Posts Tagged ‘Study’
August 25th, 2010
DOES A RETRO PRODUCT STRATEGY REALLY WORK?
Lately, I have been thinking about retro product strategies. You know, when companies maintain or introduce new products that are rooted in designs or use models of the past. I am not talking about products that are just a continuation of trendy or faddy products and categories from years gone by – lava lamps, soda bottle dispensing machines, rotary telephones, and other forms of retro collectibles. No… what I am thinking about are 1) products that have withstood the sands of time and are still popular today and 2) products that are introduced with modern features but packaged in industrial designs to look like they are retro or vintage. They are designed to evoke feelings of nostalgia and of the durability inherent in yesteryear’s products. Let me explain these two types of products in more detail.
Old Products That Still Sell Well Today
Most of these products are CPG-type food and sundry products. They may have been reformulated, have had new packaging/sizes, and varied pricing over time; however, they are products that have been around for a very long time. Examples include the original McDonald’s hamburger, Crest toothpaste, Johnson’s Baby Shampoo, WD40, Pyrex, Jack Daniel’s whiskey,[RG1] Crayola crayons, and so on. They still sell very well because they have become imbedded in the fabric and use of our everyday life. They were the best in class then and best in class now. Their product designs and packaging are timeless and very much aligned with their histories.
Some products have become retro because customers never perceived the incremental features and benefits of newer products as outweighing the old products. A great example is the HP 12C calculator. HP makes other calculators (some more fully featured than the HP 12C), but old-school [RG2] people (note: you started work before 1990) still prefer the original 12C.
This was quite a surprise to HP early on. As a result, HP adjusted its strategy and has not only continued to produce the calculator since 1981, but created derivatives such as the 12C Platinum and 12C 25th Anniversary calculators.
What happens when companies push too far with product development that favors the new over the old? Nothing positive, I am afraid. They [JB3] violate one of those universal laws of marketing by creating products that their customers don’t want. Remember the New Coke – Old Coke marketing and product debacle? Coke had to reintroduce “Coke Classic” to address the customers’ complaints and differentiate the product from “New Coke.” Later, the company killed the “New Coke” product and quietly renamed “Coke Classic” just plain, regular “Coke” again.
Still other old products become niche products with certain customers and applications. For example, DJs and rappers like to scratch real, old-fashioned records, using turntables, when they perform or record and use equipment especially for that purpose. Of course, some of the newer versions have USB interfaces and other ways to plug them into computers and recording equipment. A lot of musicians like the sound of old synthesizers like the Yamaha DX-7.
Modern Products That Draw On the Past for Inspiration
A retro product is a modern product that draws on the past for inspiration. Some retro products are replicas or reissues [RG4] of old favorites, while others are completely new designs with style or detail touches that bring to mind an earlier period. Some industries in which fashion and design are important excel at this.
For example, take the new Chevy Camaro or the gull-winged Mercedes SLS AMG, whose lineages are clearly tied to the muscle and sports car looks of the 1960s and 1970s. Baby Boomers in their 40s and 50s desire those cars, and indeed many drove them back in the day. People like to play old video games either through emulation or on new gaming platforms like the Xbox 360. This is often called retrogaming. Another specific and clear example of this trend is the way in which the sport garments from the ‘70s and ‘80s are used nowadays. Soccer jackets, jerseys and T-shirts with former logos of the soccer associations are very popular; their designs commonly invoke the old days by using lines in the sides and combinations of colors characteristic of those times.
Brands such as Adidas, Converse, and Nike have their own divisions that specialize in retro products. Jukeboxes could have evolved their designs to keep up with the times; however, even though they play digital files or CDs these days, the design is firmly rooted in the past. Some Motorola police radios look remarkably similar to the ones used in the 1970s, albeit with better LCD displays.
When Does A Retro Strategy Work?
Of course, that is the $100M question. Nobody wants a retro version of an Apple II PC , the original, walkie-talkie sized Motorola cell phone (sometimes called the “brick”), or VisiCalc, the original spreadsheet software. Clearly there are limits to what a retro strategy can achieve. High technology devices that are constantly changing – getting faster, cheaper, better, smaller, and so on – don’t do particularly well with a retro strategy. In some ways, the most successful retro product strategies are derived when the customer views the technology or product as so mature that it cannot be improved upon. Like a fine wine, time makes the products better (compared to alternatives). Retro product strategy is also tied to retro brand revival. This means the brand and the products are revived together, as opposed to creating a retro product within a portfolio of an existing product line and brand.
Retro product strategies seem to work better in categories such as toys, food, candy, beverages, sundries, [RG5] fashion/apparel, music and cars. With rare exceptions, they don’t work well with most IT products, communications, consumer electronics, etc.
In its paper “Everything Old Is New Again,” DDB Communications tied the success of retro products to their ability to 1) allow for rediscovery, 2) connect with timeless consumer values, 3) stay true but contemporize, and 4) build a community around the products.
In summary, understanding the role of nostalgia in the consumption and customer experience is a valuable product strategy. If it is there and can be tapped, it could be a fruitful business strategy for your business.
Please share your classic and retro product cases and observations on this blog.
July 11th, 2010
The CMO Council State of Marketing Report, featuring the 2010 Marketing Outlook Audit, is the largest independent assessment of senior marketing executives today. This annual global benchmarking initiative undertaken by the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, gains insights into how senior marketing decision makers are managing marketing mix modeling, budget allocations and media mix spend, and investments into infrastructure, technology platforms and enhancements to internal competencies. Given the economic challenges and market pressures worldwide, this year’s review of ‘08 performance and ‘09 challenges and intentions is far deeper and wider than before. The results of this study will be extremely valuable to all participants seeking peer-level input and consensus on critical issues and priorities in the year ahead.
If you to be up to date on what marketing thought leaders are thinking about and doing in their marketing programs, activities, and spend, this is the report to read.
There are many excellent conclusions and observations available in this document. Some of the big picture marketing goals and strategies of 2010 according to a survey of senior marketing leaders include:
- Reallocating more money towards electronic media that is engaging and helps drive increases in customer loyalty.
- Undertake very big consumer insights and business intelligence drive as we gear up to invest in emerging markets.
- Shifting marketing dollars to direct sales engagement and sales training.
- Need to work on coordination and time management of integrated marketing campaign teams.
- Be wiser in channeling the right message into the correct channel to maximize effectiveness.
- Improve communication between marketing and non-marketing employees.
Improve marketing alignment across the value chain.
In recent years, a large number of companies have improved their marketing performance by creating greater internal alignment between Sales and Marketing. Now, many are expanding this effort beyond their four walls to include their key value chain partners. For example, companies in the consumer packaged goods and consumer electronics industries are collaborating with retailers to align their marketing programs, investments, and planning.
Harness the power of social media.
New digital technologies and social media channels are changing the way customers think and behave. Established companies are naturally reluctant to shift their focus away from traditional marketing channels that have served them well in the past. Also, many companies don’t know how to operate effectively in this new environment, and are afraid of losing control over their marketing messages. Unfortunately, sitting on the sidelines is no longer an option for most. Conversations that have a profound impact on your product and brand are already happening in these new channels.
Get more value from customer analytics.
By now, nearly all major companies are likely making a conscious effort to unearth the valuable insights hidden in their customer data. In fact, according to this year’s CMO Survey, 62 percent of respondents plan on “improving customer segmentation and targeting,” making it the number one improvement strategy for 2010. Yet our experience working with companies around the world suggests that most will barely scratch the surface when it comes unleashing the full power of customer analytics.
Embrace customer service.
The importance of good customer service will continue to increase as consumers feel more and more comfortable airing their grievances online. Consumers don’t want to go to this level. As one consumer told us in a recent focus group, “I’ll call and then email, but if I don’t get the help I’m looking for, look out! They can’t ignore me when I put it on Facebook and Twitter.” Social media levels the playing field. Progressive marketers will embrace this accountability instead of fearing it.
Scale through automation.
63% of marketing executives are looking to automation to improve efficiency and campaign effectiveness. The two most common marketing automation solutions planned for deployment in 2010 are for email marketing (46%) and social networking (39%). As a provider of automation tools for both of these channels, we have seen how this type of automation can improve response. For example, we have witnessed automated messages triggered to email subscribers based on their online behavior generated as much as 70 times the conversion rate of non-triggered messages.
Measure what matters.
As marketers look to improve their online marketing capabilities, they must look beyond top-line performance metrics. High-level metrics are still the most commonly used measure of online effectiveness with 63% looking at page views and registrations. Comparatively, only 38% measure online effectiveness via transactions and/or subscriptions and 22% look at deal values and/or selling cycles.
A summary of the report is available for free here.
The complete report is available for $199 here.
I would be interested in hearing your feedback about the conclusions and trends to see if your company is experiencing facing similar challenges and opportunities for the marketing function.
May 7th, 2010
I recently had a chance to read an exciting new report that was released by the CMO Council on the current state of collaboration and how it impacts innovation within an organization with suppliers, partners, vendors, and customers. How do we, as marketers, lead the conversation to optimize the customer innovation and collaboration cultures inside and outside our companies?
Today, we live and work in a highly interconnected world. Global interdependence has become a definitive economic reality. The flow of goods, information and capital across borders is accelerating at an astounding pace. World exports grew from about 40 percent of global production in 1990 to more than 55 percent in 2004, according to the World Bank. Cross border listings on world stock exchanges have also increased rapidly. Non-U.S. listings on the New York Stock Exchange doubled from about 8.5 percent in 1994 to 17 percent at the end of 2003 and, as of June 30, 2009, there were some 3,100 foreign listings on the world’s 52 leading exchanges. Nearly all Global 2000 companies now derive more than half of their sales from international markets.
For most companies today, borderless business is far more than a statistical abstraction. It reflects a new way of doing business. In a 24×7 interconnected economy, corporations are relying more heavily on outside business partners to innovate and deliver products and services, drive critical business processes and ensure seamless experiences for customers around the world. As a result, companies of all sizes and across all industries are seeking to redesign the way they do business in order to integrate a diverse mix of suppliers, partners and vendors more tightly into the fabric of their business. To do so, companies are seeking to transform the way they connect, communicate and collaborate across complex interconnected networks of customers, suppliers, business partners and vendors. If improving and integrating internal enterprise processes and systems was the mandate of business in the 1990s, today those requirements extend far beyond corporate boundaries.
The Collaborate to Innovate study, conducted by the Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum and the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council, takes a new look at the state of business collaboration in the early 21st Century.
Sponsored by Sterling Commerce and AT&T, Collaborate to Innovate is based on an in-depth survey of more than 400 executives and managers whose companies do business around the world. Some 36 percent of respondents represent companies with revenues of more than $1 billion. In addition to our quantitative survey, we conducted 23 qualitative discussions with leading academic experts and executives with major global corporations who are deeply involved in supply-side and demand-side value chain partnership management and development.
As part of the Collaborate to Innovate initiative, the BPM Forum and CMO Council has aggregated statistics on the market impacts, supply and value chain management, customer collaboration and innovation cultures across various regions and industries.
To download the complete report, please find it here.
The Business Performance Management (BPM) Forum is dedicated to advancing performance accountability, process improvement, operational visibility and compliance in global organizations. It provides support to thousands of senior executives and practitioners representing enterprises with more than $500 billion in combined annual revenues. The BPM Forum’s C-level members engage in research, thought leadership, and knowledge exchange programs around a variety of strategic issues and challenges. www.bpmforum.org
The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council’s 4,000 members control more than $120 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and it’s strategic interest communities include over 12,000 global executives across 90 countries in multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council’s strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Brand Management Institute, and theForum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME). More information on the CMO Council is available at www.cmocouncil.org.
March 4th, 2010
Media Research Team Finds Approximately 293 Newspapers Folded in 2009, while Counting both Print and Online 1,126 Magazines Shuttered
Vocus has published a study that offers some shocking trends in the media indstry. They offer analysis from Vocus media research experts, while also providing a peek into an increasingly uncertain future. While one could speak of the declining trends in print media, online media was also impacted. What is a marketing person to do? This report helps you identify mega trends and it will help in building your future media plans and strategies.
LANHAM, Md. January 19, 2009 — Vocus, Inc. (NASDAQ: VOCS) a leading provider of on-demand software for public relations management, today announced it has released its landmark study titled: “2010 State of the Media.” The report covers the four traditional media segments including newspapers, magazines, television and radio – and analyzes the net outcome of 2009, makes forecasts for 2010 and finally looks at what this means to the PR professional.
The report is numbers-driven and key findings include:
• Approximately 293 newspapers folded in 2009, with nearly 100 shuttering in Q1
• Eight magazines with a circulation of 1 million or more ceased publication
• Including print and online, 1,126 magazines shuttered in 2009
• Radio stations gave up more than 10,000 jobs
• More than 100 TV stations were affected by their parent companies filing Chapter 11
“2010 State of the Media” forecasts that major newspapers have probably made as many cuts as possible and that as a result journalists are often “performing dual roles.” The report also takes a look as new media business models and notes that content sharing trends are likely to continue in 2010: “As newspapers diminish, look for more joint ventures between surviving papers and broadcast outlets and an increase in media integration.”
The report, written for the public relations professional, is based on ongoing research by the Vocus media research team. Members of the media and blogging community can request a copy of the complete survey results by sending an e-mail to fstrong-at-vocus-dot-com.
A copy of the report can be downloaded at: http://www.vocus.com/resources/state-of-media/index.asp
Marketing Sherpa also produced a report on Social Media Marketing which is also a good read. While this is a paid study, an informative summary is available for free here.
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