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Marketing Matters: The Sweet Smell of Success

By: Donna C. Barson
Posted: November 8, 2007, from the November 2007 issue of GCI Magazine.

It is often said that success is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration. Marketers, however, know that does not tell the whole story. While the success of a new product certainly does contain a mixture of sweat and “lightbulb over the head” moments, it also owes an awful lot to how the product is marketed.

To illustrate, liquid soap is one of the most successful personal care products of the past quarter century. It was introduced in 1980
to a market that was already completely served by bar soap. Why would a consumer want to switch? Yet, the marketing campaign for the product was so successful in getting consumers to try the product that liquid soap now commands approximately 25% of the market.

But what if liquid soap had been marketed a different way, a way that would have doomed the product? The marketplace is certainly not kind to innovation; more than 80% of new products fail in the first three years.

While there are numerous factors as to why products fail, four of the most common are:

But instead of focusing on failure, let’s examine two recent brand introductions that have succeeded: tarte cosmetics and Pangea Organics.