What is the most effective way of reviving an established product

By Tony Attwood

I suspect most of us have seen it: there is a product that sells and sells to teachers, and then gradually sales drift away as the old adverts just don’t deliver anymore.  What can one do?

Having run a publishing company for many years I spent a lot of time on this issue: how could we squeeze enough new sales out of an old book to make it still worth advertising?

Over these years we evolved a number of strategies, each of which could help reinvigorate sales.  I’ll set them out below…

First, and most obviously, a completely new advertisement could be written.  If one started before by talking about the product, one could write about the benefits of the product and only bring in what was being sold at the end, not at the start.

Second, one could bring out a new edition or improved version, so that previous non-buyers could feel that they had made a good choice in the past by not buying, but that now was the time to buy.

Third (and of course depending on what sort of product it is) one could offer the new edition at a considerable discount to people who had bought the old edition. With download books this can be particularly helpful since the actual cost of sending out the new edition is very small.

Fourth one can change the medium through which the advertisement was sent. Thus if it had been advertised exclusively through email before, one might try a test postal mailing of perhaps 200 schools.

The benefit of this move across to a postal mailing is not just that the presentation of the advertisement looks different, but also it helps broaden the audience.  Email promotions are not seen by every intended recipient, and so one can be reaching people who have not bought the product before simply because they have never seen the advertisement before.

Finally there is an interesting piece of maths involved here.  Let us assume you bought in or manufactured 100 products at £5 each and sold them at £25 each. Half were sold meaning all the production costs are paid for. The stock is just sitting there.

From this point on, when you sell a product the only cost you have is the cost of advertising, since the goods have been paid for.  Thus even paying more for advertising (for example, by going over to a postal campaign rather than email) could make a second email or a new postal promotion worthwhile.

If you would like to discuss this or any other promotional matter further, please do call 01604 880 927 or email Stephen@schools.co.uk

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