Monday, February 13, 2006

Marketing the Dying Product(s)

Imagine a situation when you are respected as a sagacious old man or ignored as an outdated man??好o more worthy of present day life. Does it not sound like the generation gap? It does??地nd is aptly applicable to the brands & products, which are on the verge of extinction! Hmm! If my memory serves me right, there were many a brands of yesteryear that I used but are lost in oblivion and all that I have now is just fond memories. This is the dilemma that many a brand managers are facing today. What would come of their products? How they are going to be looked at? Laughing stocks in the comity of die hard & cut throat marketers! The big question that looms large on their minds is survival??在ut how?

This is making marketers the challenge of a face lift for these outdated products??多ow to spice up the image of product that is at the verge of fading ??? fast becoming a product to be remembered but not good enough to be bought. The penetration of these products is decreasing with each passing day i.e. old users are decreasing and the new users are not interested anymore. These dying products enjoy very high awareness and recall value but this wonderful strength translates into a disastrous strong weakness i.e. people actually and actively avoid them just like girls avoid their ex-boy friends; they don???t even want to be seen or even associated with them (any more).

Why Products die: - Products are like fashion or fads and thus follow a logical life cycle where opposite breeds opposite i.e. death breeds life and life breeds death and this cycle moves on, - just like with the advent of straight pants bell bottoms vanished and vice versa. Technological evolution or marketing gimmicks have bestowed us with a lot of such products - let it be planned or not but innovations fuel themselves on the death of the existing specie. Challenge today is how to keep the momentum on and rejuvenate these products/brands. Here are some points that one needs to keep in mind in the pursuit of reviving the ex-love affair of product & consumers.

1. Change the feel of the product: If your ex-girl friend likes spikes so why not get them done? Similarly, products can go through a complete ???make-over??? and can alter themselves according to market demands, as well. This new brand philosophy should reinforce the virtues of the equity and fortify them via contemporary image.

Now to revive the ex-love affair, points of consideration should be:

1. Determine the competing product's biggest strength.
2. Find a weakness within the competing product's biggest strength.
3. Choose a message (make necessary changes in your products) that exploits the competing product's weakness.

2. Identify a new appraiser for your product: If it (the love affair) doesn???t click - it doesn???t click, so why not go out and identify a completely different and ignored user base for your products (and most of the times you will find them in masses rather then in niches). For instance, why consider dating only a prom-queen who is over-cluttered, fragmented, and very very choosy. Why not consider going-out with another woman of the lot? The idea is to identify new opportunity segments e.g. people of different SEC or of suburban areas or from a different age-group. Why not go out & hit the ignored ones directly rather than taking an aspirational approach & formulate a message that is highlighting a key problem & give them a solution. This will help them feel empowered; they are no longer in the state of borrowing (a solution which is only meant for upper class) but they are buying their problem-solver.

3. Change the way you approach them: If you are not a potential candidate for a love-affair then try being a friend, a caretaker or even a teacher but consider changing your positioning and if possible try to identify some new uses of your product. The example could be red-syrups: if they are not for impulse consumption then they are not. Why not cash on the fact that the use of one glass daily to enjoy health (and only then you can enjoy anything else even that cola) and it will bring home the desired results. Identify new uses e.g. crush ice, pour red syrup, and have a chilled treat etc.

As for the synopsis, dying products will not be the dilemma of today only if these are positively correlated to the evolutionary cycle otherwise your products too will face this fear of vanishing. So keep on re-inventing the destinations of your brands.

I am naive enough to believe that we can bring organized chaos in our services of change

Changeatoriun - Ayesha Saeed


inspirex said...

just had to leave u ur first comment...:D

Anonymous said...

I have not read it since I am rushing for an 'evening meeting' but this is good for sure. After all, Ayesha Saeed has successfully marketed a dying brand herself.

Ayesha, you rock ! where is my bribe now?

Anonymous said...

Ayesha good work, nice article, interesting name.

Best of Luck