Every product on the market has a life span (White, 2019). Each one moves through an introduction phase, a growth phase, a maturity phase, and a decline throughout its life. One example of a product that has gone through all of these stages is the cassette tape. The cassette tape and cassette player were first introduced to the European market in 1962 by the Phillips Company of Eindhoven (Cassette Tapes, 2017). The compact cassette was originally developed for transcription purposes, and users quickly realized that they could use it to record music (West, 2013). The growth phase then began just a couple years after the introduction. The primary events that marked this phase were in the mid 60’s. During this time, the cassette tape was introduced to the United States, tape players began being installed in cars, and sound quality improved.
The cassette player then hit its maturity phase in the late 70’s and throughout the 80’s. The boom box and Walkman became popular during this time and the accessibility and convenience of the cassette tape became unmatched. Cassette tapes became the primary way to listen to music during this time. People now had a way to listen to their music whenever and wherever they wanted. Following its peak in the late 1980’s, the market for cassette tapes dropped sharply in both Western Europe and North America (Burr, 2017). Throughout the 90’s, the cassette tape was surpassed by the CD. With technology advancing, the CD presented a better sound quality and larger storage space. They could be installed into computers, and consumers could skip whole tracks instead of having to fast forward and rewind through every song. The production of cassette tapes rapidly declined throughout the 90’s because of this. Then by the early 2000’s, they were no longer used by music companies at all.
The product life cycle consists of four stages; market introduction, growth, market maturity, and decline (White, 2019). Product life cycles are representations of faddish items and trends. When a new product hits the market, it takes time for it to grow in popularity. Once it has grown to a certain point, the product will become mature and sales will plateau. After this plateau, the product loses its popularity and begins to decline.
For this week’s discussion post I chose the product Heelys. Heelys was a shoe that had a removable wheel in the heel which you could place in there and skate around. Heels made it easier for kids to travel around and go skating without the hassle of having to change their shoes. Kids would simply have to place the roller wheel into the heel of the shoe and they could begin skating. Heelys did not require too much balance such as rollerblades due to the wide wheel. Heelys are still around today, but they are not in high demand. Heelys have been through all stages of the product life cycle.
Heelys were invented in 1999 by Roger Adams (ShoeKid, 2016). Adams created the concept and started designing prototypes. By early 2000, Adams had patented Heelys and begun the market introduction in the late 2000’s. Heelys started to grow in 2004 when they started creating new designs. According to Ross (2004), “Adams’ 700-employee company posted sales of $32 million last year, and is poised for more growth” (para. 13). This was due to the company selling their product in over 30 countries. Heelys were predominately popular in the United States, Canada, and Asia. Heelys reached their maturity in 2006 where their sales had plateaued and the product fad started to phase out (jonbecker, n.d.). Heelys were not in high demand as certain areas actually banned people from wearing them due to the accidents they could cause. In 2007 the company sales started to decline due to competition with other sports brands such as Adidas’ rollerblades.
Niche marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on a specific market of customers or clients. Instead of advertising to everyone, this strategy focuses solely on one group. It is essentially refining marketing to focus on a specific demographic of customers to better promote the products and services offered. It means a business is choosing to play its strengths to the consumer that the product will resonate with the most.
I chose Sport Clips https://www.sportclips.com/ (Links to an external site.) for my discussion this week. Sport Clips tailors its business and marketing strategy to primarily male clients, when searched on main search engines such as Google.com, the headline clearly states Haircuts for Men & Boys. They have targeted their website to appeal towards men, specifically men who like sports. The menu service items include MVP Experience https://www.sportclips.com/services/mvp-experience (Links to an external site.), Triple Play https://www.sportclips.com/services/triple-play (Links to an external site.) and Extra Innings https://www.sportclips.com/services/extra-innings (Links to an external site.). They advertise having a big screen TVs in the waiting room that are tuned to ESPN and the actual stores are modeled after real life locker rooms. The stylists there are dressed similarly to sports referees and provide hot steamed towels, massaging washes and neck and shoulder treatments. The products that are sold there are primarily men products from macho companies such as Mitch by Paul Mitchell, American Crew and Gibs beard and moustache.
When comparing Sport Clips to Sister Snog, the first visible difference that would distinguish niche marketing is color. Sport Clips logo is black, white and red which could be considered more masculine colors, appealing to their male audience. On the other hand, Sister Snog’s logo is two different shades of purple, appealing to a primarily feminine clientele. Sister Snog’s website links also look very similar to invitations with pictures and different fonts https://www.sistersnog.com/connect-with-sister-snog/ (Links to an external site.), also visually appealing to women. Sport Clips features pictures of men watching sports on TVs and font that looks like a scoreboard.
Sports Clip is a franchise created by Gordon Logan, who back in the early 1990s felt there was massive potential in the men’s and boys haircut market (https://www.sportclips.com/about-us/our-story (Links to an external site.)). I can relate the feeling of not belonging every time my mom would take me to her hair salon; it just didn’t feel like a place that was cool for boys. SportsClips uses their sports theme to bring men and boys into their locations and aim to make them feel comfortable. Each franchise location is almost identical with red and black theme stations and games playing on al the TVs in the business place. Sports clip created sports feeling with the two-color design and reminds me of the sports restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings using black and yellow.
The first thing that caught my attention was the Youtube video on the website. The footage had women cutting the hair of men who seemed to be very pleased. The video explains the services offered and tailored to leave a man styled and satisfied. The niche, as stated in our book “to avoid trying to be all things to all people” (White,2019), is demonstrated by focusing on the hair cuts of men and boys.
The second item which caught my eye was the service tab. They promote their “MVP Treatment” https://www.sportclips.com/services/mvp-experience (Links to an external site.) which leaves their customers feeling like the most valuable player in the hair salon. Sportsclips has a simple line of services, including hot towel service to a neck massage. This allows their customers to take advantage of upgrades to their haircut. Keeping their services simple enable the customer to easily pick which service and feel confident in the quality of service they are receiving.
Also, the images of TVs inside the salon make it appealing to men. Fathers can take their kids, and both get their haircuts without missing any second of the game. My nearest SportsClips is next door to a Subway and Panda Express. Both of these locations are great for foot traffic during most business hours. Sportsclip advertises their app, which helps customers “cut the line,” and they assume men like things to be done quickly.
After visiting the Sister Snog website, I was confused about what services they were offering. Unlike Sportsclips, the site was not clear on what services offered. The website was not very user-friendly and required me to open more tabs to find out what this business was about. Sisters Snog color usage did have a ladylike vibe. I was able to understand there was a membership involved by searching their frequently asked questions. I did end up looking up thier linked to find out they were a female business networking site. https://www.linkedin.com/company/sister-snog/about/ (Links to an external site.). I strongly feel they did not create a strong brand and make the user assume they know what services they are offering. The usage of color for both websites establishes a niche for both genders but Sportsclips overall has better use of colors, media, and list of services that are easy for new and existing customers.
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