Tag Archives: product life cycle

Farewell to the VCR!

vcr

We know the latest and greatest technologies – new product announcements are trumpeted from the hill tops. But what about old stalwarts? Do we even realize when a faithful product line is put out to pasture?

We can now add the loyal video cassette recorder (VCR) to the list of gone, but not-forgotten products. This fall, Funai Corp. of Japan announced that it would stop production of VCRs due to difficultly acquiring needed parts. Funai was the world’s last remaining manufacturer of the VCR. According to the company, only 750,000 units were sold worldwide in 2015, making it uneconomical to continue to source and produce the product.

VCRs were first introduced in the 1950s. The technology wowed the scientific and technology communities, even though it took decades for VCRs to make it into consumer households. The product was so stunning that when it was first launched in the late 1950s, units sold for $50,000 each, and more than 100 orders were placed the week the VCR debuted! Just think of that in today’s dollars, and without any Internet to hype the product!

VCRs started making it to into homes in the 1960, and in the 1970s competition from Sony and JVC propelled it to wide availability. In the 1980s, VCRs cost between $600 and $1,200. By 1982, there were five million units in homes, and that number tripled to 15 million by 1984.

Alas, all products eventually must eventually come to an end. The killer product taking out VCRs was the DVD player. DVD players were released in 1997 and by 2002 DVD sales surpassed video cassettes.

R.I.P. to the VCR. Gone, but not forgotten.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various products and services into each stage.
  3. Next, discuss the VCR and show the video of the first public tape recorder demonstration: https://youtu.be/uNgLs6xjVIs
  4. Another video showing a TV advertisement for the VCR: https://youtu.be/MkzA9mCtJz8 (note to students – no remote control yet!)
  5. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise products/services to that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.

Source:  New York Times

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Update: Pokémon Go

poke

When Pokémon Go debuted in July, it instantly gathered millions of fans. In just over two months, roughly 500 million people downloaded the mobile game, beating out records set by Candy Crush and Angry Birds. A big part of the attraction for users was the way in which the game incorporated augmented reality to blend the real world with a virtual world. It got millions of people up and outside to play the game, sometimes leading to surprises such as huge crowds gathering together spontaneously.

But, the party may be ending. After being the top-grossing U.S. iPhone app for 74 days, it is now losing the top position to new games. However, estimates are that 1 in 10 smartphone owners are still laying in the U.S., but in Japan the number of players are 1 in 4. The 30-day retention rate is the second best in the Google Play store and it has earned as estimated $500 million in only a few months.

New features allow players to pair up with a Pokémon to earn game currency. There is also a new Apple Watch app along with a wearable device, named Pokémon Go Plus, which lights up and vibrates when the player gets near a Pokestop or a new Pokémon.

The question now facing the company is how to keep the game alive and on social networking.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: Who has played Pokémon Go? Who is still playing it?
  2. Show the Web site and note the product/country updates: http://pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/en/
  3. For fun, show a video of hundreds of people converging on a park to capture Pokémon: https://youtu.be/p-XnTDcQZjY
  4. Discuss the stages in the product life cycle. What are the marketing objectives in each stage?
  5. Where does Pokémon Go fit in the product life cycle? Why?
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team draw a product life cycle and place various other gaming products and services into each stage.
  7. Next, have students brainstorm on how to reposition or revise Pokémon Go so that they can move into an earlier stage of the life cycle.

Source: Associated Press  

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Hanging Out in Hammocks

Hammock

Aww, sweet summer days, just lounging in a hammock with a book and a glass of lemonade. It doesn’t get much better than that. And lest you think that hammocks are just for grandma and grandpa, there has been a strong resurgence among Millennial shoppers for the 1,000+ year old product.

Sales of hammocks have increased 30% compared with the previous year, growing to sales of more than $53 million. Even Amazon has gotten into the action, including a discounted hammock n its Prime Day sale in July and selling out 24,000 units. Other retailers are in on the action too, including L.L Bean, Moosejaw, and Wayfair.

Why hammocks for Millennials? This is a product that is relatively inexpensive, can be shared with friends, and a way of hanging out on campus with friends, or in a forest with nature, or just in your own backyard. If camping, try out the tent-hammock hybrid.

Want to hang out?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
1. Discuss the different stages of the product life cycle. What stage are hammocks?
2. Show some of the hammocks online: L.L. Bean – http://www.llbean.com; REI – http://www.rei.com
3. Divide students into teams. Have each team find develop a marketing mix for selling hammocks to college students.
4. What are the key factors?
5. What are the issues and concerns?

Source: Ad Age Daily

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