Does a new product need to be a new product?

“Among the lyrics, which evoke a timeless truth: Don’t throw the past away, You might need it some rainy day, Dreams can come true again, When everything old is new again” Peter Allen & Carole Bayer.

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This may sound all to familiar, a new product is launched, the excitement builds, the new product or service becomes mainstream and suddenly every man and his dog owns one (growth). After this period, there is usually a decline in product interest and marketers can at that point decide if they want to “re-invent” or perhaps re-energize the product to squeeze out further sales. Just some examples off the top of my head include products such as the Microsoft XBOX 360, introduced to market at a high price point as interest is matched to this, it then goes through different alterations and stages, an overhaul in the dashboard, a drop in price, new games, new accessories etc.

In the background Microsoft is signing up with game publishing houses to secure new titles for their platform to maintain momentum. so the focus became less about the platform and more about the games under development. When the product was at it’s highest point and possibly on it’s decline, the XBOX 360 was overhauled into a number of new shiny sleeker, slimmer, colourful options. Even a copy of the latest block buster title was thrown in. Other examples you may recall have been the iPod, toothpaste etc. I am sure the list will go on and get more interesting. Can you imagine how difficult it would be to re-capture market position if you were selling sugar?

What examples can you reflect on in this space? Where have you seen old products being re-introduced into the market as new products. Has this been successful or unsuccessful? Time to market is critical in this instance. You don’t want to introduce an old product too early or too late and it very much depends on the current trend. Marketing management plays an essential role here, you’re not just introducing a new product, you’re introducing one that everyone has seen before, possibly a timeless collection.

Who recalls the old Polaroid cameras, now the new Polaroid cameras?

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8 thoughts on “Does a new product need to be a new product?

  1. Just like you said the example of Polaroid cameras, the core component of the latest generation has no big difference with the old model, but it improved peripheral components which has a concept that the new model camera is the “camera of Instagram” because its shape of design. This new shape can attract many potential customers who are the fans of Instagram or snapshot.

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  2. Yes, timing is critical.

    Good marketing blitz also – “The Polaroid Socialmatic is a remarkably innovative and exciting camera, designed to empower people all over the world to instantly capture, print and share life’s moments in ways never before possible,” say the manufacturers. “It offers users a unique blend of vintage Polaroid instantprint camera appeal, along with modern conveniences and must-have digital sharing capabilities. Start by snapping your best shots with the 14-megapixel forward-facing and 2-megapixel user-facing cameras, and then instantly print physical photos and/or share them online via the Socialmatic PhotoNetwork and all major social media networks.”

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  3. Yes, I agree with you, timing is important for new product launch. Possibly,what should marketer do in different stage of the PLC is also critical. Marketing management should always try to extend the length of maturity stage before product reach to the decline stage. This will maximize the sales and profit from selling the product.

    In market place, you will find a new release in the shop do not have to be a brand new products. e.g. retro air jordans, Every time when nike re-issue the retro air jordans, there is a huge line outside of footlocker or nike.

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  4. Marketing can do wonders, with sound knowledge of your 5 c’s, STP to 4 p’s , marketers can invent new products or reinvent old ones. Understanding the PLC of a product or brand can assist managers to establish long term plans for sustainability and profits. However, is this enough? With the fast pace of R&D, high competition and globalization, businesses need to plan for managing change.

    Various factors may influence a organization’s ability to do so, ranging from internal factors such as resources, available talent, expertise, rigid/inflexible structures, and external factors such as the surrounding environment, economy, competition, or available technology.

    There are a vast number of businesses that are in need of reinvention but still haven’t been able to maneuver it. According to Fischer (2013) Kodak couldn’t do it, and HP, alongside Nokia and Sony are also struggling. Fischer argues that Kodak and Nokia suffer from ‘outside disruption’ and companies like Sony and Dell suffer from internal constraints such as lack of visionary leadership.

    Planning for PLC is one thing but businesses need to incorporate change as part of their strategic plan. Never leave it till its too late.

    Reference:
    Fischer, B, 2013, ‘The Reinvention Epidemic’, Forbes, retrieved 26 May 2015, .

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    • I agree with atownsen2015, company need to have a both long term and short term strategic plan to sustain its brand, profit and competitive advantage. Kodak, Nokia certainly were unable to produce new, noteworthy and fruit producing ideas, and too much focused on their current strength and capability, no forward thinking. With fast paced technology development and dynamic market place, company should really plan for managing change via its resources, new products, strategies etc..

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  5. It has been said that most of the innovation that has occurred in recent times has been “Design Innovation”. This is to say there have been very few radically new products but rather only slight design improvements to existing products.

    Making a device sleeker and more compact does not make it a new device. The size of the marketing campaign does not make the product new either. Nowhere is this trend seen more clearly that the mobile device markets, companies such as Apple, Nokia and Samsung seen to release new products every year. Whether these products are any different from their predecessors is up for debate, but the marketing campaigns that back these products seem to imply that they are new.

    Are such practices blatant dishonestly or just attempts to stay relevant and give new life to dying products?

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  6. Every generation is a potential new market full of new consumers/customers. Move Franchises for example, how many times has Batman or Superman been reincarnated for a new generation? Fashion is another example, as is the Polaroid Camera. I agree with tmusiwa – a few “design innovations” hardly make it new, but they have to get our attention someway, attract new customers & keep existing customers. How else do you do this when your competitior is always relaesing a “new” product? Fourrings also makes a valid point about the pace of technological change & the need to market that as well.

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  7. I can’t help but think how fashion plays a role with revamping or simply bringing back old products. I was recently in Berlin and visited some friends in a neighbourhood that has in recent years become quite popular amongst the young, alternative, hipster crowd and was taken by surprise by the number of people I saw sitting in neighbourhood cafes and open spaces with an old-fashioned typewriter! I later learnt that it was the “cool” thing to do. So are typewriter manufacturers going to profit from this latest trend, or is it going to be a short-lived craze? Is it the manufacturer driving the typewriter comeback through some marketing tactic or is fashion the true driving force?

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