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November 25, 2013

Strategies for Extending Maturity stage (PLC) - 1) Find new uses 2) find new users 3) Induce more usage

What happens when the product reaches maturity and the sales start to slow down or go into a decline? Three strategies can be adopted to extend maturity  and increase sales 1) Find new uses 2) find new users 3) Induce more usage

New uses: The classic example is that of Arm & Hammer baking soda.  As demand for baking soda for food preparation began to decline, the product was extensively researched to find new uses.  Some of the new uses found out for baking soda include
Baking soda can be an odor suppressant for use in refrigerators.
Baking soda can be used as a Clog remover in kitchen sinks
Baking Soda can keep milk from getting spoiled in hot weather (useful in a hot and humid country like India)
Sprinkling a little of baking soda in smelly shoes will deodorize them
Making Baking soda into a paste and scrubbing  the walls will make the walls free of scuffs and crayon marks
Baking soda can be used with a facial cleanser for a gentle, yet effective, exfoliant face
Sprinkling  baking soda on carpets will take away unwanted smells

A variation of the above can be to offer better options for existing users.  Some companies, notably Intel, constantly replace their company and product specific PLCs by introducing higher performance, upgraded versions of their core products.  When the 386 chip was eventually copied by competitors, Intel launched the 486.  Price and volume on the 386 were allowed to fall; marketing emphasis was shifted to the 486.  

When the 486 chip was copied, the Pentium was launched, followed by the Pentium II, the Pentium III, and so on.  In other words, Intel constantly cannibalizes its own products (takes sales away from them and lowers profitability) as a strategy for growing their business.

New users: Products may be initially developed and launched in a single market area, (e.g. the U.S).  As the product becomes established in that market, it may be launched in a second geographic market (perhaps Europe), then a third (maybe Latin America or Asia), and so on.  

Each of the local market areas is likely to conform to the typical PLC.  When the local PLC's are aggregated, they form a combined PLC that is both higher and more extended than the original market's PLC.

Another dramatic example that can be given is that of tooth paste. The sales of toothpaste are dropping in the western markets. One strategy could be to introduce tooth paste for pets – a very interesting concept. One caveat – take care that the branding and the company that is selling the pet tooth paste have to be different from the regular tooth paste maker.  Many of the human customers might find it disconcerting to find out that their own brand and their dog’s brand of tooth paste are the same!

Induce more usage: One of my marketing teacher’s had remarked “the soft squeeze” of the tooth paste packaging being best innovation introduced by the tooth paste makers to induce more usage. Similarly is the tactic of slight increasing of the size of the nozzle so that more tooth paste can be dispensed with each usage (unlike other products once the paste comes out it is not possible to put it back into the tube).

Some more things that have been tried out include, having three colors of tooth paste tubes to indicate three times usage (morning, afternoon and evening). It was tried by an Indian company bit it came out as a naught.

Usually the tack of more usage is through advertising. Initially the tooth paste makers said that one time brushing of teeth was enough. Then they said that it has to be two times one on the morning and once in the evening.  Now it is imperative that one has to brush the teeth every time one has solid or liquid food thus ensuring that we clean our teeth at least 5 to 6 times a day. 5 to 6 times a day is almost a week usage of tooth paste (when a person brushes his teeth once a day). That way they can make us use 4 times more tooth paste and laugh their way to the bank. 

November 21, 2013

Super success story of the Sachin Digigraph campaign by BCCI.

Sachin Tendulkar the great Indian Cricketer has retired. He has left a quarter century of fond memories. His retirement swept India into a wave of sadness and nostalgia.

BCCI (Board of Control of Cricket in India) came out with a very innovative plan to bid  Sachin a fond farewell. It joined hands with and Twitter to launch the “Thank you Sachin Campaign”. It was a very simple campaign (come to think of it, it is always the simplest of things that produce the most dramatic results). Fans of Sachin have to simply send a message saying “ThankYou Sachin” from their Twitter handle and they would instantaneously receive a Digigraph from Sachin Tendulkar. A Digigraph is a Digital Autograph. The Digital  autograph image of Sachin would contain the name of the recipient and would have a personal message from Sachin himself.

This campaign proved to be a super success. The cricket crazy fans of Sachin lapped up the offer. In all 35 digigraphs were on offer and many enthusiasts started collecting all the 35 digigraphs of the master blaster. Yes it is true that the digigraphs are digital have no intrinsic value but might become valuable in let’s say in thirty years’ time!

To ensure that this social media exercise grabs maximum eyeballs, Twitter had send out mails to users informing them of the end of the activity today. “Own a piece of history,” the mail reads. “Tweet to get a personalized photo from Sachin!”

Post Tendulkar’s final match, Rishi Jaitly for Twitter India announced that the campaign had generated a whopping 3 million tweets and counting. The digigraph themselves had been viewed 4 million times. Most importantly, a thank you message came from Tendulkar himself, acknowledging the campaign becoming the most retweeted tweet in India, with the current counter standing at 16,888 RTs and 11,389 favourites.

Great Campaign BCCI, Twitter and Digigraph. Suddenly Twitter is in big news. Many like me were very weary of this very intrusive media. But this campaign forced me on board and I am told many like me opened twitter accounts just to get their “Piece of History”. 

A  lesson to the Indian corporates who have had or still are using Sachin as a brand ambassador. Why is that they did not do similar activities like BCCI? After all BCCI is registered as a nonprofit making organization! It was sad to see that no newspaper (of the ones that I bought) had a special section on Sachin except Eenadu (a telugu dally), the day after Sachin finally retired. It was not that they were caught napping. The match ended at 1130 hours on Saturday and they had a lead time of nearly 12 hours. No wonder the print media is taking a beating from the Electronic media.

The corporates also missed a chance in tieing up with history. Why can’t Boost – the energy Drink, a long time sponsor of Sachin give away autographed bats of Sachin. This would generate enormous amount of good will and would increase the sale too. And why not.  It is payback time. The corporates who made money and increased their market share have to give something back to the fans who finally are responsible for the success of any brand and products. 

Some things to chew upon, Corporate India!