Don’t get me wrong – success is great. It’s certainly a lot better than failing. Yet, not every new product meets with success. Sometimes, there are massive flame-outs as a hotly anticipated new product fails to achieve market success. It’s the wise marketer who examines the failures and identifies where it all went wrong.
Technology is one of the most visible industries for both success and failure. Consider the Apple Newton: Failure. Compared to the Apple iPhone: Success. And, technology that seems a sure bet to be quickly adopted takes years, even decades to reach fruition. Consider: Artificial Intelligence.
Some of this year’s failures were massive missteps. Probably one of the scariest and widest reaching failure has to do with cyber security. No one’s personal data seems safe from hackers, and companies that consumers depend on to keep their private information safe have failed. Consider: Equifax. Consumer information including social security numbers and driver’s license data for 145 million Americans was hacked and has caused headaches that could reoccur for years into the future.
On the product side, consider: Juicero. The start-up company raised $120 million from investors but closed its doors this fall. This one isn’t too hard to figure out – Juicero sold a juicer for $700 that could only press produce that came packaged in its own proprietary bags. And, the juicer took longer than someone squeezing the bags by hand.
But successes still abound. Consider these products that achieved market acceptance and gain rave reviews and sales: Apple Watch 3, Nintendo Switch, smart home products, and virtual assistants such as Alexa and Siri.
The line between success and failure is slim, but it can be seen, and oftentimes can be fixed.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the factors that most impact success and failure for new products and services.
- Poll students: What products or services do they think were successes this year? Failures? Why these products?
- Show Juicero: https://youtu.be/5lutHF5HhVA
- Show the Apple Watch: https://www.apple.com/watch/
- Show Nintendo Switch: https://www.nintendo.com/switch/
- What is it that makes these products successful or not? What should marketers do?
Source: Chen, B. (2017, Dec. 13). The biggest tech failures and successes of 2017. New York Time.