Sometimes timing has everything (or at least a lot) to do with the success of a new product launch. General Motors figured that rushing the redesigned Chevrolet Malibu to market might help give it an edge in the market. They wanted to jump ahead of Japanese rivals that were planning introductions later in the year. Unfortunately, it now looks like the timing wasn’t right, leading to “GM’s First Move Disadvantage” (Bloomberg Businessweek, September 27, 2012). The article might help you lead-off a broader discussion of first-mover/pioneering advantage versus the fast follower strategy. You might also bring up the fact that development times for complex products like automobiles are typically three years or more.
This article, “Philly Cream Cheese’s Spreading Appeal” (Bloomberg Businessweek, December 12, 2011) is a great example that has many classroom uses. Sometimes I like to describe an extended case study — to help students integrate the marketing strategy planning process — this article is that type of example. Sales of Philadephia brand cream cheese were pretty much flat (mature or decline stage of the product life cycle) for most of the last decade. Then Kraft researchers (market research) noticed that heavy users of the product were using cream cheese as an ingredient in their cooking — not simply as a spread for bagels. Starting in Europe back in 2008, Kraft’s brand managers tapped into social media and the Internet to gather and share recipes using Philadephia brand cream cheese, they promoted it on cooking shows and with contests (Promotion). In the U.K. the share of customers using cream cheese as an ingredient (effective repositioning) has almost doubled to 37% — and sales are up 20% in Europe (data – it is nice to show case studies in class with real results). All of this in a mature product category. What a great example of how to revitalize a brand. Check out the article for more details on the strategy. Also posted at Learn the 4 Ps.
With the launch of the Nissan Leaf and the soon-to-be available Chevy Volt, Americans finally have access to mass produced electric cars. But how will consumer respond to these new products? There are many challenges facing Nissan and Chevrolet. This article “Electrics power into mainstream” (USA Today, November 8, 2010) outlines some of these challenges. You could have your students read this article and then ask how Nissan should deal with these challenges? Run through the marketing strategy elements – target market and the 4 Ps. Our students can relate to this market. How Chevrolet, Nissan, and eventually Ford and other automakers deal with these issues will have a profound impact on how quickly electric cars are adopted — and on our environment.
We love the Nintendo DS and Wii! It is such a great example to use for market segmentation — and we use it as a chapter opening case scenario in our segmentation and targeting chapter (chapter 4). Nintendo found a market segment, the casual gamer, that was under-served. They designed products for this market and soon was selling more game consoles than Sony and Microsoft which targeted hard-core gamers. Now things are changing. Sony and Microsoft are attacking the casual gamer market as “Nintendo Goes for the Hard Core with Its 3DS” (Bloomberg Businessweek, October 28, 2010). Read about it here.
This shows new product development, but also how a product category is moving from growth to maturity. Nice supplement to segmentation and targeting — and an update to chapter 4 if you are using one of our books.
A disruptive innovation “improves a product or service in ways the market does not expect, typically by being lower priced or designed for a different set of consumers” (Wikipedia – Disruptive Technology). This Wall Street Journal article “Using the iPad to Connect” (October 13, 2010) describes such an innovation in working with special needs kids. The iPad plus a $190 software package might replace devices costing from $2500 – $15,000. It might be interesting to describe this — or show the video in class — and ask students how smart phones or the iPad might disrupt other markets.
The example might be useful when covering new product development or the product life cycle. NOTE: also posted at Learn the 4 Ps.