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HD Radio: Confusing Value with Technology

HD Radio confuses value with technology.

And by “value” I mean value to the consumer, not value to our industry.

Listen to these words by two Harvard marketing experts, W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne:

Companies fail to deliver exceptional value because they are obsessed by the novelty of their product or service, especially if new technology plays a part in it.

Kim and Mauborgne cite the examples of failed products like Philips’ CD-i and Motorola’s Iridium, but they might just as easily be talking about HD Radio:

They reveled in the bells and whistles of their new technology. They acted on the assumption that bleeding-edge technology is equivalent to bleeding-edge utility for buyers – something that, in our research, is rarely the case.

And then the capper:

Unless the technology makes buyers’ lives dramatically simpler, more convenient, more productive, less risky, or more fun and fashionable, it will not attract the masses no matter how many awards it wins. Value innovation is not the same as technology innovation.

So in our zeal to roll out HD Radio, I have asked this question before and I’ll keep on asking it: What listener problem does it solve?

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