Videotex is a generic term used to describe a mix of computing and telecommunication technologies which enables consumers at home, work or other convenient location, to access information retrieval and interactive information services by easy to learn and easy to use means. The product arose from a technological development rather than a market need, yet when first released some seven years ago in Britain, it was expected to gain almost immediate and widespread acceptance in the home consumer market. The flood of customers did not eventuate and Videotex was a commercial disappointment. A more market oriented approach has now been adopted by the industry and this has resulted in an upward lift in sales. It is the marketing of Videotex, a task made complex by the characteristics of the product and its technology push origins which is the subject of this paper. Specifically the papers objectives are:
• To identify and examine the markets in Australia which Videotex serves.
• To examine the complexities of and strategies for marketing this product.
• To recommend the most appropriate markets and marketing strategies for Videotex in the future.
As the Australian experience with Videotex is limited, the approach adopted was to first review overseas experience in order to identify the marketing problems, lessons and strategies which have met with success - Chapter 2.
The remainder of the paper, Chapters 3 to 5, then examines the Australian market - Chapter 3, the structure and characteristics of the market; Chapter 4, a comparison of Australian and overseas marketing strategies; Chapter 5, recommended future strategies. The overseas experience clearly demonstrated that a targeted marketing approach focussing on the business sector and emphasising the interactive capabilities of Videotex had been the most successful marketing strategy. Videotex's potential in the residential market was limited in the short to medium term with best results being achieved from personal computer owners. Analysis of the Australian market revealed the most spectacular growth in Videotex sales of any country in the world. The overseas experience had been used by the industry to full advantage, with identical markets being targeted and similar strategies adopted.
Future strategies recommended for the industry are aimed at capitalising on the second product life cycle stage, that of 'growth'. They involve a continuation of the target marketing approach directed at the business sector, but with more precise segment definition.