In 1953, a fledgling company called Rocket Chemical Company and its staff of three set out to create a line of rust-prevention solvents and degreasers for use in the aerospace industry.
Working in a small lab in San Diego, California, it took them 40 attempts to get the water displacing formula worked out. But they must have been really good, because the original secret formula for WD-40® -which stands for Water Displacement perfected on the 40th try—is still in use today.
Listerine – various incarnations before it became a mouth wash.
Listerine was invented in the nineteenth century as powerful surgical antiseptic. It was later sold, in distilled form, as both a floor cleaner and a cure for gonorrhea. But it wasn't a runaway success until the 1920s, when it was pitched as a solution for "chronic halitosis"— a then obscure medical term for bad breath. Listerine's new ads featured forlorn young women and men, eager for marriage but turned off by their mate's rotten breath. "Can I be happy with him in spite of that?" one maiden asked herself. Until that time, bad breath was not conventionally considered such a catastrophe. But Listerine changed that. As the advertising scholar James B. Twitchell writes, "Listerine did not make mouthwash as much as it made halitosis." In just seven years, the company's revenues rose from $115,000 to more than $8 million.
If you have a dead set winner of a product, then stick with it.
I am not suggesting that the office stationary range of nipple jewelry is not a winning combination, but it might be a flop if you have not completed your market analysis and made a number of educated calculations on price-point, fit for purpose, design obsolescence, and every other aspect that needs to be considered when evaluating a new product or service for market.
Sometimes, the product or service concept is brilliant, but it just does not get traction. This is where peer evaluation, market analysis, and gut feeling comes into play. Some of these are measurable, some are intangible.
Automatic needle injection robots have been programmed with one important operational function; this is, when encountering resistance, pivot. In robotic terms, this means that if there is some resistance to the needle being plunged into a human arm, say something like hitting a bone, then the robot will stop, withdraw slightly, and try again from a slightly different angle, missing the bone and able to deliver the drug.
Recently, the same issue was discussed in our office. In this case, it was difficult for a management team to address some operational issues. It wasn’t that they did not care for it, but rather that the method used to inform them of the issues was lacking penetration. In this case, the message format was altered, statistics included, and an ROI for a possible solution presented. The message is now able to penetrate and real action able to be implemented; and it boiled down to using better message delivery method and utilising a language that could be understood and consumed.
The same applies to the marketing of a dead-set no brainer of an idea. If there is some resistance, or it is difficult to gain traction, don’t give up on the idea, instead have a look at how the message is being delivered. Change the delivery (or pivot) and try again.