Tag Archives: product development

Tech’s Successes and Failures

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:

  1. Discuss the factors that most impact success and failure for new products and services.
  2. Poll students: What products or services do they think were successes this year? Failures? Why these products?
  3. Show Juicero: https://youtu.be/5lutHF5HhVA
  4. Show the Apple Watch: https://www.apple.com/watch/
  5. Show Nintendo Switch: https://www.nintendo.com/switch/
  6. 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.

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New! Ruby Chocolate

We are all familiar with various chocolates – milk, dark, and white – but have you heard of “Ruby chocolate” yet? The new chocolate was developed by a Swiss chocolate maker, making it the first new natural color for chocolate since white chocolate hit the market more than 80 years ago!

Ruby chocolate has a pinkish color and a fruity flavor; it uses a special type of cocoa bean that has a natural berry flavor that has been described as both sour, yet sweet. The product is expected to help grow sales in the stagnant global chocolate market. The new flavor has been tested in various countries, including the U.S., U.K., China, and Japan. The positive response is particularly strong in China where the color red is attractive in the marketplace.

The beans used come from specific regions and countries, and the color is due to the powder which is extracted during processing. No berries or colors are added, making it the first time a natural reddish chocolate is produced.

What’s your favorite chocolate bar?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. This article fits in nicely with the in-class activity of designing a new candy bar (Chapter 1).
  2. Divide students into teams. Assign each team a specific target market and have them develop the marketing mix for a new candy product of their choosing.
  3. Next, show Ruby chocolate: https://www.barry-callebaut.com/
  4. What target market will this appeal to, and why?
  5. Have students now revise their marketing mix to promote Ruby chocolate products.

Source:  Bloomberg News, New York Times, other news sources

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Google Glass Evolves and Repositions

Remember Google Glass? Google Glass had a short life; it was pulled from the market in 2015 amidst complaints about technology, usefulness, price, and privacy. The original product was focused on consumers as wearable technology. The glasses had a smart heads-up display and camera, allowing users to connect to data and share information and images.

However, Alphabet (Google’s parent company) has now relaunched the product as Glass Enterprise Edition (EE). The new Glass EE is being repositioned into the enterprise/industrial market as wearable tech for workers. Alphabet has been testing Glass EE at locations for companies including Boeing, General Electric, Volkswagen, Samsung, Sutter Health, and DHL.

The Glass EE looks similar to the original, but has a better camera, extended battery life, faster Wi-Fi and processor, and has a new red light that turns on when recording. The electronics are now modular in the shape of a pod which can be detached and reattached to any frame, including safety goggles.

How useful are they? GE reported a 46% decrease in time for certain activities, and 85% of the workers believe the system will help reduce mistakes. Glass EE is sold exclusively through Glass Partners. Prices vary depending on the software customization, customer support, and training.

It’s tough to reposition a failed product, but Glass EE seems ready for an entirely new market.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Review Glass EE product: https://www.x.company/glass/
  3. What products are competitors (direct and indirect)?
  4. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for Glass. Start with the original Google Glass, and then reposition for the Glass EE product.
  5. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  6. Debrief exercise.

Source: Wired, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, other news sources

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