Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hello Qwikster, It's New Coke; Welcome To the Dead Club

The idea may be sound, the execution is what killed it. Strategically, Netflix saw a changing business model and tried to get ahead of the curve. The customer wasn't ready to follow. It may have been the 60% price hike that ultimately done it in, but the idea was sound. At some point the DVD rental business will go away; just not today. And with such a negative attitude about Qwikster, the idea of selling it later to someone else lost its luster. The best thing you could do was simply kill it.

Coke also tried to stay ahead of tastes, seeing a need for their drink to be sweeter and more Pepsi-like. But the customer loyalty of the old brand mutinied when the brand changed too radically. Netflix customers did the exact same thing. And like New Coke, Qwikster is dead. Welcome to the dead brand club!

So was there any marketing lessons learned? 1. Perhaps for both Coke and Netflix, when things don't work, ask for a do-over. 2. The strategy may be sound, but so must be the execution. It is about the timing and sometimes pulling the bandage off too quick is not a good idea. 3. Responding in a timely matter is necessary. With Netflix, the response to the price increase alone should have been enough to reconsider announcing Qwikster. 4. Listen to the customer. Would the change be an improvement on how they used the brand? How does 2 separate services help the current Netflix customer to navigate, select, and use the service? It doesn't. 5. Doing nothing may be a possibility but doesn't move you or your brand forward. With every risk there is the possibility of failure. It is not the failure alone to worry about, but how one responds to it.

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