Some of the most renowned marketing strategists will agree, their successes are seated in their ability to create and sustain an anchored position for the product or service they seek to capture a specific market segment. For them, positioning their product requires vantage location, location, location etched within the minds of the right, critical mix.
It may take a product several years to develop the ultimate – ‘mental real estate’- but once it gains this traction, achieving iconic stature is almost, always inevitable.
Coke, Corona, Heinz, and Pepsi for example planted the flag of their conquests in a single generation and now require merely filler ads to maintain their presence and keep their flags flying. So, once the loyalty of the targeted consumer is secured, why then do some companies remove the product from the shelves?
Many companies, particularly those in the business of beauty, employ this tactic to pull out the right amount of customer yearning for the product or service. Ideally, when the item is re-introduced to the market, the consumer should by then be so elated his request to return the product was granted, he hardly notices the new, exponential price and smaller packaging.
It is no doubt this marketing spin was an effective ploy a generation or two ago, when e-commerce and access to the global market place driven by technology was still under construction. In today’s vertical markets, underscored by unprecedented and aggressive competition, consumers do not allocate time to yearn for any offering removed by manufacturers to ignite this desire. Competing suppliers are consistently finding ways to optimize their search marketing strategies and one touch of the Google browser turns over ten pages or more of the same or similar product or service.
For years, the Body Shop and Dermaglow recruited vocal brand advocates by virue of the quality delivered by specific items that form part of their larger line of beauty remedies. With the former, many were sold on the company once they discovered the ways in which their sugar scrub was made exclusively for the smoothness of any skin type. In the case of Dermaglow, the miracle manicure was a constant source of small talks at soirees and scrabble games. Recently, both the Body Shop sugar scrub and Dermaglow manicure were discontinued.
While consumers were tremendoulsy loyal to both products to the point where they simply failed to explore any other claiming to deliver the same results, no-one will voluntarily leave thier hands so wanting of the Dermaglow, they develop callouses. Nor will anyone tamper with the risk of losing the pubescent lustre encouraged by the sugar scrub.
Both the Body Shop and Dermaglow have not only failed to change their marketing paradigms to match the transitory consumer goal posts, they have also fallen short of maintaining their place on the mental maps of long-time advocates. It appears they still think absence makes the heart grow fonder. It does, grow fonder, for something else.
Were it not for their unavailability, less people would have reason to discover L’Occitane’s almond line, especially the oil to shower cream and body butter, blast the sugar scrub out of the market on its very best day. Perhaps fewer would find that Dimitri James’s multibutter hand cream contains a potion that makes hands appear as they have never fared the exigencies of the Canadian winter. Were it not for the failure of this ploy, brand advocates of both lines would still spread the gospel of their pleasant experiences and continue to pledge their allegiance to the sugar scrub and the manicure, while missing out on two other, more effective and longer lasting products.
The Body Shop, Dermaglow, and any other company that practices this archaic strategy need to revisit the marketing drawing board, which will remind them brands become icons by virtue of the loyalty commanded by the product or service delivered; not by what they fail to deliver. It is the sugar scrub and the manicure that stamped a spot for these companies on the consumer’s map, not the other way round.
Raquel is a writer and communications consultant in Toronto, firstname.lastname@example.org