Murdering New Coke And Better Ketchup Delivery – Sales Lead Digest

This week I got on a food kick. We’re sharing a great re-telling of the New Coke saga that every marketer is familiar with and coupled with that, there’s a new ketchup packet manufacturers are hoping will boost sales bigly. We found a story of cars rented but not driven in Japan and a great story of many miles driven to find and post obscure items on Amazon to round out this week. The themes tell me we may discover hidden value in our products in unusual places if we’re open to it. . .or maybe the value will find your products. Not sure which way it goes yet.

This weeks sales and marketing news:

New Coke Didn’t Fail. It Was Murdered.

“In Wisconsin, the Wausau Daily Herald reported on the trials of a man named Andy Gribble. ‘So much of my life is changing outside of my control,’ he told the paper. ‘Now Coke, the one thing left from my childhood, has been changed.’ He was 19.”
New Coke’s story told as a parable of what happens when you lose control of a finely crafted narrative. This bit of revisionist history is a fun read and not just because I’m one of the few in our office who lived through this event. It’s interesting that even with the most detailed contingency planning, even with the best minds working on preventative measures, the best laid plan went awry. The real story is probably about their subsequent recovery but this was a fun read. 
It was an inside job. . .

People in Japan are renting cars but not driving them

“Japanese car-sharing service Orix discovered . . . many of its customers were renting its cars but not driving them. . .the company reviewed mileage records and learned that a certain number of its vehicles were being returned after having ‘traveled no distance.’ Times24 Co., a leading automobile-sharing service provider with more than 1.2 million registered users, reported the same.”
Along the lines of the New Coke story where the finely crafted narrative was upended by a cranky, change resistant media push, is this story about a product not being used for its intended purpose. We do a lot of work with companies trying to diversify as a strategy for growth and this kind of activity becomes a head scratcher for executives. “We don’t want this, do we?” I just wish I would have thought about it myself. It beats trying to keep a table for 2 hours at Starbucks.
Disrupting the car rental industry. . .

They finally built a better ketchup bottle. And soon it’s going to be everywhere.

“What’s behind the pivot? Money is a motivator, but so are minimizing mess, cutting down on waste and conferring a halo effect via sustainability claims. In the first year of its pouch, Daisy reported a 69.7 percent increase in sales (despite charging about 25 percent more per ounce than for the traditional tubs). Other companies took notice.”
While our businesses may not benefit from a packaging redesign, this article makes me think of the limitations we put on how we “package” might be limiting sales. Our product is the first one that comes to mind because at LGC we made what we consider a user friendly ketchup package, but what if another version is better? How do we get a 70% bump on an existing service? Good food for thought here (pun intended).
The real question is how well it will fit in the fridge

ROAD-TRIPPING WITH THE AMAZON NOMADS

“The attachments people develop for these unremarkable commodities can be intense, at least as measured by their prices on Amazon. For Anderson, the holy grail is the Bounce Dryer Bar, a $5 plastic oblong you affix to the dryer rather than adding a dryer sheet to each load. Now discontinued, a two-pack sells on Amazon for $300.
Discontinued nail polish, Pop-Tarts, hair curling products: Anderson has chased them all when the scanner has shown them fetching multiples of their normal price. He once hunted a particular brand of discontinued dental floss across the Big Lots of America, buying six-packs for 99 cents and selling them on Amazon for over $100 apiece.”
I met a guy a few years back that would drive to out of the way stores to find the hottest Christmas toys, the ones that Walmart and Target couldn’t keep in stock. He would tell me tales of finding three or four of these hot items just languishing in some remote outpost where he’d buy it, put it on ebay for sometimes 10 times what he paid for it. What inefficiencies in distribution and demand are sitting out there for your customers? Where can your team put in a little shoe leather and sweat to find some new opportunities? 
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