Introduction of a new product or technology
When new products, technologies, or services are about to be introduced into the market, more than customers’ preferences must be considered. The new product or technology will compete with existing ones, and other players’ reactions must be taken into account: Will competitors attempt to respond by lowering prices and sacrificing margins? How can we mitigate this risk and find a good positioning? Can we address a specific segment to keep competitive reactions to a minimum? Will other players block the innovation, or are there key groups (customers or other stakeholders) whose early adoption is key? The where’s, when’s, and how’s of an introduction are often critical due to competitors’ and other players’ reactions and should thus be considered thoroughly. Typically, there will be no second chance.
Straint’s approach to analyzing strategic interactions helps executives make the best fact-based decisions, taking upside potential and downside risk into account.
Selected cases: Introduction of a new product or technology
Growth strategy for an innovative drug
Our client had a well-established drug portfolio containing a highly innovative drug in a medium-sized segment for prescriptive indications. Growth and positioning were challenged by a competitive drug targeting a broader segment with recognized additional benefit. The client’s drug was viewed as a model for a larger future range of new treatments in the pipeline. As additional complication, special and expensive testing needs had to be considered. Together, we developed a defense and growth strategy to ensure the successful future development adaptive to the approach of the rival.
Portfolio/repositioning strategy for a drug at the end of its product lifecycle
In a large but saturated segment with many similar drugs/treatments (prescription), a competitor launched a new drug that was expected to quickly gain a great deal of market share. As a consequence, our client’s well-established, high-volume product in the second half of its lifecycle was seriously challenged. At the same time, their new product did not receive the approval of additional benefits from the authorities.
During the project, we helped our client develop a value-maximizing repositioning and partial pullback strategy by focusing our attention on specific patients.
New product positioning, marketing, and introduction
For an over-the-counter (nonprescription) indication, our client had developed an interesting new medication that fundamentally combined the advantages of the main competing drugs. The challenge we met together with our client’s team was finding the segmentation sweet spot, together with a full marketing mix, including communication, promotion strategy, and channel prioritization.
Defining a future strategy, positioning, and product specification for a vehicle's new value-added service
Our client was a major car manufacturer (OEM) designing a specialized value-added service intended to be both profitable on a standalone base and, at the same time, support sales. Due to the special requirements, partnering options with technology enablers were evaluated. We helped the client team find the best options for product features and positioning, both considering the reactions of established players and assessing risks and opportunities from entries into the industry, including a realistic assessment of the industry landscape to come.
Market introduction of a revolutionary process innovation
Our client had developed a significant technological improvement, with substantial improvements for a major product in a largely saturated B2B market. In spite of the benefits to consumers, our client’s customer, possessing a high market power, wanted to block the innovation to reduce future dependency on their supplier (our client).
We helped the client develop a strategy to create consumer pull by using smaller customers to break through this barrier. At the same time, the question was whether to substitute the predecessor technology, in which large investments had been made, in a revolutionary way or to replace old technology with new technology in an evolutionary manner, taking into account the possible and likely reactions on the part of customers and competitors.
Backward integration by entering a market with a new production technology
After developing a new production technology based on various types of and needs for raw materials, we were asked to evaluate the “if’s” and ”how’s” of market introduction. These were heavily dependent on competitor reactions, as well as on the availability and prices of the specific raw materials. For various resource scenarios, we analyzed the action-reaction patterns of suppliers to determine the best way of introducing the technology.
Switching to and investing in future network systems while staying profitable
Although highly profitable, our client intended to heavily invest into a new upcoming technology to meet future customer demands and to maintain his technological advantage. As shifting all customers and products to the new product would have been way too expensive, the investments had to happen stepwise. We helped our client to identify customers, products, and segments strategically most important and to develop the best sequence for the stepwise investments too.