Tag Archives: New product introduction

Amazon’s Echo


Move over Siri – Amazon has a new interactive device with its own unique voice. The new product is called ‘Amazon Echo’ – a device designed around the users’ voice and it is always on and ready to respond to requests for music, news, information, weather, and more.

The product has multiple microphones which can hear the user from any direction, even if it is playing music. It uses an on-device keyword spotting to detect the wake word, which then streams audio to the cloud, and leverages Web services to recognize and respond to requests. Want to know how tall Mount Everest is, or the latest weather prediction? Just ask Echo and it will quickly search out the correct answer. It even has the ability to learn and adapt to speech patterns, vocabulary, and person preferences. There is also an app available for Fire OS, Android, iOS, and desktop browsers so that it is still available even when the user is not at home.

Echo is currently only available by invitation (request an invite on Amazon.com). The price for Prime members is $99, and for non-Prime members at $199.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. Show the Web site for Amazon’s Echo: http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo/ref_=ods_dp_ae
  3. What is the target market for this product?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  5. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?
  6. Debrief the exercise.

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Tide Pods Win Market Share

8Consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) is one of the toughest categories for marketers. It’s crowded with a many similar products, the products tend to be in the mature stage of the product life cycle, and companies spend tens of millions of dollars on marketing campaigns each year! This translates to the need to keep products innovative, fresh, valuable, and memorable. Or, as least as memorable as products such as shampoo, toothpaste, and detergent can be.

However, with the launch last year of Tide Pods, detergent has recently emerged as a very memorable product. In the first year of sales for Tide Pods, the product has reached roughly $500 million in revenue. This is quite a feat given that of the 1,500 new consumer-packaged-goods launched last year, only 21% reached first year sales of even $50 million.

Tide Pods did not have a smooth market entry; the product was launched six months later than scheduled and, because of supply shortages, did not have retail promotions. Even today, supply problems have caused the Pods to be excluded from coupon offers. Despite these problems, Pods have earned the lion’s share of the market. Why? One reason is that Pods provide consumers with a new value and offering a unit-dose product (this means consumers can’t put more detergent than is needed into the washer; over-dosing is a common way manufacturers increase sales). Pods also appeal to specific market segments such as urbanites, apartment dwellers, and college students.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:


  1. First, discuss the four main market strategies: market penetration, market development, product development, and diversification. Which strategy did Tide Pods choose?
  2. View several of the Tide Pods commercials: http://youtu.be/GNz4A1rMTnA and http://youtu.be/W_3SMf2tyck
  3. Poll students: What laundry detergent do they use, and why?
  4. Next, discuss the product life cycle stages. Where are most CPG products? Where is detergent?
  5. How has Tide Pods changed its position in the PLC?
  6. Divide students into teams. Select a common CPG category (i.e., toothpaste, shampoo, soap).
  7. Have students select a market strategy to pursue (i.e., product development, etc.), then have them develop a marketing plan for that strategy.


Source:  Ad Age Daily, Brandchannel.com, other news sources


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Starbucks – It’s not just for breakfast

Your favorite local coffee shop may soon be serving more than mochas and lattes. On January 23rd Starbucks announced that it is expanding its concept of serving wine, beer, and premium food offerings in a number of different markets in the U.S. Yes – you read this right – Starbucks will soon be selling alcohol in the evenings, thus expanding how and when customers can visit the stores. In the evenings for a more relaxing beverage, hold the caffeine please.

Starbucks has been a favorite destination for coffee lovers for several decades now. But once the day light is gone, the visits decline. Thus, more customers will likely visit Starbucks in the evening hours, or as they call it, “day parts.” This is the quiet time for the stores; the morning rush is over and the afternoon business slows down. Serving wine and beer in the afternoons will increase store traffic for drinks and food.

The company has been quietly testing the new concept in selected locations in Pacific Northwest area. This month’s announcement will expand the new concept to stores in Chicago, Atlanta, and southern California.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Start by asking students where they get their caffeine from during the day. The usual answers (depending on geography) will cover Starbucks, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, Caribou, and other cafes.
  2. Ask what times of day they visit the coffee shops. Why only during those times? What would incent them to visit these shops in the late afternoon or early evening hours?
  3. Have students visit the Starbucks Web site at www.starbucks.com.
    1. See if they can find information about the new product offering. (Hint: It’s hard to find; go to the news announcement section to find the information.)
    2. Why is Starbucks staying relatively quiet about the new product introduction?
    3. What market segments will the company attract?
    4. Who will likely compete with the new offerings?
    5. Does this enhance or hurt the Starbucks brand?
    6. What will the company need to do to drive store traffic for the new products?


(Sources: Wall Street Journal, Advertising Age, Brandchannel.com, Business Week, New York Times)

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