Does HP Advertise Their Calculators?



#2

Hi,

It was suggested that a new topic be started on HP marketing calculators (or lack thereof). Back in the day, HP would do direct mailings when a new calc was introduced, offering 15-day trials and all sorts of neat stuff. Of course, that was then, but what kind of marketing is HP actually doing (if any) right now? We have this neat new 30b and I haven't seen any HP emails announcing it, any magazine ads, nothing. What did I miss? Is it appearing in ads in financial publications? How is the word getting out? It might mysteriously appear on a "peg" at a store such as Target, but is that going to mean anything? If anybody starts at www.hp.com, is it mentioned that a new calculator has appeared and that they should click on a link to see it? What does an HP calculator marketing person actually do? I can't wait to find out that my cynicism is unfounded :-)

Jake


#3

Jake, the same can be asked of the 20b. I've never seen any advertising for it. It appeared on Amazon.com a few months after it was introduced, as I recall, but I've never seen it on a peg in any store. The only HP calcs I've seen on pegs in the last few years are 12c and platinum, 10bii, and 17bii+. Never a 35s, and I don't expect to see the 30b on a peg either. Maybe the marketing world has changed, or there is something going on that we don't know about, but I don't know how HP expects to sell these things if nobody knows about them.


#4

I don't understand why it seems HP has abandoned middle/high school market. Once kids get attached to TI's it's very difficult to have them move to HP when they go on to college. I don't even see HP advertize in college. Also, when I go to every day brick & morter stores I don't see HPs calculators very often ...


#5

Quote:
I don't understand why it seems HP has abandoned middle/high school market. Once kids get attached to TI's it's very difficult to have them move to HP when they go on to college.

It's because the schools are attached to TI...

#6

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#7

I am not a teacher, so I am genuinely asking: did not the textbooks begin to show solutions with TI calculators after the schools were using them for several years?

#8

...because HP abandoned the education market some years ago (management decision, and a poor one at that). TI took the ball and ran with it, and now HP would be playing catchup for YEARS to get back to where they were.

#9

I actually bought my 35s off a peg at a Fry's Electronics store outside of Chicago. But, I think there are only a handful of Fry's around the country.


#10

Norman,
Do you know about the CHIP group? It's one of the longest running HP users clubs, originally started in 1976 as the Chicago chapter of PPC by Craig "Pinball Wizard" Pearce.

We meet twice a month (first and third Wednesdays) at Ace Metal Crafts in Franklin Park. Some of the guys go for dinner locally, then the informal meeting (if you want to call it that) usually gets rolling around 8 o'clock. The next meeting is Wednesday, April 7th. Once in a while calculators come up in the conversations.

Call Ron Johnson, 312-630-0100 weekdays, for a bit of info if you'd like. It would be fun to meet another HP enthusiast in the area.

Brian


#11

I'll have to take a look into that. Not much spare time these days but would be fun once in a while...

Thanks for the info.


#12

A lot don't attend every meeting, but most show up every few meetings, especially when someone has something to talk about which interests them. Video and photography are of interest to some, and there's often something computer related some take an interest in. HP handhelds come up in conversation once in a while, not often enough from my perspective, but it's not what keeps the group together after 34 years. I'd say show up for a meeting or two and ask Ron to put you on the mailing list for meeting notices if you like. By all means you should meet Jack Stout, the guy who has been instrumental in arranging for the meeting location for so many years and is a best friend to everyone. Without Jack it wouldn't happen. I can't say enough good things about Jack. He is a Dutch uncle.


Edited: 30 Mar 2010, 3:04 a.m.

#13

I've been checking the local Office Depot and Staples monthly since the 12C+ was released...still haven't seen one. They've got the 10B on the peg, but the 12C isn't on a peg, and there's no tag to pull, so it's a *huge* hassle to buy one, much less look at the battery door.

FWIW, I've never seen a 20B in either office supply store. And that one's been out how long?

#14

I know there are advertisements in surveying professional magazines since I was asked about those ones, but other that that nobody has asked for my input on other marketing campaigns. Not that being in R&D I would expect to be asked. . .

TW

#15

I approached the Calc Management Representative about exactly this issue at the HHC 2009 meeting. I wish I could say I heard anything at all back on the issue.

He offered (and failed) to set me up with their marketing folks so I could share some of my ideas... my guess is the marketing folks don't do much at all.

#16

Excellent topic, Jake.

The cynic in me says this lack of marketing effort speaks to the HP of today's investment in calculators.

#17

I doubt there is such a thing as a "calculator marketing person" at HP.

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but the calculator division is part of the "Handheld Computing" group, which is a group within the much bigger "Personal Systems Group" division.

So it's highly unlikely they would have specific marketing people just for the tony calculator sub-group of the handheld computing group of the personal system group division! I wouldn't be surprised if there is only one marketing department for the whole overall division.

See the HP 2009 annual report for a breakdown of the groups and a good example of the almost irrelevance of the calculator division within HP as a whole.

It probably comes down to the usual manpower/budget thing, where the squeakiest wheel gets the oil.

Dave.


#18

Quote:
I doubt there is such a thing as a "calculator marketing person" at HP

I doubt there is such a thing as a "calculator" at HP that deserves to be advertised since the last HP48 left production line

#19

Come now, the 50g, 30b, and to a lesser extent the 20b have all gotten pretty good reviews here.

#20

The golden age of HP scientific calculators occurred in the 1970's and 1980's. I imagine that the HP-48, and its predecessors, were a success because they were built well and did things that could otherwise only be done on minicomputers costing tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. That all changed when the PC came along; the PC made the scientific calculator obsolete in the same way the HP-35 made the slide rule obsolete.

I would imagine that the only calculator HP currently sells in numbers high enough to justify a "calculator" division at all is the 12c, and they don't have to advertise it because it is the "gold standard" among financial types. But they've got to be careful to not change it too much because that group might look elsewhere if they couldn't trust it.

The HP calculator division consists of Cyrille and Tim, and probably a few other support people. The 12c probably subsidizes every other HP calculator currently produced. If the 12c ever loses favor (and sales) in its market, HP calculator division will cease to exist.


#21

Quote:
... the PC made the scientific calculator obsolete in the same way the HP-35 made the slide rule obsolete.

Well, not quite. Many here have demonstrated why calculators are still important. And while production of new slide rules is almost nil, Casio, Sharp, TI, and HP still make and sell a lot of calculators.
Quote:
I would imagine that the only calculator HP currently sells in numbers high enough to justify a "calculator" division at all is the 12c, and they don't have to advertise it because it is the "gold standard" among financial types.

Chicken or egg. Would the other calculators sell better if they were advertized?
Quote:
If the 12c ever loses favor (and sales) in its market, HP calculator division will cease to exist.

Well, I certainly hope not. Anyway, are sales figures published anywhere?
#22

Quote:
I would imagine that the only calculator HP currently sells in numbers high enough to justify a "calculator" division at all is the 12c, and they don't have to advertise it because it is the "gold standard" among financial types.

I believe you always need to advertise, in this case to two audiences: those that haven't got it to tell them what they're missing; and to those that have got it to remind them that they made the right choice (and thus keep them recommending the product).

E.g. Dyson is considered a top brand of vacuum cleaner in the UK, but they still advertise. It only takes a competitor to closely match the virtues of a leading product and a good advertising campaign to sway the buyers if they are not constantly reminded of the superior virtues of the top brand. (As HP may loose it to BWK). Anybody that thinks they "have it made" and are "indespensible" enough to stop advertising may just find themselves loosing everything.
#23

Here's a feedback from Germany: I don't know of any advertisements for HP-calculators at all. Even worse, all marketing activities, like e.g. contests ("Design the next calculator" (or similar) I've heard of a couple of years back, were limited to the U.S. excluding the rest of the world. I heard of no special offers for teachers directly from HP (please someone proof me wrong) and some products, like e.g. the Streamsmart 400, isn't offered at all, even not by those onlineshops which usually have HP calulators. Brick & mortar stores may offer HP ink for the inkjet-printers but offer calculators only from TI, Casio, Sharp and nonames. Casio is doing a much better job in the respect of marketing: They are serving the schoolmarket with a website and offers special offers for teachers and have books, too.

I guess this threat won't come up with any good news, so I'd like to ask you all: Isn't there anything we could do to change this really bad situation ? I tried to start with an article about the calulation of RC-filters (it's for German speaking readers and please scroll down to the end of the article 'cause it's an addendum to an already existing article).

Best wishes

Karl


#24

A few random comments....

The only advertising I see for *any* calculators is the store displays at office supply stores and the "on sale" items in their circulars around back-to-school time. These are usually for the TI-83.

Interesting point about the 12C. It would seem that both TI and HP are propelled by inertia in their respective markets. HP has the financial world locked up via word of mouth. TI has the education world locked up via the textbooks. It seems to me that only a serious marketing effort could unseat either one.

Middle school and high school (ages 12-18) are, by far, the biggest market for the scientific & graphing calculators. I suspect that very few people switch brands once they're used to what they have. So any marketing effort should be aimed at them.

What can we do? Maybe write companion material for some of the textbooks to explain how to use an HP calculator for each of the exercises that requires a calculator. Maybe one for the 39gs/40gs and one for the 48gII/50g.

Great topic.


#25

Good points, David.

TI's presence in the education market is huge. They have a nation-wide network of support people who work with the schools and teachers to show how TI calculators can benefit teachers and students. And I'm sure they offer "deals" to school systems who buy their products. Walk into most middle or high school classrooms and you will see pouches hanging from the wall that hold 30 TI calculators. In middle school it is usually the TI-73 (or similar), and in high school the TI-83 plus. Regarding requiring students to buy calculators for math class, my experience is in middle schools and no middle school in which I have taught requires a student to buy a calculator; it may be different at the high school level, especially in advanced math classes.

Three years ago, when the TI-NSpire came out, TI sponsored 3-day training sessions around the country for educators to get familiar with the NSpire. I attended one in Hendersonville, Tennessee. I think it cost like $225 (which most school systems paid, but not mine!) but each attendee received a new NSpire (non CAS, but you could swap for a CAS unit later, which I did) plus an electronic screen that you could use to show the NSpire display on an overhead projector. I have rarely used that, or the NSpire, in class, but I do have about 4 or 5 TI-83's and 84's that I have used over the years with my students. This past year Texas Roadhouse donated 8 TI-83's to the school at which I currently teach.

So TI has a very large presence nationwide. And the textbook publishers have followed suit as well. I doubt that any textbook publisher would be interested in including HP calculator specific information in their textbooks since there aren't--and aren't likely to be--any HP calculators in the classrooms.

I imagine that when kids that have bought scientific or graphing calculators leave school, they pretty much leave the calculators behind. Bulky TI-83's aren't really necessary around the house, and their pockets are filled with i-devices!

#26

Regarding current marketing I have seen:

Being a land surveyor, the ONLY advertising I have seen for HP calculators is in surveying publications and surveying equipment supply vendors.

I think this is 100% driven by the National Council of Examiners for Engineers and Surveyors (NCEES) exams. The HP 33s and the HP 35s are the only calculators from HP permitted for use in the exams.

On that topic, I write and sell program books for surveyors for both the 33s and 35s. During some of my limited market research, I was trying to find any major outlet stores that carry those HP calculators, without success.

I just don't get it: I see the HP laptops, the HP printers, the ink, the peripherals, etc.. But why not throw a couple calculators on the shelves while your at it?


#27

Quote:
But why not throw a couple calculators on the shelves while your at it?

Why? If HP is not pushing their own calculators, then you are asking a brick and mortar shop lose profits on inventory that may not move. It'd be great if Walmart carried every HP model. Then I'd just have to sit back and wait for Walmart to sell them for $10 (or $2 http://s946.photobucket.com/albums/ad309/martindupre/?action=view&current=DSC01972.jpg :-) as they try to recoup some loss on stock that never moved.

BTW, I do see HP calcs on selves at my local university book store. They sell just about every model. I imagine that university students represent the largest scientific calculator market for HP.


#28

Quote:
Why? If HP is not pushing their own calculators, then you are asking a brick and mortar shop lose profits on inventory that may not move.

I think that is the point of this thread - why isn't HP pushing their calculators like they push computers and printer?
Quote:
It'd be great if Walmart carried every HP model. Then I'd just have to sit back and wait for Walmart to sell them for $10 (or $2)...

I sold every one of those $2 calculators I bought at Walmart for $15 each on eB**. Does that mean online sells and brick and mortar doesn't? Still, why doesn't HP even highlight their calculators in their own emails?

#29

Usually, in Los Angeles, the Fry's stores are the only stores that carry HP calculators beyond the 12c in Los Angeles, even though I got the 17bII+ Silver at an Office Depot this past January.

I agree that there is not enough advertising from the HP calculators department. There needs to be more of it: especially with the 50g and 30b/17bII+.

#30

Anyone who watches "March Madness" knows that H-P advertises, but I suspect that there are very few individuals outside of this forum who notice or even care that calculators aren't mentioned in the advertisements.

I suspect that many in this forum underestimate the length and depth of the TI commitment to the educational market and the amount of coordination with other educational activities that was involved. TI started a newsletter "It's About T.I.M.E." in 1989 where T.I.M.E. stands for Technology in Math Education. The October 1990 issue included the statement

Quote:
"Teaching Mathematics with Calculators: A National Workshop" is a joint project of the Mathematical Association of America (MAA) and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). The project is funded by a $1.2 mllion grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a contribution of $330,000 from Texas Instrumens.


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