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Notion Ink's Adam – A study in viral marketing

22-February-2011
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Notion Ink's Adam – A study in viral marketing

Imagine a start-up company releasing an expensive new product. Imagine they putting it on sale online without even showing a single picture or allowing any returns. Imagine if Mastercard wasn’t even processing their payments. Now imagine that they cleared their entire stock in less than a day.

That’s exactly what Notion Ink managed to do with the launch of their supposed iPad killer tablet, the Adam, and all of this was accomplished without any marketing beyond running a single blog, which was not written by communications professionals, but only consisted of jumbled updates on the progress of the company by its CEO.

Bangalore-based start-up Notion Ink created the Adam, a tablet, which on paper at least, is a lot better than the iPad, and while it generated a lot of buzz online from the word go, what was interesting was that with only a single company blog to promote their product, Notion Ink was able to generate a fantastically loyal fan base, which has followed the brand through its entire journey with a dedication that even Apple loyalists can’t really match.

The Adam’s hardware was pretty amazing when it first came on the scene as a design and an idea nearly two years ago. In that time, CEO Rohan Shravan ran a single blog on Wordpress and has put forward regular updates to show how much progress the company has made, and over time, this became one of the most commented blogs on Wordpress, and individual updates getting over 1,000 comments is nothing new.

The sell-out funda
The initial pre-order, which despite a lot of problems saw the Adam sold out in hours, was a controversial one, as payment gateways failed and the website crashed for a while. On February 9, on the NI blog, Shravan said, “The next round of orders have started and emails are being sent right now. The list is huge, and unlike last time, we are not taking chances by sending all at the same time.”

The second round of pre-orders then followed, and despite there being “twenty times as many devices”, according to Shravan, with a focus on the higher end PixelQi models, “for which there is higher demand”, Notion Ink has again sold all their devices.

And they have done so without spending money on marketing or advertising.
Most companies can’t just launch a product without running marketing programmes, but as the Notion Ink example shows, with the reach and interactivity of the Internet, viral marketing and building communities is also important.

The company did not do anything special, except respond to the customers, quickly and in simple terms. While they didn’t respond to journalists or tech-bloggers, the firm has engaged with its customers from the beginning, and made them feel a part of the brand, made them feel emotionally invested in the success of the product, which has led to unprecedented success.

 

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