Jump to content
The brainrants blog recently posted on "How to... Retire a Product Gracefully" covering the often painful process of putting a product into its grave. What really caught my attention was the criteria of good reasons to kill a product, because most of them are also cautionary tales on innovation shortcomings that could have been avoided.
The product didn't sell despite aggressive marketing & advertising. Yup, it's true. Marketing is important, but there are other factors. Is the product something people want? Does it have features competitors don't have. Any product that's selling like hotcakes won't get retired, so this is really the heart of the matter and if you make the right products at the right time, with the right features, this should (almost) never happen.
Competitors outmaneuvered you. However, that doesn't mean you can't catch up. Identify competitive threats early and keep the pace up. Keeping products alive despite aggressive competitors is why fast-paced innovation is so critical.
The product is obsolete. This may be the one circumstance where no amount of innovation can save the product. No matter how great your cassette player is, if you're really listening to the market you know they don't want one anymore. Many of our clients have to kill many of their products almost every year, but they keep coming out with the next object of desire.
Retiring a product is often as hard as admitting a big mistake and that mistake might be a decision you were enthusiastic about a year ago. We all make mistakes, and sometimes, you'll have to take some of Brainrants exit plan tips.