Let’s take a trip down memory lane (Don’t worry, I’ll drive. LOL).
If you flash your mind back to five, ten, fifteen years ago, can you remember any product that existed then but has ceased to exist now?
Some of the names that quickly come to mind include Yogos and Jolt Cola. I mean, these products were the biggest names of their eras. Yet, somehow, they’ve vanished into thin air. As you might expect, the manufacturers of these products had reasonable explanations for discontinuing the products. But that doesn’t make up for the many years of effort and resources thrown out the window.
If you are a business owner, you wouldn’t be happy to watch a product you’ve spent time and money on getting sucked out of the market. Instead of discontinuing a product completely because it’s not performing well in the market, here are some steps you can take to revive it.
Understand and analyze the reasons why a product is failing
Believe it or not, no product is a complete failure. Even when it seems like you aren’t or will never get the best out of a product, a simple tweak might be all you need to change the narrative.
This is why it’s important never to give up on a product. At least, not until you’ve done your ultimate best.
The first step towards a product revival is the identification of the reasons behind its downward spiraling. If you can learn about the WHYs, then you might be able to make the right adjustments to initiate a turnaround.
According to Kissmetrics, the best way to do this is to conduct an extensive product analysis exercise. This means analyzing all the known metrics associated with the product.
If you use social media, go to your dashboard or Analytics section to gather the necessary insights. Instagram, for example, has special provisions for viewing so many details about your posts, ads, interactions, reach, and so on.
If you use Google Analytics, you can scan through to fish out as many insights as possible. If your email marketing campaigns were solid, your subscriber’s list could be a good place to look, too. You can gather necessary customer-related insights and make important deductions from there.
If you have access to customers or a platform for reaching your audience, go there and survey their opinions. Get to know what they think about the product now and in the future. Your distributors and wholesalers are also good places to look. Talk to people in this section of the market to gather necessary insights.
All in all, explore all possible information sources. The idea is to get a clear insight into whether the product still has a chance to thrive. If you find that there’s still a product in there after your research and analysis, the next course of action will be to follow the tips we have below.
But if you try your best and see there’s no chance, you may want to cut your losses and call it a day.
9 Turnaround strategies to revive a failed product or service
1. Give the product a new name
Naming is highly essential in business. If a product is failing, it’s obvious the market doesn’t embrace it. But a simple name change can change the narrative.
Even when you don’t touch other aspects of the product, just changing the name can have some interesting impacts on product acceptance in the market.
For starters, many consumers will think it’s a new product and will be tempted to give it a try. Provided the experience is better this time, a lot of them will share the name of the supposed ‘NEW PRODUCT’ they just discovered with their friends and family.
Don’t know how to come up with a new product name? Take a page from your competitors’ playbooks, use the internet, seek opinions, or simply think of a closely-related name to the name you currently use. Mind you; product naming isn’t a simple exercise. So don’t rush it. We advise that you use a brainstorming tool like a mind map when doing your product naming. The Zen Flowchart Maker tool has a free mind mapping workspace you can try today.
2. Take the product to platforms you didn’t use the first time around
Many businesses these days are guilty of limiting their marketing to platforms they think their competitors are using.
You don’t have to do what every Tom, Dick, and Harry in the industry is doing to be successful. Switch it up a bit and think out of the box.
If you have a failing product you’re looking to revive, that’s the perfect time to go omnichannel with your marketing efforts. Don’t just sit on website SEO traffic thinking that’s where your product is best accepted. Consider other interesting options like:
- Local events
- Trade shows
- Cold pitching
- Flyers, handbills, billboards
- All social media platforms (Reddit, Quora, YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter, IG, TikTok, etc.)
- Television and radio adverts, etc.
Sometimes, all it takes is going back to basics and getting creative. For example, you may have been focusing solely on digital marketing efforts, but if your target market rarely uses digital channels, you’re missing out big time. What if your clients are elders who prefer printed marketing material? You could create memorable postcards or brochures for them in order to increase their engagement and boost your brand awareness.
3. Consider cross-promotion
When looking to revive a dying product, it can be wise to team up with complementary brands for exposure. A complementary brand is a brand that shares a similar audience with you. In simpler terms, people who buy your products buy theirs also. Usually, they are non-competitors that service the same market as you.
When your product isn’t doing well, you simply need a complementary brand whose products are doing well. Such an action will help revive your dying product within a short space of time.
A hypothetical scenario highlighting the importance of cross-promotion in product revival
You sell phone pouches. Knowing full well that people who buy new phones are also buying pouches – but not from you – you decide to team up with the best-selling phone dealer around you.
By teaming up with such a brand, you make it so that phone buyers see your brand as the perfect mix with the product they’re getting.
You can either place your products directly at the phone store or leave a flyer/handbill/billboard around pointing prospects to your store.
4. Convey your product message everywhere
Every single product has been designed to solve a pain point or make its clients’ lives easier. No matter how big or small, this is the primary rationale behind any product creation – to offer a solution.
But did you know it’s possible for consumers to be unaware of all the pain points a product solves? Yes, it’s possible, and that’s the result of poor product messaging. This is why you need to focus on reaching your clients where they spend most of their time – their mobile phones. You can use SMS marketing to send out text message promotions, discounts, special deals, or new product launches. Since texts are read almost immediately after being received, there’s no better way to reach your entire customer base.
Yes, your product can do this; it is what everybody knows it for. But do they also know it can do something else? Many a time, a product has more than one solution it offers. But because these other solutions aren’t the main ones, they go under the radar. And that’s the fault of the product manufacturer.
Yes, everybody loves your task management software. It’s brilliant. It helps people complete their tasks faster. But do people also know you added a feature that can help them turn on focus sounds in the background – something to improve their focus and concentration when working?
“Errrmmmm…. Not really. You don’t really mention that part in your ads. It’s small potatoes, so it’s not really worth mentioning.”
Who told you that? Every single feature your product offers is a solution to someone’s pain point. If you don’t convey the message, how do you expect someone looking for this solution to know?
5. Revamp your product sales strategy
Take a keen look at how you sell to consumers; do you think you’re using the best sales strategy for the type of product or service concerned?
If you are, are you maximizing that strategy?
Look, the fact a sales strategy works for two of the products in your line doesn’t mean it will work for a third product. Every product is unique in its own way, and that includes how they’re sold.
For example, you could be a T-shirt manufacturing company that sells directly to distributors. If you’re adding a new product like “T-shirt designs,” distributors are definitely not the right way to go. Instead, you want to go the way of e-commerce or social commerce. Why? Because this is as much a digital product as it is a physical one.
Revamping your sales strategy can be as simple as throwing timely discounts and coupons into your offers. And it can be as complex as hiring more salespeople to reach target prospects. You have to examine what you have to know what’s working and what’s not.
How do you know it’s your sales strategy that needs revamping?
- You can tell your target audience still has the problem/pain point your product is designed to solve
- Your competitors are using other sales strategies, and they’re successful
- You’re convinced you can reach more prospects than you’re getting
- Google Analytics, Social Media Insights, and Email subscriber data show that people are interacting with your brand/pages, but your sales number says otherwise
6. Tell a story with your ads and branding
From your product packaging to your advert campaigns, make sure you’re telling the right story every time. People love stories, especially one that appeals to their immediate situation.
I remember the time I sold notepads back in college. I’d print quotes from famous people all over the items. In a way, this appealed to my audience because they were students, and students love a good motivational story.
In your case, the story to appeal to your audience may be a little bit personal – e.g., what brought you into the business. Or it could be someone else’s pain points.
By and large, the point is to tell a story your prospects can identify with – something that relates with struggles and pain points similar to their own.
7. Improve and run beta testing for the product
Sometimes, a product could fail because it is generally poor.
As a product manufacturer and your own biggest critic, you need to be honest enough to ask yourself questions like:
“Is this product good enough?”
“Is it on the level of others or something can be improved?”
“Could quality be the reason people aren’t buying?”
If you think a few improvements can be made, do not hesitate to get those done. You need to present the best version of a product to a market to give the product a great chance at success.
Trying to cut corners – maybe to save costs – or making sub-par products will do you in eventually. And that’s probably even the reason your product is failing.
Look into making the best version of every product you make.
Once you’re done improving the product, run a beta test for it at a discounted price or offer it for free. The idea is to get honest feedback from consumers to know if they’re satisfied with the improvements.
8. Host an event that reminds people why they need the product
You could host a webinar, a podcast, appear on a radio/TV show, or be a guest on a popular influencer’s page.
What do you want to achieve here? To remind people why they need the solutions your product offers and why your brand is the best option for them.
Sometimes, people forget brands. And you cannot blame them. There are just too many options flying across in their faces. If that’s the case with you, the only way to remind them of your existence is to make yourself visible again.
9. Change pricing
When competition is the reason your product is fading away, consider lowering your pricing. Like it or not, consumers will always go for the lowest pricing option, provided they are sure they aren’t compromising quality.
To ensure you don’t get driven out of the competition, make sure you offer competitive pricing that rivals or betters what your competitors are offering.
Nobody wishes to see their product dying off the market. It’s disheartening. But it’s not the end of the world.
Follow the tips we’ve taught you here to revive all of your dying products.
Uday Tank is a serial entrepreneur and content marketing leader who serves the international community at Rankwisely. He enjoys writing, including marketing, productivity, business, health, diversity, and management.