As we all know, products
do not last forever. They deteriate or become obsolete. Obsolescence
is when a product is no longer wanted even though it is still in good working order.
Planned obsolescence is when marketerss deliberately introduces obsolescence into their product strategy. The marketer's objective is to generate long-term sales volume by reducing the time between repeat purchases. In a highly competitive industry, this can be a risky strategy because consumers may buy from your competitors. There are also ethical considerations.
Types of obsolescence
Technical or functional obsolescence
- New technology replaces old (example: video tape -> DVD)
- Obsolete products do not have the same functions or capabilities as new ones
- Marketers change the styling of products so as to make owners of the old model feel 'out of date' (example: cars, clothing)
- A fashion is any style that is popularly accepted by groups of people over a period of time
- A fad is a short term fashion
- The fashion cycle is the repeated introduction, rise, popular culmination, and decline of a style as it progresses through various social strata
- Marketers claim that style changes relieve peoples' boredom and allows for both self-expression and conformity at the same time
Intentional physical obsolescence
- A product is designed to last for a specific lifetime (example: home entertainment electronics)
- If a product will be technically or stylisticly obsolete in five years, many marketers will design the product so it will only last for that time (this is done through a technical process called value engineering — great euphemism!)
- Doing this will reduce the cost of making the product, and lower the price to consumers (unless there is a lack of competition in the industry, in which case the cost reduction will probably not be passed on to the consumer in the form of lower price)
- Technological improvements are not introduced even though they could be (example: a large software manufacturer that specializes in operating system - name withheld for legal reasons)
- The marketer feels either that consumers don't need the innovation or they are concerned that the new model will cannibalize the sales of their old model
- This will only work in a monopoly or oligipoly.
marketing, marketing plan, ethics, business ethics