Thursday, March 23, 2006

Midlife Kicker!

After the rollout, a successful product settles into a good, gradually diminishing sales life, and the only interesting marketing decision is when to stop production. But some products experience a different fate: their decline is reversed when they are updated, made exciting and more relevant, and rereleased with a splash. Many new customers buy them, old customers clamor for the upgrades, and the product's life is extended some years. This type of upgrade is referred to as a “Midlife Kicker.” The special cost of re-engineering a product (to upgrade it and remarket it) can be well-covered by future sales.

As I explained in yesterday's blog entry, I'm having a Midlife Kicker experience with my Archos mp3 player. The Rockbox software I downloaded makes it feel like an exciting, better product. But in this strange Internet world, Archos did not improve my player. In fact they may have lost interest in it, stopped producing and selling it. The Archos firmware in my player is more recent than the “firmware upgrade” they offer online. And the Rockbox software probably extends the life of MY player at no charge (except for the donation I'm making), so that it will be a while before I consider buying from Archos again. Strange place, the Internet ...

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