Tag Archives: technology

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

 

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Working Out from Home

The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is changing consumer behavior and the dynamics of many industries. We have seen shortages of essential items such as toilet paper, eggs, and flour. There has also been a steep rise in the sales and uses of technology as people have moved to working from home and dramatically reduced their social interactions. Virtually all aspects of our lives have been impacted in one way or another, including how we exercise and work out.

With gyms and fitness centers closed due to coronavirus concerns, people have moved to new ways to work out. New fitness routines include using old-fashioned home equipment, online Zoom workouts, and high-tech Internet-connected equipment. Many of the newer market entries also include artificial intelligence to help determine and guide workout plans.

The new equipment is decidedly interactive; some include motion-sensor cameras, 3-D modeling, A.I. generated coaching, automatic adjustments when the user is struggling, and mobile apps. These workout devices include stationary cycles, treadmills, weight-lifting equipment, and interactive mirrors. Most require a hefty initial investment plus a monthly subscription fee. Some even provide interaction during workouts with other people, and help build a community of patrons. However, if you want social interaction, you’ll have to wait for gyms to reopen.

Ready, set, go!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Review key aspects of developing a product positioning map, including determining the axis labels for positioning.
  2. Review various fitness products and services. What products are competitors?
  3. Show a variety of newer, high-tech fitness devices:

Carol: https://carolfitai.com/

Tempo Fit: https://tempo.fit/

Bowflex: https://www.bowflex.com/

Tonal: http://tonal.com/

Hyfitgear: https://www.hyfitgear.com/

Peloton: https://www.onepeloton.com/

Mirror: https://www.mirror.co/

  1. Have each team research one of the companies. What does each provide? Cost? Market? Subscription? Activities?
  2. Then, have each team provide a positioning map based on their research of the companies.

Source: New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

 

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Airbnb: Agility in Services

Companies and marketers are facing unusual times. Since the coronavirus has impacted global businesses, nearly all companies have had to make pivots in strategy to accommodate the rapidly changing environmental conditions.

One of the industries hardest hit by the coronavirus is travel and tourism. Airplanes are nearly empty as states implement stay-at-home policies. Hotels have empty rooms. Restaurants are restricted to curb-side delivery only. Honestly, it’s a mess and every marketer has to be up for the challenge and demonstrate agility.

Case in point: Airbnb has had to halt its ‘Experiences’ business where local residents provide unique experiences to travelers. It hosts 40,000 events in more than 1,000 cities around the globe. But, due to coronavirus, the in-person experiences are closed until stay-at-home restrictions lift.

Pivoting with the changing environment, Experiences offers online events in more than 30 countries. Experiences include tango lessons with a Latin Grammy nominee, guided meditation with sleepy sheep in United Kingdom, meditation with a Japanese Buddhist monk in Japan, and my favorite – a day in the life of an Olympic bobsledder!

Airbnb provides free experiences for isolated senior, giving them an opportunity to meet new people, but also travel anywhere in the world to learn something new.

Search out new experiences.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the differences between marketing products and marketing services.
  2. What has been the impact of the coronavirus on the travel and tourism industry?
  3. What are ways that this industry can stay relevant and responsive to a changing marketplace?
  4. View the Airbnb Web site: https://www.airbnb.com/s/experiences/online
  5. A video about the service can also be found at: https://youtu.be/XhaTCzKrEtE
  6. Discuss the Airbnb experiences. Which ones would student try?

Source: Ad Week; Associated Press; other news sources

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