By Published on .

Iomega corp. was "absolutely" headed toward bankruptcy, says VP-Worldwide Marketing Timothy Hill, when a new management team arrived at the computer storage-device maker in 1994 and put the emphasis on marketing.

The result was Zip drive, a $200 device that can store the equivalent of 70 floppy discs on one removable $15 disc.

The idea of removable storage devices isn't new. Iomega's zip comes from marketing: The company talked to consumers, stressed elegant industrial design and ease of use, and invested in an integrated campaign of TV and print advertising from Dahlin Smith White, Salt Lake City, point-of-sale and PR.

"We fully intend to make Zip the floppy for the multimedia age," says Mr. Hill, a former marketing executive with Polaroid Corp. and battery marketer Gates Energy Products.

Iomega played to a basic tenet of computing: PC owners never seem to have enough storage on the hard drive. Zip discs offer a simple alternative.

In the first year after the March 1995 launch, Iomega shipped 1 million drives and more than 10 million discs. PC makers, including Hewlett-Packard Co. and Micron Electronics, are including Zip in some PCs, and Iomega is in talks with "literally every major PC manufacturer that serves the business or home market worldwide," says Mr. Hill, 38.

The company's business strategy, Mr. Hill says, is "to build sales overnight, brand over time." So the focus now is on selling Zip and its sister data-storage products, Ditto and Jaz-products Mr. Hill claims "have greater potential than Zip"-and then developing a brand image for Iomega.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," Mr. Hill says. "There's a lot more marketing to come."

Most Popular
In this article: