Monthly Archives: October 2014

Flops: 3 Launches That Could Have Benefited from Market Research

Many market flops could have been prevented by soliciting user feedback. It’s vital to submit new products to market research for feedback, using tools such as online focus groups. This is one of the phases of product testing with which wise companies follow through. However, sometimes, after favorable feedback, companies forget that a great product requires a lot of work and revision based on feedback from the initial testing phase. When they fail to change the product, or just completely skip testing their product, disasters happen. Companies can go under after just one failed product, especially after they threw much of their money at it.

Crystal Pepsi

Crystal Pepsi was a product that came out in 1992 in an effort to keep up with a popular market fad. This fad considered clarity to equal purity. Ivory soap started this trend in the early 1990s, and after successfully remaking the product, Pepsi thought it could do the same. They marketed Crystal Pepsi as a clear alternative to other colas, marketing it as pure and healthy.

Better market research and listening to consumers should have been a clear indication to Pepsi that their new version would not be the success they hoped for. Consumers suggested the product tasted different, though it was made from essentially the same ingredients. Additionally, Pepsi’s existing consumers already showed they were willing to purchase the normal “dark” version. By simply removing the color from the product, Pepsi was neither serving their existing customers’ needs, nor appealing to those that preferred an “un-cola” alternative.

Premier Smokeless Cigarettes

The cigarette that e-cigarettes spawned from was the Premier smokeless cigarette from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company in the late 1980s. This product ultimately failed miserably and was almost the end for the company after they invested $325 million and several years developing it. They intended the product to safely deliver nicotine via aerosolizing the tobacco, similar to what current e-cigarettes do.

According to an article in the New York Times at the time, the company began to test markets in Arizona and Missouri to see if consumers would enjoy the new cigarette. Consumers complained that the cigarette smelled like burning plastic and did not have a favorable taste, but, rather than adapt the product, the company decided to wait to see if it could build a base of faithful users. In the end, that was never realized, and the cigarette was pulled from the shelves.

JC Penney

JC Penney hired Ron Johnson as CEO to help breathe new life into the brand and change the face of mass retail nationwide. Johnson was previously the head of retail for Apple and transformed the way that consumers shopped for personal electronics. The goal at JC Penney was to refresh the brand and win greater market share from rivals such as Macy’s.

However, the company did not take into account the desires of their customers and quickly learned that the same marketing strategies do not work for every store. Johnson changed the brand to simply JCP and decided that prices for products would be round numbers that would be priced lower. JCP also announced that it would discontinue sales and promotions in order to show customers that their prices were the best year round. Customers heard “no sales” and turned away from the store. After 17 months, Johnson was out.

These examples are just a few that show the importance of conducting and listening to market research. For more information about the importance of product testing and market research, contact us at e-FocusGroups by phone at (707) 585-7363.Keybroad

Top 5 Reasons Why You Should Consider International Markets for Your Products

According to online market research, expanding to international markets offers many opportunities to businesses. Before setting out to do so, companies have to spend much time and research on the markets in their target countries. They need to know what type of demands the markets might have for specific products and services the business offers. Trade agreements, shipping, and profit are also major considerations. After completing research, exporting is usually a good idea for many small and large businesses.

  1. Companies have easy access to global markets. There are many reasons for this, but the Internet plays the largest part in access to foreign markets. More reasons for better access to other markets are improved trade financing, better trade agreements, and access to more markets than ever before. This opens many doors for companies. They can complete market research in several different countries to determine which is the best fit for their international product launch. Later, they can revisit this information to choose other avenues for international trade.
  2. There is more demand for products and services overseas. The United States only contains about 30% of the world’s purchasing power. This leaves a whopping 70% percent of purchasing power from outside the United States. Using market research, companies can choose the best markets with the most demand and least competition for their products. With the large amount of international markets, companies have many options, which makes a difference.
  3. According to the International Trade Administration, sales tend to grow faster when companies devote some of their share on international markets. This makes international trade very profitable, allowing the company to grow and create jobs. The employees of these companies also benefit with higher wages.
  4. International markets have much less competition. According to the Small Business Administration, less than 1% of American companies export. Most of these are small and medium businesses offering a limited amount of products and services. This does not mean that trading internationally is a waste of time for a small business. In fact, small businesses are the ones more likely to have rapid sales and experience faster growth than larger companies do. Another fact to consider is that only 42% of the companies that export do so to two or more countries, which is good news, as it means little competition.
  5. The U.S. Commercial Service offers many resources to help small businesses to trade internationally. They offer companies help to conquer the challenges of selling their products internationally. Some of their services include commercial diplomacy, trade counseling, business matchmaking, and market intelligence. They are also working to streamline the process, making it even easier to trade and export with many of the other countries around the world.

To learn more about the benefits of market research for international products, contact us at e-Focus Groups.

Photo courtesy of Prawny @

Photo courtesy of Prawny @