“A study to be published next month in the Journal of Consumer Research found that consumers perceive products that emphasize a single attribute–like, say, a laundry detergent’s ‘powerful stain removal’–as superior on that attribute to all-in-one alternatives. A product promising both ‘powerful stain removal’ and another attribute, like ‘protection against fading,’ is seen as inferior if priced the same as the specialty product,” Elisabeth Eaves reports for Forbes.
Eaves reports, “Marketing Professor Alexander Chernev of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management asked subjects only about buying laundry detergent, toothpaste, shaving cream, cold relief medicine and vitamin supplements. But his conclusion that ‘people perceive products that emphasize a single feature to be more effective than products with multiple features’ also seemed to bode ill for the latest all-in-one tech gadgets–notably the much-anticipated iPhone from Apple, expected to be released in July, and similar Nokia and Motorola devices. Apple’s iPhone, for instance, will play music and videos as well as serving as a Web browser, telephone, calendar and camera.”
Eaves reports, “In a telephone interview Chernev speculated about whether the conclusions of his study might apply to tech gadgets. ‘People may have a tendency to believe that something that is a phone plus many other things may not work so well as a phone,’ he said. But he added that he would be careful about applying the principle to Apple, because of its unique track record at creating whole new classes of products in people’s minds–the iPod music player being the most recent example. “Apple has been great at introducing new product categories that didn’t exist before,’ he said.”
“iPhones aside, why do we mistrust the all-in-one? Shoppers apply what Chernev calls a ‘zero-sum heuristic’ to their buying decisions… this means that consumers may be willing to believe a detergent is great at stain removal–but they account for this excellence by assuming it’s not-so-good at other things. The exception, Chernev discovered, was that consumers were willing to believe an all-in-one product could perform just as well as a specialized product if the all-in-one cost more. ‘If you price it more expensively, then this inference that all-in-one products might be inferior tends to go away,’ he said. ‘The findings reported in this research also imply that the widely used strategy of pricing specialized and all-in-one options at parity might, in fact, be suboptimal.'”
Much more in the interesting full article here.
Nokia and Motorola are never going to be able to compete with a phone that does your laundry. Period.