Marketing 50

Treo 600

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Page Murray, VP-marketing for palmOne's hot smart phone, the Treo 600, credits its marketing drive to a strategy that views Treo's marketing as hairspray. "It's the last thing you put on before you go out on a date," he says. "The marketing starts long before you have the product."

In this case, marketing started well before the product was on the drawing boards. Unlike its competitor, Research in Motion's BlackBerry, Treo was conceived as the "perfect wireless and e-mail device" and designed from the ground up to be that way, says Mr. Murray, who grew up outside Philadelphia and was a sprinter while attending Duke University.

That singleness of focus produced a phone so well-received that palmOne struggled initially to keep up with demand and has sold a total of 661,000 phones through August 2004.

At the same time, even before Treo hit the market, palmOne decided to make the airport its marketing beachhead.

In addition to in-flight magazine ads with a cutout of a Treo to show how easily it fits into the palm of the hand, Treo set up small retail stores at four airports where travelers were picking up the $500 phone as an impulse buy, Mr. Murray says. San Francisco agency AKQA created ads focusing on the business traveler.

After a streak with white-hot sales, and now with a bevy of accessories such as leather and other types of personalized cases, Treo is available at most major cell phone service providers.

Mr. Murray says that the Treo generates twice as much in revenue as competing products.

Now, his challenge is the second stage in Treo's marketing cycle: expanding it beyond the business base as its competitors launch new products such as the iPaq 6315 (Hewlett-Packard) and 6300 (Nokia).

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