Tag Archives: product life cycle

Twinkies: Friend and Foe?

Admit it – sometimes we just like to eat foods that we know aren’t healthy for us. They taste so darn good that it makes us happy to eat – and share – treats. Opinion surveys from NPR, Boston Consulting, and IRI found that while the majority of people report eating healthy, indulgence was a top food trend.

And certain snacks are also nostalgic. One of the most enduring snacks is probably Twinkies. Twinkies disappeared from our lives a year ago. Luckily, they were resurrected when Hostess Brands Inc. was acquired by private equity firms, returning the light yellow sponge cake with creamy filling to the shelves.

They may not be healthy, but Twinkies do make us smile.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  2. Show the video “Eating Twinkies with God” (it will make everyone happy): https://youtu.be/y9N8OXkN0Rk
  3. Show the Hostess Web site: http://www.hostesscakes.com/
  4. What are the main messages on the site?
  5. Use a pyramid model to build the key messages: Top of pyramid – most important message that the customer wants to hear. Middle of pyramid – how the product achieves its value for the customer. Bottom of pyramid – proof points used to validate claims.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a key message pyramid for an un-healthy snack food. (Make sure students select a target market first. Different target markets would have different message pyramids.)

Source: Bloomberg News    

 

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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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