Tag Archives: product life cycle

Farewell to Segway PT

No product lives forever. There are always changes, an evolution, or a passing of the torch as a product fades away. Every product eventually reaches the decline/harvest stage whereby the product is eliminated and resources are reallocated to new technologies.

Such is the case for the original Segway PT (personal transport), which was a pop culture icon, but never really made it to a strong commercial or consumer product. The Segway two-wheeled PT debuted in 2001 and it became a staple in security and law enforcement (remember the movie Paul Blatt: Mall Cop?), but never really caught on for personal use beyond tourists and sight-seeing. The vehicles looked simple, but tended to be hard to use as riders shifted balance. Indeed, in 2003, then President George W. Bush took a tumble off the vehicle while riding!

Segway has expanded its product line into other transportation vehicles including electric scooters. All-in-all, Segway sold 140,000 PTs since its launch. However, the vehicles were less than 1.5% of the company’s revenue last year. China-based Ninebot acquired Segway in 2015 and will halt production of the Segway PT this July 2020.

R.I.P. Segway PT. You were an icon.

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 life cycle of the Segway PT.
  1. Show videos of Segway:

Unveiling of Segway: https://youtu.be/Tppv2NgZOQU

Paul Blart – Mall Cop: https://youtu.be/dfzmYp60I7w

  1. Show the Segway web site: https://www.segway.com/
  2. 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 or be reinvented for a new life.

Source: Associated Press; CNN News; New York Times; other sources

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Bye, Bye VW Beetle

As marketers know, products have a life cycle that ranges from birth to decline. Every product eventually reaches its maturity stage where sales slow, and then it succumbs to a decline stage when the product is eliminated. Such is the case for virtually all products, including the indelible VW Beetle.

The Volkswagen Beetle has been around in some form since 1938, selling more than 24 million cars worldwide. The car was redesigned several times, most recently in the 1990s into the ‘new Beetle’. But now, VW has decided to pull the plug and will discontinue the iconic little car. As of 2020, no more ‘slug Bugs’ will be manufactured.

The Beetle was first introduced in the 1930s, designed by Ferdinand Porsche at the behest of Hitler and known as a “people’s car.” It has been immortalized in films such as Disney’s “The Love Bug” and was also known as a car for hippies hitting the road in the 1960s and 1970s. The Beetle had an iconic shape that was easily recognizable and has a front grill with headlight ‘eyes’ that looks like a smiling face. It’s easy to smile when looking at a Beetle.

There is a ‘final edition’ Beetle which sells for $23,000 – $27,000. And like all good things, there is an end.

R.I.P. VW Beetle. You will be missed.

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 life cycle of automobiles and the VW Beetle.
  4. Visit the VW Web site at to view the final models: https://www.vw.com/models/beetle/section/overview/
  1. A video of VW Beetle manufacturing: https://youtu.be/McV7siceylU
  2. A farewell video can be seen here: https://youtu.be/uKuYXNLGlOc
  3. News video about the Beetle’s last ride: https://youtu.be/0C38YYmNiEQ
  4. 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 or be reinvented for a new life.

Source:  Ad Age; Automobile Magazine; Business Insider; Car and Driver; Forbes; other news sources

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Designer Toothpaste Anyone?

Some products have become so ubiquitous in our lives that we seldom consider how they might be updated to reflect current trends. Consider products such as hand soap, detergent, and toothpaste. After all, when was the last time you truly examined your toothpaste and thought about design and innovation? And what exactly are the ingredients in toothpaste? Go ahead, read the ingredient list and you are likely to uncover it contains components such as triclosan and saccharin. (The FDA has banned triclosan for hand soap, but it is ok to put those ingredients in our mouths? Huh?)

Given how nearly every product seems to be undergoing a make-over, it just seems logical for toothpaste to get an update for today’s consumers. Packaging and ingredients can both be updated, as well as how and where consumers buy it. Today’s newer toothpastes take lessons from the beauty product world, where design and price points vary and make the products more appealing as well.

Of course, revisions may not come cheaply. French company Buly 1803 sells $29 toothpaste in artfully designed packaging and in flavors including orange-clove-cinnamon. Sephora carries a coconut oil dental floss ($8) and a Lush sells a charcoal, kaolin clay, and gunpowder tea tablet that is chewed before brushing. Twice, a brand from musician/artist Lenny Kravitz, has a two-pack of toothpaste (one for morning, another for evening) that sells at $17 for the pair with proceeds going to help Bahama communities.

Go ahead. Read the labels and make your choice.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Show examples of new toothpaste:

 

Hello: https://www.hello-products.com/

Revolve: https://www.revolve.com/marvis/br/2677a2/?srcType=dp_des2

Sephora: https://www.sephora.com/product/cocofloss-P421244

Lush: https://www.lushusa.com/face/teeth/boom%21/04342.html?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI1-6V-LP33wIVA4vICh1cJAaeEAQYBSABEgIiFvD_BwE

Twice: https://www.smiletwice.com/

APA Beauty: https://apabeauty.com/apa-white-toothpaste.html

 

  1. Review toothpaste products. What other products are competitors?
  2. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a positioning map for one of the new companies.
  3. Have each team draw their map on the board.
  4. Debrief exercise.

 

 

Source: Shapiro, B. (4 April 2019). Is that chic toothpaste worth the price? New York Times.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities