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Sony Corporation has had a series of very public security breaches in the past few years. Despite a long history of Internet presence, including a clunky website, social networking, and "stealth" marketing, Sony was not very tech-savvy when it came to securely storing data -- even though Sony used that data very well to market its products and services. However, Sony seems to have stepped up its game when it comes to security, making the third wave of attacks much less damaging.
Sony has traditionally had a flashy website that was difficult to shop on. It's divided into Electronics, the PlayStation section, Online Games, Movies and Music, and Support. The Sony store makes it easy to shop by phone, but difficult to shop online, comparatively speaking. Their main strategy is to sell their electronics through stores. In fact, the bulk of their hardware is still sold in stores and is subject to that same limitation on the website. However, Sony is moving to direct marketing of its "soft" products, like music, movies, and video games. Those sections of Sony's website are far more functional for consumers, especially the PlayStation Network section, which has been thoroughly integrated with the best-selling PS3 hardware.
Sony has worked hard to make itself available to consumers. They have significant social media presence, including Twitter and Facebook accounts, as well as a blog that is integrated into the PlayStation Network web site. Each of these accounts allows a consumer to contact a Sony Customer public relations or customer service representation directly. In addition, there is a phone number for customer service on each of the main sub-pages, as well as email contact.
Sony is not known for permitting product customization. Unlike a desktop computer, where you can customize the desktop to your heart's content, Sony's handhelds are not at all customizable beyond the fact that you can download whichever of the purchased, approved games. The PS3 is slightly more customizable, including backgrounds, a screensaver that computes genetic algorithms for DNA testing, and whichever services you subscribe to. There is also a whole host of third-party add-ons, including skins for the hardware. Sony requires standard customer information at purchase, including name, address, phone, email, and credit card information.
Sony is good at Internet marketing. Its first method of marketing is using social media networks to reach the valuable 18- to 34-year-old male demographic, which rarely watches traditional television. Facebook, Twitter, and a blog are all used to promote Sony products. They also offer online "tutorials" to teach people how to use their electronics, including cameras. In addition, they have a long history of "stealth" marketing. For example, Sony Ericsson used stealth marketing in 2002 when they hired 60 actors in 10 major cities, and had them "accost strangers and ask them: Would you mind taking my picture?" The actor then handed the stranger a brand new picture phone while talking about how cool the new device was. "And thus an act of civility was converted into a branding event (Walker, 2004). This does not always go over well, as their experience with YouTube showed in 2010 (Krotoski, 2006).
Sony's second Internet marketing strategy is integrating Internet access into the PS3 through the PlayStation Network. Even though Sony loses money on every PS3 they sell (Buchanan, 2010), they make up for it by selling video games to go with the PS3 as well as non-traditional fare, like Netflix, Hulu, and their own in-house Internet-based music and movie rental and purchase service -- all through the PlayStation Network. They have also offered a mini-video game store. These are Sony's most important source of income, with the PlayStation Network alone worth $10,000,000 per week (Takahashi, 2011).
Its third Internet marketing strategy is, of course, the massive set of websites it maintains around each of its corporate divisions. Each product it launches comes with its own website, whether it be a movie, a video game, an album, or some other content. Furthermore, Sony…