader in notebook computers, wants to put a PC on your desktop. How to get there: Make noise with an innovative home PC line and then push into the business market.

The company last September hit home with Infinia, a sleek gray PC launched with an integrated push from Poppe Tyson, Los Angeles, tying together PR, advertising and a launch event.

Toshiba makes both computers and consumer electronics, and that expertise converged with Infinia. The PC also functions as TV, stereo, CD player and phone answering machine. The computer won an award from PC Magazine for technical excellence.

"The product itself is a statement that Toshiba has core competency" in computers, says Ron Smith, VP-strategic business and planning at Toshiba America Information Systems' Computer Systems Division and part of the marketing team on the Infinia launch.

"We really wanted the message to permeate everybody from the Fortune 1,000 to the individual user that Toshiba was in the market. . . .

We want to be a desktop [PC] company that is thought of as a first choice. We want to own the convergence side of the market," Mr. Smith says.

So do Sony, Compaq and IBM. But Toshiba's product shows it can play the game.

In what is not always the PC industry norm, Toshiba had product in the stores the day it introduced Infinia. Toshiba followed the launch with print and its first computer TV advertising.

Toshiba followed Infinia earlier this year with its first business desktop PCs, rounding out the line.

Infinia's execution since its launch hasn't been flawless. Toshiba drew criticism for trailing rivals this year in rolling out home PCs powered by Intel's heavily hyped Pentium MMX chips, and it's dogged by speculation it might not be a long-term player in the home market.

But Infinia's introduction was a home run with well-executed product and marketing that proves Toshiba can be more than the notebook leader.

"We're proud of the effort," Mr. Smith says, "and it really brought convergence home."

In this article: