How to Put a New Spin on An Old Product

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The price of cocoa used in making candy products has soared over the past few years. Candy makers were left with two obvious options: charge more for their product or make their products smaller. But wait, there was a third option... use less product and add air as a filler to keep the size the same and sell it to customers as a "lighter, healthier" option with fewer calories.

These "tastes better, guilt-free chocolate" campaigns have been so successful by some of the major candy makers in the United States that people never stopped to think that fewer calories really meant that they were paying more for less to keep the candy companies in the black.

Before Dropping a Slow-Moving Product, Try a New Spin

If a product is not selling well, there is a reason. You may have overestimated its demand, have priced it too high to be competitive, or are trying to sell it to the wrong market. But many great ideas and products fail as a result of poor, inadequate, or misguided marketing efforts that can be easily resolved with a new and fresh approach. Starting from scratch with a new product takes inspiration, time, and money. Before you go back to square one, think like a marketer and ask yourself "Can I add air to my chocolate idea?"

Putting a Spin on Skyrocketing Costs

If sales drop because you need to raise your prices, consider doing something the completion is probably not doing- be honest about your need to increase the price- a strategy that worked for Ben and Jerry's.

The popular, premium ice cream brand, Ben and Jerry's, is only sold in small containers for a reason. Due to the cost of their high-quality ingredients, it would be almost impossible to sell a half gallon for less than $10 -- something most consumers would balk at. In 2009, when the cost of ingredients increased, competitors, including Haagen-Daz, began reducing the amount of product in pints from 16 ounces (a true pint) to 14 ounces, while keeping the price the same.

This change was done without informing consumers, and in such a way as to be deceptive, and Ben and Jerry's took notice almost immediately. Instead of reducing their own pints, they seized the moment to publicly protest that you cannot fairly call 14 ounces a pint and exposed the sneaky tactics of other companies. When Ben and Jerry's finally did raise their prices, sales did not drop.

Sale With a Spin Anyone

Sales work for a variety of reasons, but here is a clever to spin on sales to push slow-moving products off the shelf. During a recession, consumers pay close attention to where their dollars go and running a sale may not be enough to get them to pull out their credit cards. But when you combine price incentive with a visual aid as to increase the value of the item you may find it easier to close the deal.

Put a higher quality, higher priced item on sale next to an inferior product of comparable price. If you run an e-commerce business, you can add sidebars showing "inferior" products at similar costs. People will consider the sales price as more significant when they see that the same amount of money is the regular price of lesser products.

Strange Bedfellow Spins

Mr.Clean sales were dropping; Gain laundry detergent sales remained strong. In a clever marketing move, instead of revamping the Mr. Clean formula, Proctor and Gamble added Gain scent to a new Mr. Clean product offering consumers a new choice.

Upselling — the Last Minute Spin

Savvy Internet marketers know that "upselling" is another way to move products. Have you ever purchased something online only to face a popup suggesting something else you might like? This practice is referred to as "upselling."

Order pizza online and you will be asked if you want a salad, dessert, or sodas. Order from Amazon and be showed what other similar products people like. Upselling can also be seen at grocery store checkouts now when you are asked if you want to contribute to a cause, or even by the items carefully placed at the register to entice you.

As any retailer will tell you, physical placement of any item in a store (right down to shelf height) can make or break a product. And its presentation is also important. If customers are not buying something, show them something new about the product - a new use, a new value, or offer it in a new display.

New and Improved

New and improved is a double-edged sword. Consumers often make jokes about why a company would have to improve a product if it was made right the first time. And, many people hate changes or even perceived changes in their favorite products.

On April 23, 1985, the Coca-Cola Company did away with their original Coke product and launched "New Coke." Loyal Coke fans were outraged, hated the "new and improved" taste and sales plummeted. On July 11, less than three months later, the original product was brought back as "Coke Classic."

The Coca-Cola Company learned an important lesson. Now, instead of offering "new and improved" versions that do away with an old version of a product, they add a new spin to existing successful products- Coke now comes in a variety of flavors (with lime, cherry, vanilla added), and different sweeteners, but they no longer mess with their standards.

An interesting note is that the initial marketing decision to stop production of Coke (Classic) caused such a demand that people began hoarding cases and selling them for inflated prices, much the way of alcohol during Prohibition times. When they brought back "what the people have demanded", they became heroes and Coke sales reached an all-time high.

Products fail for many reasons -- some are just bad ideas that no amount of marketing can overcome (for example, rabbit jerky, a healthier alternative to beef jerky, never set well with consumers and failed almost immediately.) But if you really do have a great idea, you may just need to find a better advertising campaign or marketing approach to kick sales into high gear.